USER ACCESS TO LIBRARY INFORMATION RESOURCES:
A Report from the Access Strategy Team
March 14, 2005
In July 2004, the Library's Budget Implementation Task Force, headed by Paula Kaufman, created the Access Strategy Team (AST) and charged it with (1) setting up teams to implement two digital library software products about to be acquired by the Library and (2) reviewing the Library's existing organizational structure for cataloging and metadata work and making recommendations for a new structure better suited to the evolving digital information environment. The full charge to the AST can be found at this web site: http://www.library.uiuc.edu/accessstrategy/accesscharge.html
AST membership includes Lisa German, Jo Kibbee, Bill Mischo, Michael Norman, Wendy Shelburne, Peggy Steele (chair), David Ward, and John Weible.
The present document serves as a report to Paula Kaufman on the second of the two tasks assigned to AST. It includes an historical overview of the access-related activities in the Library which led up to the creation of AST, followed by AST's proposals for restructuring the Library's cataloging and metadata operations and services.
AST consulted several individuals and groups for advice and comments as we prepared this report. Among those with whom we met are: the Technical Services Division Faculty, the Cataloging Policy Committee, the Electronic Resources Working Group, the Interim Leader of the Digital Content Creation Team, the Head of Digital Services and Development, the Associate University Librarian for Collections, the Associate University Librarian for Services, and the Associate University Librarian for Information Technology Planning and Policy.
II. OVERVIEW OF PREVIOUS ACCESS-RELATED INITIATIVES
A. Recommendations from the "Report of the Taskforce on Access to Collections" (3/19/02)
The Library's Taskforce on Access to Collections was established by University Librarian Paula Kaufman in April 2001. The Taskforce was charged with making recommendations, both near and long term, for providing access to all of the Library's print and electronic library resources, as well as to information beyond our walls.
The following statements from the Taskforce report, dated 03/19/02, clarify the Taskforce members’ understanding of the term "access".
"Access in this context refers to the ability to discover/use print and digital resources that the Library owns, licenses, or otherwise makes available."
"In operational terms, access means knowing what we have and how to get it. The ‘collection’ includes traditional (tangible) library materials including books, archives, manuscripts, and audiovisual materials, as well as digital resources such as abstracting and indexing (A&I) databases, e-books and e-journals, aggregator databases such as Expanded Academic Index, digital image collections, and non-licensed websites."
The Taskforce report also states:
"The challenge for the Library in the years ahead is to re-conceptualize how we use the catalog and/or other access gateways or portals to provide our users with easy and efficient access to all of our materials."
"Access tools should be user-oriented, allowing for information discovery that reflects actual patterns and characteristics of information seeking behavior, economized effort, and presents unambiguous and easily understandable results."
"Resources should be described in appropriate metadata (MARC, EAD, XML) with the appropriate level of granularity for providing effective access."
The Taskforce articulated a set of five goals for the Library along with accompanying recommendations on how to achieve them. Two of these goals focus on metadata per se, and one on technologies that utilize metadata to provide access to information resources.
Goal 1: "Create an integrated information environment by implementing a portal access architecture, multiple database searching, and a variety of linking technologies."
Goal 2: "Improve access to the Library’s physical collection by providing accurate and reliable records, with an appropriate level of metadata, and in a timely manner, for all tangible materials (books, serials, maps, microforms, media, etc.) the Library has acquired."
Goal 3: "Improve access to the Library’s available digital resources by ensuring that these resources have the appropriate type and level of metadata to enable efficient, consistent, and reliable retrieval . . ."
B. Recommendations from the Access Task Force Working Groups
After discussing and accepting the report of the original Access Task Force, the Library subsequently established five working groups to deliberate further on the five goals that were defined by the Task Force and to recommend specific actions for achieving them. Each working group was assigned a specific goal to consider. They were each charged with laying out a plan of action for both the near term and the longer term. The Working Groups presented their reports in May 2003.
Among the recommendations put forth by Working Group 1 were:
"Implement an inter-resource linking solution."
"Implement a broadcast searching tool."
Among the recommendations put forth by Working Group 2 were:
"Follow up on plans to eliminate defined backlogs. Review existing plans, determine their feasibility, and revise if necessary."
"Create policies and procedures that prevent or minimize the development of future backlogs . . ."
"Increase the accessibility of tangible resources that are currently accessible primarily through local standalone databases (e.g., archives, sheet music, newspapers) . . ."
Among the recommendations from Working Group 3 were:
"Reconfigure the Library’s present cataloging operations (both in Technical Services and in the unit libraries) into a new Metadata Unit.
We recommend that all existing cataloging positions and activities throughout the Library be reviewed and defined to fit into the organization and operation of a new Metadata Unit. We recommend further that the Metadata Unit be mandated to work in tandem with other units, such as Acquisitions and the Digital Services & Development Unit, to develop procedures and practices that will support efficient processing of materials, timely creation of metadata records, and easy access to all UIUC collections for our users."
Among the recommendations from Working Group 4 were:
"This group recommends that the Library implement the OAI-PMH to harvest metadata records from all appropriate databases within the Library."
"We recommend that, eventually, the Library broaden its scope to resources outside the Library, and invest in an effort to develop an even larger repository for resources on our University campus."
"Concurrently, we could include databases from off-campus sites . . ."
C. Subsequent Developments
Responding to the recommendations from Working Group 1, the Library decided to acquire three digital library products (a federated search system, a link resolver, and a digital objects management system) which will be implemented within the next twelve months. These products are being purchased by ILCSO with consortial funds and will be implemented locally by the Library. The Library’s goal is to make all three systems interoperable in our environment, an outcome which will require considerable local customization and programming on our part. We expect that the resulting implementation will greatly enhance the user’s ability to find and use diverse types of materials in our collections while at the same time providing new ways for librarians and users to work together on resource discovery.
We will now be able to move away from the individual "silo" approach to information access which requires patrons to use multiple systems and interfaces to find out what the library owns (or has access to) on a particular topic. We can design customized portals to bring resources from diverse systems (online catalogs, A & I and full-text databases, local digital collections, etc.) to users through integrated search and discovery interfaces.
The Library created the Access Strategy Team in July 2004 and charged it with setting up teams to implement the federated search and link resolver products. The Federated Search Pilot Project Implementation Team (the "Feds") and the OpenURL Link Resolver Implementation Team ("OLRIT") have subsequently been established and both have begun working on their assigned tasks.
In addition to planning for implementation of the new digital library products, and in response to the recommendations from Working Groups 2 and 3, the Access Strategy Team was also charged with reviewing the Library's existing organizational structure for cataloging and metadata work and making recommendations for a new structure better suited to the rapidly evolving higher education information environment.
III. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE ACCESS STRATEGY TEAM
Library-Wide Collection Access Principles, Policy, and Technical Issues
Successful utilization of the Library's new digital products, particularly the federated search system and the digital objects management system, requires the establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated Library-wide content access policy, and a corresponding set of content access principles, covering all our collections. (The term "collections" is broadly defined here to include all information resources the Library purchases, licenses, digitizes, creates locally, or selects from the "hidden web", regardless of their physical format or location.) A clearly delineated collections access policy will spell out how each type of information resource can be accessed by users and how it can be integrated into the Library's overall information discovery environment. This will provide a rational and flexible framework on which the Library can build, maintain, and enhance information portals for its user community over time.
A critical component of this content access framework is the underlying technology infrastructure that supports the systems and services we offer to users and enables them to grow and evolve as the nature of Library collections continues to change.
AST recommends that a new working group be established to coordinate planning for integrated content access services across the Library, to oversee the implementation of new and enhanced access and discovery systems, and to collaborate with Library IT on planning a sustainable and flexible technology infrastructure for the near and long term. We propose that this new group be called the Content Access Policy and Technology Group. We suggest the following membership and responsibilities.
Content Access Policy and Technology Group (CAPT)
Co-Chairs: AUL for Collections, AUL for IT Planning & Policy
Purpose: Coordinates policy and planning for integrated content access services across the Library. Oversees design and implementation of the technology infrastructure that supports and sustains the Library’s content access services.
Members: AUL for Services; Head of Content Access Management (see p. 9); OPAC Records Coordinator (see p. 10); Head of Digital Services and Development; Head of Acquisitions; Head of Library Systems; Head of IRRC; Head of Central Circulation and Bookstacks; E-resource Librarian; Coordinator for Information Literacy and Instruction; Coordinator for Integrated Systems; three librarians engaged in collection development and public service; and one member of the Grainger Digital Initiatives Group. Individuals serving in the positions specifically listed above are permanent members of CAPT. Other members are appointed for two year terms and may be reappointed.
Formulates, documents, and publicizes UIUC's Library-wide content access principles and policy that: (1) facilitate user discovery of and access to the materials in all the Library's collections, regardless of format or location; (2) enable integrated access to the materials in UIUC's collections via designated access and discovery systems supported by the Library; and (3) lay groundwork for the ongoing evolution of flexible, innovative, and user-friendly content access services for the University.
Establishes overall principles and high-level guidelines which clearly define the extent and type of content access to be provided for each category of information resource owned, licensed, digitized, collected, locally created, or otherwise acquired by the Library (e.g., which types of resources get MARC records and are included in the Voyager database; which types of resources are made accessible via metadata; which resources are represented in the ORR; which types of resources are made accessible via a federated search system.)
Designs an integrated information technology infrastructure that enables the Library to provide effective user access to collections and resources of all kinds and facilitates the creation of useful content and innovative services using standard software tools, metadata schema, object formats, and data exchange protocols that will make UIUC’s information resources sustainable over the long term.
Collaborates with Library IT on setting priorities for the technical work needed to build and support the integrated content access infrastructure.
Defines new technology-based projects to enhance access to Library content; specifies the scope and goals of each project plus the technical resources and staff expertise required to ensure its success.
Appoints, coordinates, and oversees implementation groups to work on specific content access related projects.
Note: AST envisions that CAPT will continue the work begun by the Library's Electronic Resources Working Group (ERWG) and also expand the focus of ERWG's activities to include all types of collections regardless of format or location. CAPT will also absorb the work of the ad hoc TDNET Implementation Group. Two current project teams, the OpenURL Link Resolver Implementation Team (OLRIT) and the Federated Search Pilot Project Implementation Team (the Feds) will continue their work under the general oversight of CAPT.
B. Cataloging and Metadata Production in the Evolving Information Environment
AST strongly endorses the recommendation from Access Task Force Working Group 3 to consolidate coordination of both MARC cataloging and metadata production in a central content access unit. AST also recommends that responsibility for managing access to the Library’s e-resources be assigned to the same unit. ("E-resources" are defined as commercially-acquired or licensed electronic publications. Some examples are electronic A & I services, full-text journal databases, full-text e-books.)
AST proposes calling the new unit Content Access Management (CAM) and locating it in the Technical Services Division. As envisioned by AST, CAM will function as a coordinating entity to bring all MARC cataloging and metadata production under one umbrella organization regardless of where in the Library these activities are performed.
CAM will replace all former cataloging units in central Technical Services. Unit library cataloging personnel would not be administratively affected by this change. Cataloging faculty in the unit libraries, however, would become members of the OPAC Records Working Group (ORWG) (see pp. 7-8) and would participate, along with their peers in CAM, in establishing cataloging, classification, authority control and holdings policy and principles for the Library's MARC-based collections, within the high level guidelines developed by CAPT.
A key factor in the success of CAM operations will be the development of a flexible cadre of personnel within this unit who can work comfortably in both the MARC cataloging and metadata environments and who can shift gears as needed to assist in meeting the Library's evolving goals for access to information resources of all kinds. Ongoing training and dialog will be critical components of success in this area.
1. Metadata Creation in the Library
To ensure that the Library's digitization initiatives and the work of CAM are synchronized, the Head of CAM will collaborate with the Head of DSD on the coordination of Library-wide policies, standards, and practices for metadata creation and management. The Head of CAM and the Head of DSD may elect to create a metadata working group to assist in establishing Library-wide policies, standards and practices and to encourage discussion and collaboration among metadata workers throughout the Library.
The Head of CAM and the Head of DSD will work with the University Archives, Rare Books & Special Collections, and other Library units which use (or may in the future) markup languages (e.g., TEI. EAD) to provide access to their materials. Their goal will be to bring the generation of metadata via markup languages into the content access mainstream and to standardize the use of markup languages across the Library. This may entail setting up one or more working groups to bring markup language users together for purposes of establishing Library-wide policies, standards, and practices.
The Head of CAM and the Head of DSD will ensure that training programs are developed for all Library personnel involved in metadata creation. AST envisions that CAM faculty will, in time, acquire the metadata expertise that will enable them to serve as resources for personnel in other Library units which are engaged in digitization initiatives.
2. Campus Metadata Services
AST proposes that the Head of CAM and the Head of DSD, in conjunction with the Head of Information Services Delivery and Entrepreneurial Programs, be asked to explore the development of fee-based digitization and metadata consulting services for the UIUC community. Other North American research libraries, such as Cornell, MIT, and Harvard, have already begun to offer these kinds of services to their faculty and administrators. The current lack of a campus-wide digitization program at UIUC presents the Library with an opportunity to significantly enhance its presence on campus. This opportunity should be thoroughly investigated.
Although CAM will devote significant time to building a metadata support structure for the Library, its energies must also be actively directed at supporting Library-wide cataloging operations and maintaining/enhancing the integrity of the Voyager database. Fast and accurate access to the collections represented in the online catalog is one of the Library’s primary goals. For this reason, AST makes the following proposals.
a. OPAC Records Working Group (ORWG)
AST recommends the creation of the OPAC Records Working Group, under the leadership of the OPAC Records Coordinator (see p. 10), to replace both the current Cataloging Policy Committee and the current ISCC Cataloging Team.
The membership of the OPAC Records Working Group will comprise all Library faculty (regardless of administrative unit) who regularly perform MARC cataloging. The Head of CAM will also be a member of the Group.
The OPAC Records Working Group will have responsibility, within the overall guidelines provided by the Content Access Policy and Technology Group and based on relevant state, national, and international standards, for formulating, documenting, and publicizing cataloging, classification, authority control, and holdings policy and principles for the Library’s MARC-based collections. ORWG will also propose changes as needed in the Library’s overall content access principles and policy to the Content Access Policy and Technology Group.
Members of the OPAC Records Working Group will be thoroughly experienced with the functionality of the Voyager cataloging client and the effects of cataloging practice on the UIUC online catalog. They will collaboratively plan for Library-wide use of the Voyager cataloging client (current and future releases), maintain the Voyager tag tables, work to streamline existing practices and workflows associated with MARC operations, assist the ISCC Training Team in developing faculty/staff training sessions on MARC operations, and coordinate the upgrades and introduction of cataloging tools and rules (such as Connexion, Cataloger’s Desktop, WebDewey, AACR3, etc.) for the Library.
AST strongly recommends that ORWG utilize a variety of communication mechanisms, in addition to regularly-scheduled meetings, to facilitate ongoing discussion and effective collaboration among its members, regardless of where they are physically or administratively located. For example, electronic discussion via email and/or a bulletin board could enable this group to handle a portion of its work from the desktop.
b. Backlog of Uncataloged and Undercataloged Materials
Tangible materials that are uncataloged or undercataloged continue to be a major user access problem for the Library. AST recommends that CAM be charged with developing a program to (1) identify the remaining backlogs of uncataloged and undercataloged tangible items, (2) work with Collections to assign processing priorities, (3) select the best solution (e.g., in-house processing, outsourcing) for each category of materials, (4) aggressively pursue the funding or other resources needed to have records created or enhanced for these collections, and (5) ultimately eliminate the backlogs.
c. Acquiring Bibliographic Records for New Acquisitions
Technical Services has already begun to acquire cataloging records from external sources for several categories of new tangible materials and electronic publications. AST recommends that CAM and Acquisitions explore additional options for expanding this program in order to facilitate more rapid processing of new acquisitions, provide faster access to new materials for users, and free up existing personnel to take on new responsibilities.
d. Coordination of Catalog Maintenance Operations
Another critical area of need is better coordination of catalog maintenance activities throughout the Library. Full-level MARC records need to be imported from OCLC to replace the remaining MARCettes and brief records that populate the online catalog. Incorrect bib records need to be replaced with correct ones. Serial holdings records require work to comply with national standards. Holding and item records need to be created for every piece within the Library's collection. Analytics need to be clearly delineated. Authority maintenance of personal and corporate names, series statements, and subject headings needs to be performed. This maintenance is not being done in a coordinated fashion. AST recommends that CAM be charged with developing a coordinated approach to authority, bibliographic, holdings, and item maintenance records for the Library.
To summarize, the proposed new CAM unit will be responsible for facilitating user access to the Library’s information resources by:
coordinating and overseeing the creation and management of MARC records in the Library’s Voyager database;
collaborating with DSD and other units on the creation and management of metadata for the Library’s non-MARC collections;
overseeing creation and management of accurate access points to UIUC’s e-resources in the Library’s various discovery and access systems;
exploring the development of fee-based metadata services for the UIUC community.
4. CAM Personnel
AST proposes a flexible and collaborative organizational structure for CAM under the leadership of the department head (the Head of CAM.) We recommend that the Head of CAM position be filled promptly by an internal re-appointment.
While AST does not wish to propose a detailed organization for CAM, we believe there are several key positions, and categories of positions, that should be delineated in our report. The following is a list of these positions and their responsibilities.
Head of CAM
Serves on the Library’s Content Access Policy and Technology Group
Works with the Head of DSD and other designated individuals on issues associated with metadata interoperability
Within the guidelines provided by the Content Access Policy and Technology Group, and in collaboration with the Head of DSD, coordinates the formulation and support of Library-wide policies, standards, and practices for metadata use with Library collections of all types
Holds regular meetings of all Library metadata personnel (both CAM metadata personnel and metadata personnel from other Library units) to discuss the Library’s metadata policies, goals, and practices and to collaboratively resolve issues that arise in the use of metadata for Library collections
Oversees all CAM operations and services, and participates directly in cataloging and metadata activities as appropriate
In conjunction with the OPAC Records Coordinator and the CAM librarians, establishes production goals, standards, work priorities for CAM cataloging and metadata operations
Insures that the Library’s metadata personnel have the training and tools needed to perform metadata work successfully
Assists the DSD in the migration of metadata for existing local digital and print collections to a centrally supported digital object management system
Collaborates with the E-resource Librarian and the Library’s Coordinator for Staff Development and Training on enhancing awareness of metadata concepts/issues and e-resource issues among all Library personnel
Collaborates with the CIC and other external agencies on planning and executing cooperative metadata projects
In collaboration with the Head of DSD and the Head of Information Services Delivery and Entrepreneurial Programs, develops and oversees a fee-based program that provides metadata consulting, design, development, production, and conversion services to the UIUC community to increase the value of campus digital resources
OPAC Records Coordinator (AST recommends this position be filled by an internal re-appointment.)
Serves on the Library’s Content Access Policy and Technology Group
As Chair of the OPAC Records Working Group, coordinates the formulation of Library-wide policies and practices for Voyager cataloging, classification, authority control, and holdings activities within the guidelines provided by the Content Access Policy and Technology Group and based on relevant state, national, and international standards
Works collaboratively with the cataloging faculty to coordinate planning for Voyager cataloging, classification, authority control and holdings activities, including maintenance and cleanup of the Voyager database
In conjunction with the Head of CAM and the CAM librarians, establishes production goals, standards, work priorities for CAM cataloging and metadata operations
Develops expertise in the use of multiple metadata schema and participates in creating and managing metadata for library collections
Insures that MARC catalogers throughout the Library have the training and tools needed to perform their work successfully
Collaborates with Acquisitions on procedures and workflows to ensure timely processing of tangible and electronic materials
In conjunction with Acquisitions, develops guidelines, quality standards, and workflows for procuring and loading MARC records from book vendors and outsourcing agencies
Develops a program to identify and process backlog of uncataloged and undercataloged tangible materials
Serves as a member of ISCC for OPAC record operations
Collaborates with ILCSO on Voyager database issues
E-resource Librarian (AST recommends that the E-resource Librarian work jointly in CAM and Acquisitions/Collections, and report to the Head of Acquisitions for administrative purposes.)
Coordinates planning for the creation and maintenance of e-resource access points in the Library’s discovery and access systems, in collaboration with Acquisitions, Collections, and the Library Systems Office
Manages e-resource access activities and supervises the personnel responsible for creating and maintaining e-resource access points
Assists with development of e-resource documentation and training materials
Metadata Librarians (CAM Library Faculty)
Collaborate with the Head of CAM and the OPAC Records Operations Coordinator on defining production goals, standards, and priorities for MARC and metadata operations
Provide bibliographic access to materials in the Voyager database through original cataloging/authority control/holdings activities
Develop expertise in the use of multiple metadata schema and participate in creating and managing metadata for library collections
Serve as resources for other cataloging and metadata personnel in the Library
Lead and/or participate in CAM projects as needed
May supervise the work of CAM support staff personnel
May participate in providing fee-based metadata services for the campus community
May assist the Library’s Coordinator for Staff Development and Training in developing and delivering MARC and metadata training programs for Library personnel
CAM Support Staff
Job responsibilities for the support staff positions within CAM are determined by the Head of CAM in conjunction with the OPAC Records Coordinator and other CAM Faculty, as appropriate
C. Transition from the Current Environment to the New Organization
AST expects the transition to the new content access infrastructure to occur over an extended period of time, perhaps one to two years, but recommends that the process begin as soon as possible after the proposals contained in this report are reviewed, modified if necessary, and accepted by the Library.
The first priority is for the University Librarian, in conjunction with the Library’s Executive Committee, to begin the process of filling the Head of CAM and OPAC Records Coordinator positions. With these positions filled, it will then be possible to move forward on other transition tasks.
The changes proposed by AST are significant. As part of the transition process, we recommend that the AUL for Collections, the AUL for IT Planning & Policy, and AUL for Services, the Head of CAM, and the Technical Services Division Coordinator meet at six-month intervals for the first two years to review the Library’s progress in migrating to the new organization and to assess the success of the new organization in meeting the Library’s goals for improved user access.
The following list of transition events is by no means all-inclusive, but gives a good sense of the scope of activities associated with moving into the new organization.
University Librarian and Executive Committee create the Content Access Policy and Technology Group and appoint the public services representatives and the representative from the Grainger Digital Initiatives Group.
AUL for Collections and the Executive Committee disband the Electronic Resources Working Group with thanks.
AUL for Collections and AUL for IT Policy and Planning plan and convene the inaugural meeting of the Content Access Policy and Technology Group.
AUL for Collections and AUL for IT Policy and Planning establish a timeline for completing and publicizing the initial version of the Library-wide content access principles and policy.
Head of CAM and OPAC Records Coordinator establish peer contacts at other ARL Libraries and investigate strategies for transitioning from MARC to metadata that have been used successfully elsewhere.
Head of CAM and Head of DSD begin exploratory dialog with the goal of developing a collaborative and supportive working relationship between the two units.
Head of CAM and Head of DSD define the initial metadata projects in which CAM personnel will be involved.
Head of CAM works with OPAC Records Coordinator and other CAM faculty to flesh out the individual CAM faculty job responsibilities.
Head of CAM works with OPAC Records Coordinator and other CAM faculty to redefine CAM support staff positions and reorganize support staff job responsibilities.
Head of CAM and OPAC Records Coordinator begin regular meetings to coordinate MARC cataloging and metadata work in CAM.
Head of CAM arranges training and support for CAM personnel who will be transitioning into metadata work.
Head of CAM and Head of DSD plan and convene initial meeting of all Library metadata personnel.
OPAC Records Coordinator effects the transition from the Cataloging Policy Committee to the OPAC Records Working Group.
OPAC Records Coordinator works with the Head of CAM and other CAM faculty to establish MARC production goals, standards, and priorities for CAM faculty and support staff.
OPAC Records Coordinator arranges training and support for CAM cataloging personnel who are taking on new responsibilities.
Head of CAM and E-resource Librarian identify support staff who will assist in managing e-resource access points.
E-resource Librarian trains support staff who will assist in managing e-resource access points.