February 21, 2011 Meeting of Administrative Council

Time and Location of Meeting

February 21, 20111:30 pm - 3:00 pm 428 Library

Agenda Details


1)      Potential changes in staff job classifications from AP to Civil Service (Cindy Kelly)

2)      Recent IT problems (Peggy Steele, Jason Strutz, Bill Mischo?) — see Beth Sandore’s message dated 2/17/2011

3)      Budget update

4)      Opening hours – on hold – see Scott Walter’s message sent today

Minutes Details


Scott Walter, David Ward, Tina Chrzastowski, Tom Teper, Lisa Romero, Greg Youngen, Gil Witte, Caroline Szylowicz, Mary Laskowski, Marek Sroka, Scott Schwartz, Cindy Kelly, Jason Strutz, Lee Galaway, Peggy Steele, Bill Mischo


1.    Potential changes in staff job classifications from AP to Civil Service (Kelly)

Walter and Kelly provided an overview of current campus discussions of moving AP positions on the Urbana campus into Civil Service classifications; a result of concerns raised at the Chicago campus regarding appropriate classification of staff positions. Kelly reviewed existing guidelines used to exempt a position from Civil Service classification and the process by which positions are reviewed by Staff Human Resources and Academic Human Resources for classification either as Civil Service of Academic Professional.

Walter, Kelly, and Strutz discussed a meeting they had attended between representatives of campus Human Resources units and campus IT professionals, noting that the Urbana campus has “no plans to convert current AP positions to civil service at this time.” Kelly noted that this atmosphere of strict review of all open positions may make it more of a challenge to have a search approved for an Academic Professional position than has been the case in the past, and also that a pilot program is currently underway meant to encourage greater use of available Civil Service classifications in areas such as Information Technology.

Schwartz asked what advantage there was to an employee in either classification. Kelly noted that there are benefits to both classifications. Teper noted that a discussion of this issue at another meeting had suggested that the number of Academic Professional positions reviewed at Chicago was substantially greater than those reviewed at Urbana. Kelly noted that this was a result of effective review processes long in place for all open positions at Urbana, and that our focus during this transitional period will be on continuing to make the best case for Academic Professional positions in the Library.

2.    Recent IT problems (Steele, Strutz, Galaway, Mischo)

[Pre-meeting note: Sandore sent a LIBNEWS message on this topic on February 17, 2011]

Strutz stated that all recent IT problems experienced by the Library are related, and proceeded to explain each by area.

Website: Software architecture is the underlying problem. Some applications are essential, and some are just nice to have. If one application runs amok, it monopolizes resources and other applications shut down. The solution is to redesign the architecture. To do this will require input from various groups including AC. There is a cost vs. function dynamic to consider. Youngen asked about Voyager; Steele responding that it’s run by CARLI, so the client application remains operating when our web is down, however the web applications are affected. Mischo said EasySearch is the main web use tied to Voyager.

G drive issue: Strutz explained how hardware architecture underlies these issues. The tape drive no longer works and our storage needs have grown by ten times in the last couple years, a much greater rate of increase than expected. Our storage area network (SAN) uses 4TB of file server space. When we run out of space, the system fails. Early last fall we knew we were approaching the limit of SAN space, and started working with CITES to move forward with other options. Groupfiles was moved first, maintaining and testing a dual system for a month, then went to single set on the CITES server. Due to problems in January, Groupfiles was moved back to our SAN. About a year ago 96TB of storage was purchased from SUN, and is being used mainly for backup. IDEALS is a shared endeavor–we want to keep it that way. G drive and H drive both live on the SAN, so moving files from one to the other doesn’t help solve the space issue.

Backups: Strutz stated that once we knew the tape drive was dying, we looked into disc storage. 96TB is needed for backup space, or 16TB if using pointers for duplicate files. When the backup is finalized through CITES, we will free up 80TB on our SAN. Tom Habing is working on Medusa, a hardware refresh option. Our cost is 25K/yr maintenance on the SAN, which will need to be replaced at some point. Groupfiles have a good back up, but not all digitized materials.

A discussion ensued about how to determine priorities. The highest priority level is a 24-7 standard which is only guaranteed at the Chicago campus at this time. We can’t have everything on that level, so must determine service priorities. Steele said the Help Desk web page has a list of service priorities to work from. Priority also depends upon relationships between functions. The back-end connection relationship between the G-drive and H-drive was mentioned as a good example.

Chrzastowski asked if this issue is appropriate for CAPT to address. Mischo reiterated the importance of cost-benefit relationships as criteria, especially if a problem only comes up infrequently. Steele said Sandore needs to be in this conversation and asked what mechanisms are needed for input. Presenting a background on the architecture that explain what affects what would be useful in this discussion.

Walter said this needs to be put into terms of accessed functions, to have an idea of what systems and software are necessary to make things happen if we are to get input from non-IT folks.

Strutz stated that CITES was not the only possibility for hosting, that we are looking at AITS and outside vendors such as Google.

Witte wanted to know what we were doing about files left by retired employees. Walter and Steele described current policies and practices in regard to employees retrieving files from Library servers.

CAPT and its Next Gen working group have been looking at future solutions, and will be writing a white paper on pros and cons of different systems. These systems sit on top of Voyager, so CARLI will need to work with whatever we choose.

3.    Budget Group update (Walter)

Walter provided a rough calendar of Budget Group activities for the remainder of FY11.

GA Decisions: Budget Group has completed its initial review of requests. Decisions should be communicated to the Library by the end of February. An open meeting with Rae-Anne Montague (Assistant Dean, GSLIS) has been scheduled for March 3rd to provide feedback on the “GSLIS GA” program piloted this year.

Annual Budget Report: Budget Group is preparing the Library’s Annual Report and FY12 Budget Request for discussion with the Office of the Provost on March 17th. .

Summer Grad Hourlies: Budget Group has received Grad Hourly requests, and hopes to communicate decisions to the Library by the end of March.

Library IT Fee proposals: Budget Group has prepared the first draft of the FY12 Fee proposals, and these have been discussed with the Senate Committee on the Library. A final draft will be prepared in advance of the March SCL meeting, and discussed with the Library Executive Committee. The schedule of meetings for the Library/IT Fee Advisory Committee has not been set, but these will likely take place in March and April.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00pm.

Meeting notes by Chris Johns

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