VCU Libraries Advisory Committee
Tompkins-McCaw Library, 1st Floor Conference Room
March 25, 2011 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Mary Baechle, Jan Chlebowski, Corey Davis, Rosemary Farmer, Linda Hughes, Cindy Jong, Allen Lee (for Jana McQuaid), Nathaniel Markson, Faye Prichard, Karen Rader, Raj Rao, Brenda Seago (acting chair), Ann Wiesner
Absent with notice
Angelica Bega-Hart, Bonnie Davis, Roy McKelvey, Jana McQuaid, Patricia Strong
Staff: Dennis Clark, John Duke, Teresa Knott, Dan Ream, John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from February 2011
It was noted that Dr. Lee was listed as absent when in fact he attends as an alternate for Dr. McQuaid when necessary. This will be corrected in the minutes. With that revision, the minutes were approved.
VCU Libraries policy statements: review (handouts)
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that the VCU Libraries brings new policies to the Committee for the Committee’s review and endorsement. He noted that the University has been developing a new policy called “Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures” that will bring some order and consistency to the policy-making process across the University. Under this new policy, VCU Libraries’ policies will fall under the definition of “Local Policy”, and will require approval by the Provost. The University expects the Board of Visitors to vote on the new policy in May. Because the new University policy is not yet in place, the VCU Libraries policies under consideration today will not be subject to the process in the new University policy.
The handouts consisted of two policy proposals from the VCU Libraries.
• Fines and fees policy: This policy describes a framework for developing and imposing fines and fees, but operational practice is not included in the policy. This means that the policy does not contain the actual fine and fee amounts, but any fines and fees developed by the VCU Libraries must comply with the policy. The policy defines a “grace period” for fines and fees. Committee members asked about the definition of a “grace period” and why it exists. Committee members noted that loan periods stipulate clearly that a user had a certain number of hours or days to use the item; a “grace period” appears to merely extend that loan period. It was explained that the grace period applies primarily to books and is intended to allow time to actually return the item following the period of use. Mr. Ulmschneider noted that this is similar to the staff guidelines for building hours: Cabell Library, for instance, closes at 2am, and users may remain in the building until 2am. They must vacate immediately after 2am, so in effect, they have a “grace period” of a few minutes to exit the building, similar to operations at retail establishments.
• Lost and found: Like the fines and fees policy, this policy describes a framework for dealing with lost and found items, but includes no operational details. Staff have developed a comprehensive guidelines document for handling lost and found items that complies with the policy proposal.
After discussion, a motion was made, seconded and adopted unanimously to approve the policies as presented.
Reports and Discussion
Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund (HEETF) and Student Technology Fee (STF) funding requests for 2011-12
Mr. Duke reported that the University has not yet sent out its requests to units for HEETF and STF proposals. However, the VCU Libraries has already begun compiling a list of purchases for each fund in preparation for the call for proposals. Managers have reviewed the lists, which will be refined in the coming weeks. The VCU Libraries will bring the final list to the next VLAC meeting for review by the Committee. In discussion, Mr. Duke said that last year the HEETF list totaled about $154,000 and the STF about $207,700. Items purchased included computers for both student and staff use, equipment for the Learning Commons, the big scanner in MRS and the printer/scanners in the public areas, and more network infrastructure. He said that student use of hand-held devices and laptops has begun to exceed their use of desktops; in the future, increased access for equipment through the wireless network will be part of the funding requests. He also said the VCU Libraries is partnering with Tech Services for some purchases, such as more laptops, both new and replacements.
Discovery tools initiative - visual demonstration
Mr. Ulmschneider noted that there are two challenges with the current tools used for searching VCU’s library collections. First, the current generation of tools is inadequate: they require that users use multiple interfaces and search procedures that have varying effectiveness. The second is that eventually, given the steady evolution of data architecture and searching technologies, the current enterprise software used by the VCU Libraries for searching its catalog, circulating items, and the like will become obsolete. The VCU Libraries either will replace the entire software system through an RFP process, or will have to update to the next generation of the existing enterprise solution.
With assistance from Mr. Ream for the visual portion of his report, Mr. Ulmschneider demonstrated two of the powerful next-generation searching tools that are becoming available. Vanderbilt University uses Primo, from Ex Libris Inc. (the same enterprise software provider used by the VCU Libraries), while Dartmouth uses Summon, from Serials Solutions Inc. Both tools make it much easier to search journal collections from many different providers using a single search statement, saving time for students and faculty, reducing complexity, and improving results. Mr. Ulmschneider said that he wanted the Committee to be aware that the VCU Libraries is considering the most cost-effective ways to migrate to this emerging new technology base for its searching tools and enterprise software. The Committee will be updated regularly as the VCU Libraries develops options and explores cost and functionality of the different offerings.
Demo and discussion: Open Access Publishing - online demonstration and handout
Mr. Ream opened his demonstration by asking the Committee if anyone knew the price of the most expensive journal in the collection. After several ventured guesses, he revealed that the most expensive journal, Journal of Comparative Neurology, cost $25,924 a year. Referring to the handout, he explained that VCU subscribes to 284 journals that cost at least $3,000 a year. Because of these costs, the overall journal subscription base is limited to what universities can afford. Publishing in these high-cost commercial journals translates into limited access to articles and research output from faculty, since many institutions cannot afford their prices.
Mr. Ream reported that the VCU Faculty Senate has endorsed wider publication in Open Access journals as an alternative to high-cost commercial journal publication. Open Access journals are generally available to all without cost, or at a nominal cost, which expands access to findings published in them. Open Access publishers employ a variety of business models to sustain themselves, including author page fees and publication subsidies from a faculty member’s institution. One challenge to wider adoption is that standards for promotion and tenure still do not assign appropriate weight to Open Access publications, which discourages faculty members from using these venues.
Mr. Ream then showed on the Sherpa/Romeo website, http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/, how to track the various copyright privileges and permissions and how to search for open or hybrid journals that would accommodate one’s needs.
Ms. Knott reminded the Committee about the “Bedpan Elegance” event on Thursday, March 31st at TML, starting at 4:00 pm. The event is a photography and artifact exhibit of bedpans and the artwork is by William DuBois, Chair of the Photography Department at Rochester Institute of Technology; Mr. DuBois will be present to open the exhibit and talk about his work and collection.
Mr. Ulmschneider reported that the recently held Brown-Lyons Lecture (March 24th) was a huge success, with nearly 500 people in attendance. Next year’s lecture tentatively is titled “Jerusalem: Whose City Is It?”
The meeting adjourned at 3:10 pm.