AS Committee and Interest Group Reports, Annual 2013

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee received and responded to reports presented by section committee chairs and liaisons to ALCTS committees.

The Executive Committee had charged the Policy and Planning Committee at Annual Conference 2012 to make recommendations for possible restructuring of section committees and interest groups. The Executive Committee received the report of the Policy and Planning Committee and discussed next steps.

Organization and Management Committee

  • Program plans discussed “Staff Retooling: Adapting to Change in Technical Services” with speakers: Anne Elguindi, Kari Schmidt, and Jack Montgomery scheduled for Sunday, June 30, 2013, 10:30–11:30am. Will distribute evaluation forms supplied by ALCTS and program handout with title and speaker information and website of online evaluation survey. Made assignments for responsibility at the program meeting.
  • Started plans for preconference for Las Vegas entitled “Data-Driven Decision Making.” Joyce McDonough will take proposal to Program Planning Committee.
  • Will work with Research and Statistics Committee on a virtual preconference on streaming video.

Policy and Planning Committee (PPC)

  • Stephen Smith (liaison from ALCTS Planning Committee) reported on work of AS Planning Committee.
  • Reviewed the response to the AS Policy and Planning Committee (PPC) questionnaire for committee reviews received from Acquisitions Managers and Vendors Interest Group (IG). The committee will recommend to AS Executive Committee that this IG be approved to continue. We also recommend that the review questionnaire be modified for interest groups.
  • Reviewed and approved a revised calendar for upcoming committee reviews. Discussed whether the “business” committees need to be subject to annual review (e.g., Nominating, Awards, Policy and Planning).
  • Discussed the charge to AS PPC to review the committee structure and all members agreed that there does not need to be a formal review of committee structure by a committee or task force. Instead, AS Executive Committee will take on the task of recommending changes to the section. Discussed this recommendation with Stephen Bosch, Jim Dooley, and Tammy Sugarman. The Chair of AS PPC will submit a brief report on this recommendation and suggestions to AS Executive Committee.

Research and Statistics

The program that the ALCTS AS Research and Statistics Committee held at ALA Annual 2013, “E-book Data Evaluation through the Eyes of an Academic Librarian and a Public Librarian: A Tale of Two Libraries,” was very well received. There were 191 attendees at the event and of the 49 evaluations filled out, 40 rated the program as a good or excellent event.

Our committee meeting focused on developing a program idea for the 2014 conference and determining which committees to partner with to develop a preconference. The preconference would be on determining how usage statistics inform purchasing of streaming media, and overall marketing of streaming media for usage.

We met with the AS Executive Committee members to get an update on ALCTS priorities and procedures as well as news from the Acquisitions Section.

We also worked to identify who could pitch the 2014 program as neither the outgoing chair nor the incoming chair could make the meeting with the ALCTS Program Committee.

Technology Committee

At the all-committee meeting, preparation details were discussed for the program scheduled for Sunday. The Technology Committee sponsored a very successful program, “Managing Projects: From Ideas to Reality” on Sunday, June 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. There were approximately 90 attendees. Speakers included Robin Buser, certified project manager and supervisor of Technical Services, Columbus State Community College, Boaz Nadav-Manes, director of Acquisitions and Automated Technical Services, Cornell University Library, and Diane Marshbank, acquisitions director, Chicago Public Library. Robin began the conversation with an introduction of project management concepts and terminology. Boaz and Robin discussed project management tools and techniques they have utilized at their institutions.

Three ideas were developed for Annual 2014 programs. Robin Buser presented our ideas to the program committee and they most strongly supported one on technology that aids in communication between collaborating technical services in different libraries.

Two potential ideas were discussed for webinars which we will further develop this fall: how to use a specific set of project management tools and apply them, and file management in technical services.

AS Interest Group

Acquisitions Managers and Vendors Interest Group

A panel of librarians discussed: “Next Generation Library Management Systems: Acquisitions and E-Resources Functionality—The Users Speak.”


  • Diane Baden, Boston College (Alma)
  • Judith Carter, Marquette University (Sierra)
  • Rene Erlandson, University of Nebraska, Omaha (WMS)

Each panelist provided an overview of their experiences implementing and using a next generation Integrated Library System (ILS). The presentations were followed by a question and answer session.


Diane Baden from Boston College (BC) was first on the agenda. She discussed Ex Libris’ product Alma. BC was a development partner with Ex Libris, as they like to jump in early and have influence over product design. They had been approached by Ex Libris because they had been early adopters of previous systems.

Their initial goals:

  • To have a system in the cloud
  • E-resources workflow integrated into one normal routine
  • A web-based environment that could integrate library services into campus services through APIs

Key notes: Alma is based on workflows and automated processes, and streamlining of rules. The library establishes rules for exceptions and determines which staff sees which exceptions.

Currently, there is an active development cycle with monthly releases, so Alma is always changing, sometimes with unexpected results. The community is growing fast—there were twelve participants in April of 2013, and there will be almost 100 in December.

Acquisitions was the first area developed in Alma, so it is the most developed at this point. Serials and e-resources came much later, so there’s a lot of work to do in these areas.

The library did migrate all historical data, though they hadn’t really wanted to. Some libraries which have migrated after BC archived all their historical data instead, which makes sense if you are changing your entire fund structure. Diane heavily and primarily recommends data cleanup when migrating—old open orders (because Alma cares), old subscriptions, obsolete vendor records and funds.

The biggest problem they encountered was moving e-resources into the Alma order structure. Everything starts with the questions of “is it e or p?” and “is it one-time or continuing?” All the information that follows is based on these answers, and it can be messy to clean up migrated e-data that doesn’t map properly.

BC had streamlined their workflows before migrating to Alma, so the move was straightforward in that regard. They had already split into monographs and continuations, which fits Alma’s workflow.

Their invoices from Alma go directly to their campus PeopleSoft system. The first fiscal year close went very well.

Alma promotes streamlined workflows, with the abolition of silos that are prevalent in current ILSs.

Currently, they are managing their e-resources primarily in Alma. They don’t quite have the functionality they had with their homegrown ERM systems, but they are making it work (except for claiming).

BC is primarily excited for the Community Zone, where hopefully vendors will participate and talk to Alma directly (so you can select and order right from within Alma without going out to the vendor-specific sites).


Following Diane, Judith Carter reviewed Marquette University's experience with implementing Innovative Interfaces, Inc.’s Sierra Services Platform (Sierra). Marquette has been an Innovative Interfaces customer since 1988, so it was very easy for them to select Sierra. They were an early adopter of Sierra in order to be a part of building this next gen ILS from the beginning.

Their initial goals:

  • They did not have overarching goals in mind; they just wanted to move into a new, forward-thinking system

Key notes: The Sierra system architecture and SQL database will allow for more integration with other systems (like campus systems) going forward.

Marquette worked with the test system through 2012, migrating fully towards the end of the year. They cleared all logs and waiting files after the fiscal close, and staff started using the beta version in August.

No workflow changes were needed, and they did not have any data migration problems (though they know of another site that did). Sierra did not play nicely with the university’s accounts payable office, and that took some time to resolve. Another problem has been that updates to Sierra often lead to temporary outages, which staff has to work around.

The production version of Sierra came out in November. The library likes the staff features: workflows instead of modules, and that users can be authorized for one piece of one workflow if needed. The staff view is much nicer than Innovative Interfaces’ prior platform Millennium (with book covers and a more human-friendly look).

Judith then showed screenshots of Millennium versus Sierra. Sierra has a cleaner start screen, with workflows available all in one place (so you don’t have to jump between modules). Search results are better, and include descriptions rather than just titles.

Order records are not changed yet. There’s a small ‘i’ icon that expands for more bib data.

Judith could not speak to Sierra’s EDIFACT invoicing capabilities because Marquette is not currently using this feature.

The transition in general was smooth, as it was essentially the same system. Data is now coded for upcoming developments, so they are looking forward to that.


The final panelist was Rene Erlandson from the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). Rene discussed WorldShare Management Services (WMS) from OCLC. UNO decided to implement WMS and WorldCat Local together, along with License Manager. They had wanted to streamline processes after being on their legacy platform for 23 years. Their processes had been based on this system and on the original paper-based workflows. The system had allowed staff to do the same old, and resulted in a lot of duplication of efforts. There were lots of 3rd party add-ons needed, and many places to manage information.

Their initial goals were to:

  • have a flexible system
  • develop a partnership with a developer
  • improve e-resource control.

Key notes: They expected blowback from users and patrons, but had absolutely no complaints.

They had previously implemented WorldCat Local Quickstart, so they were already used to using the Knowledge Base and their patrons were used to the WorldCat Local interface. They were also able to update the Knowledge Base in advance of the migration.

WMS takes a buffet approach, rather than a la carte. There are three main components, which include everything (including remote authorization and proxy). Any new enhancements are automatically implemented (quarterly updates). OCLC offers lots of webinars and information on what’s coming, as well.

The library wanted a fully integrated search systems for patrons on the front end.

E-resources are all managed through the Knowledge Base, and those results are incorporated in results in patron searches, down to the article level.

Implementing WMS allowed UNO to look at why they were doing things the way they had been. They found lots of unnecessary workflows, so a massive redesign of workflows followed.

A big difference is that cataloging is done at the point of order and no traditional order records exist. Holdings are attached to existing bibliographic records.

Vendor records and license information are findable and downloadable, and you just add your local information. Information is local to you but it’s a global environment.

The library had a staff of seven in acquisitions and cataloging; now there are 3 people doing the work (several have been reassigned to other priority projects).

They also implemented a patron-driven acquisitions plan at the same time, seamlessly, and the coverage is maintained by OCLC. Three hundred twenty thousand EBL records have been added to their OPAC because of this. “Patrons love it!”

No historical order data migrated, as WMS doesn’t have the same order method as other systems. When an item is received, the order record goes completely away (the information is still available in budget information and is attached to the bib record, but there’s no traditional order record).

Fund codes are natural language with no restrictions.

E-resource data migration—Knowledge Base (KB) is where it’s all managed. It can be entered manually, through kbart files, or pubget (enter vendor admin info, and pubget retrieves info and loads it into KB automatically. After that, OCLC manages/updates).

Questions and Answers

After Rene's presentation, the floor was opened for questions.

Q: WMS: Have you run into any problems not having the order records?

A: The info is there, but it’s attached to the bib record rather than as a traditional order record. (The report structure is not fully developed yet and there is no create lists function.)

Q: Sierra: My institution was an early adopter with Sierra, but still had lots of problems after production. What do you think and how have staff reacted?

A: Create lists function, when it works, is great. And it’s gotten better. They are also waiting for the index screen to come back.

Q: What kinds of reports can Alma or WMS generate?

A: Alma: You can design your own reports, either complex or not. Really good, sophisticated system.

WMS: Not as sophisticated as other vendors, but the August release is expected to include customized reports. They are considering Collection Analysis, as well, as that’s not currently available.

Q: WMS: Have you cancelled your Serials Solutions subscription?

A: Haven’t cancelled yet because in the middle of a three-year contract; however we have disabled it.

Q: WMS: KB sometimes has the wrong information.

A: Nebraska compared Serials Solutions to KB information; sometimes one was right, sometimes the other was. If they find something not right in KB, they just email OCLC and they fix it. They don’t want to add it manually because they will then need to maintain it themselves. They think some of the problems come from pubget, so they do handle those manually.

Q: WMS: Do you use anything to track life cycle of e-resources?

A: They have been talking to OCLC about this. License Manager is newish and doesn’t have everything. Can do it there, but it’s tough with items in perpetuity.

Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?

A: Alma: They never had the opportunity to see the whole picture, as they were the first site. They will say:

  1. Clean up data!
  2. Step back and review your circ policies and location codes, and simplify, simplify, simplify beforehand.
  3. Keep in mind that Alma is back-end only. Primo is the discovery system and there is no OPAC.

It is a great shock to user services staff and faculty, and they don’t feel they adequately prepared people for the back-end shock.

Sierra: They wouldn’t want to be a development partner. It was very stressful for staff to see things in the rough, and hard for them to see that it would change.

WMS: They focused on the back room, so public services staff wasn’t really involved. The simplicity of WMS was unnerving for staff. They had cleaned up their data, so only had fifty records (of ~1 million) kicked out.

Q: Do the systems integrate with campus systems?

A: Alma: There is a daily feed to the PeopleSoft system. Alma makes it possible, but systems librarians wrote the script. However, Alma is looking for a return from PeopleSoft to show that an invoice is closed, but PeopleSoft doesn’t send a return. So closing of invoices at this point has to be done manually.

Sierra: They had an initial problem with payments getting to accounts payable, but the office was also changing its system. After that was sorted out, it has worked fine. Circ. also gets patron data from campus, and that works fine.

WMS: SIS system interfaces with it just fine. It does not interface with the accounting system. With further development by member libraries, they hope to have it interface with the campus accounting system (SAP) at some point in the future.

Q: How many systems are now needed to manage e-resources?

A: Alma: They had three systems, now everything is in Alma. Number of staff hasn’t really changed, but the systems staff processes have changed. Activating resources is part of the ordering process now.

Sierra: Currently in transition. E-resources are still managed in several places.

WMS: They combined four or five products into WMS and License Manager. Staff is still unchanged for e-resources, but it’s still new so they can’t say how many staff will be needed to manage e-resources in the future.

Q: Sierra: How will these changes affect consortium participants?

A: The Law Library has been accidentally impacted, but now that doesn’t seem to happen.