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Governance Minutes Archive

December 5, 1990

                  UNIVERSITY LIBRARY COMMITTEE MINUTES

                            December 5, 1990

 

 

  PRESENT:

  Bill Cox, for Engineering           Carl Pfeiffer, for Vet Med

  Norman Dodl, Education              J. Scott Poole, Architecture

  Edward Fox, Arts & Sciences         J. D. Stahl, Faculty Senate

  Paul Gherman, Library               Karen Watson, GSA

  Kara Goldberg, SGA                  Rod Young, Ag. & Life Sciences

  Ken McCleary, Human Resources

 

  GUESTS:

  Frances Painter, Library            Paul Metz, Library

 

  ABSENT:

  John Bowen, Vet Med                 Arthur Keown, Business

  Carol Burch-Brown, Provost's Office Michael Vorster, Engineering

  Holly Ferguson, CSAC

 

  MEETING SUMMARY:

 

  The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m., and the minutes of

  the November meeting were approved as submitted. There was an

  initial discussion of issues and goals for Information Systems

  1991-96. Members were asked to bring to the next meeting their

  comments and ideas for further discussion.  E. Fox, Arts &

  Sciences, gave a presentation about projects on which he is working

  that have applications for the library.

 

  REPORTS:

 

  LIBRARY ANNOUNCEMENTS (P. Gherman):

 

         I. P. Gherman distributed a chart detailing the new library

            organization, effective January 1. The new organization

            is in response to the elimination of an Assistant Director

            position--the second key administrative position the

            library has eliminated because of budget cuts. The duties

            previously assigned to the position of Assistant Director

            for Public Services and Collection Development are now

            distributed as follows: F. Painter will assume

            responsibility for administration of public services as

            Assistant Director for Personnel and Public Services, and

            P. Metz, Principal Bibliographer, will assume budgetary

            and policy responsibility for collection development. P.

            Gherman will assume direct responsibility for the budget

            and supervision of the business and support services

            offices of the library, formerly administered by F. Painter.

 

        II. Susan Jurow, Director of the Office of Management Studies

            of the Association of Research Libraries, will return to

            campus on January 24 and 25, 1991. She will conduct a

            series of focus group sessions on issues identified during

            her first campus meetings in September. At the January

            meeting of ULC it should be decided what further

            involvement the committee will have with her.

 

       III. The January ULC meeting was originally scheduled for the

            first Wednesday, January 2, 1991. However, the library

            will be closed that day for replacement of the library's

            main electrical power supply switch.

 

            N. Dodl directed that the committee hold the meeting on

            the following Wednesday, January 9, 1991.

 

  NEW BUSINESS:

 

        I.  INFORMATION SYSTEMS ISSUES AND GOALS FOR 1991-96 (N. Dodl):

 

            N.  Dodl distributed a document entitled Information

            Systems in 1996: A Vision, that contained revisions he had

            made (see attached). The genesis of the document was a

            discussion held during a meeting of the Chairpersons of

            the University Library Committee, the Communications

            Committee, the Computer Committee, and of the Directors of

            those units. The document presents issues which the group

            wishes to place before these committees for discussion.

 

            E. Fox had earlier received a copy of the document handed

            out by N. Dodl (without the Dodl revisions) from M.

            Williams, Director of the Computing Center. M. Williams

            invited him to attend a meeting of the Computer Committee

            and asked him to prepare comments on the document for the

            meeting. He distributed to ULC members copies of the

            statement he prepared in response to that request (see

            attached).

 

            The idea is to development a plan representing the views

            of all groups on campus who are concerned with information

            access, and the way in which that access is to be planned

            for and supported by the university over the next five

            years. The document contains statements developed by the

            original group, plus several statements added by N. Dodl

            in his revision, and was presented as a starting point for

            discussion.

 

            E. Fox: My prepared statement of comments on this

            document are addressed to the general issue, therefore

            some comments are relevant to communications and computing

            issues, not necessarily the library. My view is that the

            discussion should start with deciding where we should be

            in five years, not with how much it is going to cost.

            N. Dodl: I think that point is well taken. Ultimately,

            the questions of finance will need to be addressed. In

            the past we've just expected that there would be the

            necessary funding appropriations to cover essential

            services and changes.

            P. Gherman: In the Fox document, what is meant by the

            statement that library services to help researchers find

            the right information should be the library's core

            responsibility, rather than the focus on collection

            development.

            E. Fox responded that he was referring to the process of

            finding the right information.

            P. Gherman: What is the larger role we should be playing?

            E. Fox: The library should play a larger supporting role

            in helping the student or researcher with mechanical and

            staff support in the intellectual and conceptual process.

            It is my belief that students should be in a mode of

            discovering in the learning process. Also we are all at

            fault for not remedying the situation when a researcher is

            afraid of doing an online search of the literature--

            because he doesn't know how--and as a result writes a

            proposal for useless or frivolous research.

            P. Gherman: Does this mean that the library staff should

            be personally involved in the research--do more "hand-

            holding"--to find the right information?

            E. Fox responded that there should be more encouragement

            to students to use library resources and to have

            electronic access in lieu of that.

            P. Metz: This also is a variation on the access/ownership

            theme. People think there is a great deal more electronic

            information available than there actually is. But if you

            are looking toward the mid-90s then what we own may be

            less germane that what we are able to get at.

            Carl Pfeiffer: The Fox document, under the heading of

            motivation for faculty, speaks of university rewards for

            use of electronic format for publication. Yet the

            individual faculty member is still responsible not only to

            the university, but to the national and international

            community of the discipline in which he works. Most do

            not yet use an electronic format for publication, and the

            faculty member is obligated to use conventional

            publication methods.

            E. Fox: I think we need to focus on where we are going

            and this document is looking five years ahead. There will

            be many transition problems to be worked out.

            P. Gherman: Some of the questions raised in the vision

            document are central to what we are going to do with Susan

            Jurow as we development the library's new strategic plan.

            For instance, the question of whether we should have

            decreasing access to physical information while increasing

            our access to electronic information is one of the major

            issues the library will face in the next five years.

            K. McCleary: The questions raised in the document don't

            seem to me to be debateable issues. For instance should

            all faculty have computer terminals at their desks. I

            thought they already did.

            E. Fox: At this point about 2/3 of them do.

            N. Dodl: I was also surprised by the question of whether

            all staff members should have access to the networks at

            their work places--I don't know how a staff member at this

            university could function without such access. That seems

            to me to be a non-issue.

            K. McCleary: We have an electronic journal in my field,

            published at this university. I reviewed an article

            electronically, sent it back, and shortly thereafter, it

            was available. The time-saving and efficiency are

            unbelievable.

            N. Dodl ended the discussion stating that the purpose of

            the agenda item was to get the discussion started. ULC

            members were asked to talk to their colleagues and solicit

            ideas and, if possible, prepare written comments by the

            next meeting when the discussion would continue.

 

       II.  PROJECTS WITH LIBRARY APPLICATIONS (E. Fox):

 

            E. Fox distributed handouts to accompany his presentation.

            The first paper was on research and development in library

            automation and concerned projects E. Fox is conducting in

            collaboration with library staff. The first project, in

            collaboration with P. Gherman, is the Virginia Disc Series

            of CD-ROMS, produced with funding from Numbus, SCHEV, and

            CIT.  Copies of VAD1 and VAD2 are available in the

            library. The second project, in collaboration with Linda

            Wilson, is REVTOLC: Retrieval Experiment Virginia Tech

            Online Catalog. The purpose of this study was to compare

            advanced retrieval methods with a large collection. This

            project was funded by the National Science Foundation,

            OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), and CLR (Council in

            Library Resources).

 

            The second handout contained comments about library

            catalog retrieval. The comments were intended to

            stimulate discussion, potentially pointing out that there

            are improvements possible in the way access to catalog

            information is provided. The points covered in outline

            form in the paper were: 1) Campus bibliographic/text

            search capabilities 2) Problems with most current systems

            3) Technological aids 4) Potential benefits at VPI&SU of

            an improved system 5) Possible capabilities at VPI&SU.

 

            The third handout was photocopied from the OCLC Annual

            Report and reports on research they funded that was

            carried out at VPI&SU in connection with library catalog

            access.

 

            E. Fox's presentation elaborated on these projects and

            included a slide presentation about the Virginia Disc

            Series and about a retrieval experiment based on data from

            the online catalog at the library.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 5:05. The members were reminded that

  the next meeting would be held one week later than originally

  scheduled, on Wednesday, January 9.

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