The NOVELNY Program : Meeting Minutes
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Meeting Minutes

NOVEL Steering Committee
Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM, East Greenbush Community Library

Present: Baaklini, Barraco, Bolton, Desch, Doll, Duncan, Ebert, Ericson, Howe, Janowsky, Katzin, Klose, Krupczak, Kuntz, Little, Lynch, McCain, McDonald, Storms, Todd, Tuliao

Absent: Borges, Hatch, Huxley, Kaplan, Knight, Redmond, Roe, Stripling, Walsh, Welch

Recorder: Deitz

Welcome to New Members/Approval of January 12 Minutes-Randy Ericson

Mr. Ericson welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly our newest members:

  • Carol A. Doll, Professor and Department Chair, University at Albany;
  • Nancy Howe, Assistant Director, Central New York Library Resources Council;
  • Sheryl Katzin, Electronic Resources Specialist, Brooklyn Public Library;
  • Robyn Klose, Manager of Electronic Resources and Services, Nassau Library System;
  • Christine McDonald, Director, Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls;
  • Miriam Tuliao, Coordinator of Adult and Reference Services, The New York Public Library; and
  • Loretta C. Ebert, Director, New York State Research Library. Loretta has a background as a leader in various academic libraries, most recently Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a number of years working with groups of academic libraries to negotiate database contracts.

The minutes of the January 12, 2006, conference call were unanimously approved. The agenda was changed as follows: Liza Duncan's morning report on the NOVEL Portal was moved to the afternoon session and Carol Desch's afternoon report on 2006 National Library Week events was moved to the morning session.

Report on Budget and Legislation-Carol Desch

Ms. Desch extended greetings and thanks from State Librarian Janet Welch. Ms. Welch and Commissioner Mills are meeting with the Educational Conference Board today about NOVEL and other library priorities. The Legislature passed a budget with $19.75 million more for libraries: $14 million for public library construction/renovation; $3 million for library systems; and $2.75 million to fully fund library aid formulas in Education Law, using the 2000 Census, with a hold harmless provision. The Executive has ten days in which to consider the Legislature's budget.

Although there is a growing knowledge about NOVEL in the Legislature and Executive, no State funds were provided for NOVEL in the 2006-07 State budget. NOVEL Steering Committee members pointed out that while the need for funding for public library construction/renovation is easy for the Legislature to understand, especially when shown pictures of deteriorating library buildings, some legislators still struggle with understanding the impact and the significant value of NOVEL to over 5,000 libraries. Steve Bolton mentioned that there may be a lack of funding because the legislators know that NOVEL is federally funded through LSTA, and asked how we can move the conversation beyond this. Carol noted that LSTA funding is temporary and may not be available or available at the same level in the future. Because of a cut to library funding in 2004-05, New York anticipates a $500,000 cut in federal LSTA funds in 2007-08, which will impact NOVEL and the databases. In order for NOVEL to grow and be sustained, it needs permanent State funding.

Gail Barraco recommended New York State compare itself to what other states are doing with statewide database programs and research funding levels in other states. Gail recommended that the NOVEL Steering Committee be more proactive in its communication with Legislators and the Executive.

NOVEL and 2006 National Library Week-Carol Desch

The Legislature and the New York Library Association (NYLA) partnered with the State Library in a National Library Week event in Albany to focus attention on libraries. Displays of NOVEL programs and services were featured on April 4-5 in the Well of the Legislative Office Building and on the Concourse Level of the Empire State Plaza. In addition to the State Library and NYLA, several library systems and individual libraries from across the State had displays. Senator Farley and Assemblywoman Eddington's offices held National Library Week kickoff events. State Library staff demonstrated NOVEL databases for legislative staff.

NOVEL Steering Committee Membership-Randy Ericson

Mr. Ericson referred to the January 12, 2006 minutes where the new policy on filling NOVEL Steering Committee vacancies was cited. "The move to less frequent Steering Committee meetings and increased transition of members to new jobs has caused the State Library to propose that vacancies on the Steering Committee be filled through an annual process rather than as each opening occurs. The State Librarian will appoint people to the Steering Committee during the Fall, a process similar to what is now in place for appointment of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries' members. Steering Committee members will serve staggered, three year terms." John Shaloiko recently resigned from the Steering Committee and NECAT due to other duties.

Driver License Access Press Launch-Loretta Ebert

The option of using a New York State driver license or non-driver license ID to access NOVEL databases via the NOVEL portal interface ( has been available for several months. The State Library worked with the State Education Department's (SED) Communication Office to provide an exclusive to AP reporter, Michael Gormley, who sent it out on the AP wire statewide in March. The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and Press and Sun Bulletin, local TV stations and their web sites, radio stations and the ALA web site picked up the AP article. The statistics the week after the AP article were astounding: 350,000 in a matter of days (See handout: "Number of Searches Through WebFeat Driver's License Interface.") Representatives from Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Utah contacted the State Library for information about driver license access. (Michigan is the only state, other than New York State, to offer Driver License Access.)

State Library staff met with the reporter via a conference call. Mary Woodward, NYSL, led the reporter through an online NOVEL demo, putting in his name and pulling up articles he authored. Promotion kits about Driver License Access for public, school and academic libraries are available on the State Library's NOVEL web site, Questions from reporters may be referred to Valerie Chevrette, NYSL Communications Office, (518 474-5961 or

Christine McDonald suggested that the State Library explore with DMV the possibility of including literature about NOVEL in driver license renewal notices.

NOVEL Statewide Education and Information Program-Linda Todd

Several years ago, the Steering Committee recommended launching a Statewide Education and Information Program for NOVEL that local libraries could tie into. Recently, the State Library contracted with the Ivy Group, which has extensive experience working with libraries and developing education and information programs. The Ivy Group met with representatives of the State Library on March 27. They will attend a future Steering Committee meeting. If members of the Steering Committee would like to help with this three-year project, involving mostly conference calls and one or two face-to-face meetings in Albany, please contact Linda.

LSTA Five-Year Evaluation-Sara McCain

The State Library now has a one-year contract-starting April 1-with Himmel and Wilson from Wisconsin to conduct an independent evaluation of the NOVEL program. The first phone call with them on April 3 covered their work plan, existing data and how to get new data. Himmel and Wilson will use a web survey and focus groups, followed by in-depth interviews by telephone or face to face. They will use contacts and interviews to begin to develop a list of direct NOVEL users. The State Library will provide Himmel and Wilson with lists of present and past NOVEL Steering Committee members. The web surveys will start fairly quickly in order to reach the schools before the end of the school year. Himmel and Wilson will visit all regions of the state. State Librarian Janet Welch will be notifying the library community about both the NOVEL Statewide Education and Information Program and the NOVEL evaluation. The Himmel and Wilson contract is for one year-April 2006-March 2007-while the NOVEL Statewide Education and Information Program is a three-year project.

Revising the NOVEL-Ready Libraries Levels Table-Linda Todd

New York State is one of the few states that has technology standards for its libraries. The NOVEL-Ready Library standards are used as an advocacy tool by many libraries around the State. Libraries can download certificates and customize them from the State Library's web page, "NOVEL-Ready Library Services" ( The 30 responses to last summer's survey about updating the levels were very thoughtful and had detailed suggestions. (Linda will email the responses to NOVEL Steering Committee members.) Members of the Steering Committee that would like to be part of an advisory team to review the submitted responses and revise the standards, should contact Linda. Linda also requested suggestions of names of people in the library community who would be interested in advising on this short-term project. The project will involve one or two conference calls and a revised draft copy of the criteria that would be reviewed at a future Steering Committee meeting.

Proposed Program of High-end Databases-Loretta Ebert

Ms. Ebert began by describing the background of how New York State academic libraries have tried to manage licensing electronic resources. The early stages can best be described as a "distributed" effort: NYLINK, WALDO, SUNY, NERL, Pi2, and the Oberlin Group were all organizations dealing with the effort to create affordable licensing for databases. Once a certain level of product tailored to the academic/professional market was reached, negotiations were harder for the smaller groups. There still exists an opportunity for further cost savings through aggregation.

The New York Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) evolved out of this environment. It has been in existence two years. NYSHEI's membership has two priority goals at this time: to create a single voice to advocate for academic libraries and to obtain statewide licensing for high-end databases. NYSHEI has developed a legislative agenda to this end.

NOVEL's early focus was on an initial offering of general databases meant to bring all New Yorkers a solid common information base. The New Century Libraries legislative proposal called CACHE (Coordinated Academic Collection for Higher Education) would provide funds for high-end databases as a component of NOVEL. Ms. Ebert asked the group: With respect to NOVEL, how should the State Library proceed in making room for the inclusion of research-level databases?

A lively discussion followed this introduction. Points made are presented below:

  • There was strong concern registered by both school and public library representatives that trying to add high-end databases would dilute the already limited funds available for NOVEL databases. (If we can't afford an encyclopedia for children, how can we consider adding research-level databases?)
  • Outreach to the academic market could potentially muddy further a program already somewhat unclear to its current broad-base constituents. Encyclopedias and general materials in non-English languages are more critical needs.
  • There is a certain level of sentiment among public libraries that academics already get disproportionate State aid. Conversely, academic libraries point to State aid for public libraries and systems and the lack of aid for libraries in academia.
  • NYLINK has gotten better deals for schools because of the inclusion of the academic market in their negotiations with vendors. There can be synergy and benefit for all here.
  • Comparisons with other states suggest that we may all be overpaying for databases. The more we cooperate, the stronger our position.
  • When vendors negotiate for a product they are anxious to sell, there is often an opportunity to obtain a more limited subject database at little or no cost as an incentive. This may serve a niche segment of our total libraries very well.
  • Ask each type of library to identify a few databases that could be considered their "core".
  • NOVEL may not be the right program to attempt to unify all libraries' database needs. What are the alternatives? On the other hand, the prospect of funding for NOVEL could certainly be diluted by a competing higher education advocacy initiative for high-end databases in the legislature.
  • Providing research-level materials could serve to strengthen the NOVEL program by making it attractive to more potential vendors and funders.

Review of NOVEL Initiatives-Loretta Ebert

Ms. Ebert led a discussion of the five major NOVEL Initiatives developed in 2001 and detailed in the report, "NOVEL: New York Online Virtual Electronic Library: Libraries Expanding Information Access for New Yorkers in the New Century." Ms. Ebert asked Steering Committee members to discuss progress made and whether the initiatives are still relevant in 2006.

Initiative I: Increase Access to Electronic Resources on a Statewide Basis.

  • NOVEL databases have received the largest share of attention. Growing use and broad participation by over 5,000 libraries is a measure of the program's success.
  • The reaction to Driver License Access has been mixed across the state. It has brought attention to NOVEL, but has also been perceived as a threat by some libraries.

Initiative II: Expand Resource Sharing in New York State to Improve Electronic and Traditional Access to Library Resources for All Users.

  • This has not been a priority for the NOVEL SC recently. It included the concepts of a statewide union catalog and statewide delivery service. Questions to consider: How would a union catalog or statewide delivery service affect the ease of resource sharing in the state? Have the changes in WorldCat and the ability to use Z39.50 to link catalogs mitigated the need for a statewide catalog or do we see these same changes as making it easier to achieve?
  • The situation with statewide delivery is akin to our earlier discussion of consortial licensing. There are a variety of options in New York State. NYLINK offers LAND, some of the 3Rs have regional courier services, and public and school library systems also have delivery services. An upcoming national conference bringing together organizations involved in statewide delivery and the current pilot project between NYLINK and the Rochester Regional Library Council are both worth watching.
  • The Steering Committee could play a role in this initiative as a facilitator of the current "players," gathering information on the results of events such as the two mentioned above, and assessing interest in the topic among their constituents.

Initiative III: Develop a Coordinated Program for the Digitization of Information Resources in New York Libraries and Other Repositories.

  • We want to avoid duplication or replication and determine how to make digitization available in a consistent way across the state-a central repository?
  • The Research Library is moving forward with digitization in partnership with the State Archives. The material is in their Digital Media Management System (Hyperion).
  • Primary documents, often targeted for digitization, are in high demand for mandated DBQ (document-based questions) assignments in schools.
  • NOVEL could serve as a clearinghouse/public space for digitization projects done within the State.

Initiative IV: Enhance the Availability of High-Speed Telecommunications for New York's Libraries Across All Regions of the State.

  • State Library Staff attended a State Education Department-sponsored meeting on March 31, 2006 to assess the state of broadband access in New York State. Educational institutions, NYSERnet, NYeNet, libraries, and Public Broadcasting, were represented. The group identified some of the issues and gaps in coverage across the state. They hope to use GIS mapping to identify unserved areas. This may be an opportunity for NOVEL Steering Committee members to articulate the need for broadband access for libraries, or to talk about service or capacity in their geographic region. What do libraries spend on access? NOVEL databases and other digital content libraries offer need a comprehensive, affordable, high-speed telecommunication infrastructure.

Initiative V: Develop a NOVEL User Interface (or Portal) that Integrates the Services and Resources Brought Together Under NOVEL.

  • The Portal Project with federated searching is an attempt to make NOVEL easier to access and more user friendly. Evaluation of Phase One of the pilot was positive, but participants would like to integrate their local resources with NOVEL for federated search. Phase Two will combine NOVEL with an individual library's own subscribed databases.
  • The discussion then moved to the importance of branding NOVEL. Many libraries do not identify NOVEL on their web site. It is hard to gauge use of and support for NOVEL when people don't know they are using NOVEL. There was a suggestion of branding on an article level; e.g., "This was brought to you from NOVEL." Having the branding occur at the point a query is satisfied has more impact than just having the logo on the front end (branding at the answer, not the question).
  • The Portal could eventually serve as a gateway to digital content created by our institutions.

NECAT (NOVEL Electronic Collection Advisory Team) -Randy Ericson

  • Guidelines for NOVEL Database Evaluation Group

    Mr. Ericson referred to the handout, "Guidelines for NOVEL Database Evaluation Group" and discussed two issues: (1) NECAT thought it would be helpful to have front line people who provide the services help evaluate databases. (2) NECAT would like to be better prepared to respond if new funds become available or as renewal decisions arise. NECAT would like to establish the group and get the work of evaluation structured on a regular, ongoing basis. The group will advise NECAT, who will consider and make recommendations to the State Librarian. The group would be structured with each of the three library system groups (NY3Rs, PULISDO, and SLSA) recommending three persons each.

    Note: The first sub-bullet in the handout was revised to read:

    • "The people recommended will be direct service providers (or librarians), especially knowing library users' electronic resource needs."

  • NECAT Membership

    NECAT members originally represented each of the system types, plus a Steering Committee member, and several people from the State Library. NECAT is advisory to the State Librarian. Current members are Gail Barraco (SLS), Jerry Kuntz (PLS) and Randy Ericson (SC); there is a vacancy due to John Shaloiko's resignation; therefore, Randy will ask the convener of the NY3Rs to recommend a replacement. Currently, all NECAT members are also members of the Steering Committee.

Structure of Steering Committee Meetings-Randy Ericson

At this meeting, the members did not divide into separate groups to address Electronic Collections and the Portal. With several new members, discussion of items by the whole group seemed preferable. As new or continuing initiatives require focused development, we can return to the small group format. Please contact Randy with any comments on the structure of Steering Committee meetings; specifically, the suspension of the small group discussions effective this meeting.

NOVEL Portal-Liza Duncan

Phase 2 of the NOVEL Portal/Federated Searching Pilot Project will start in a couple of months. The State Library is still negotiating with WebFeat-with a timeframe of one year for this phase. Four libraries out of the 13 pilot libraries-one each from academic, public, school and system-will be selected. The purpose of the pilot is to develop a workable business model so local libraries can incorporate their online catalog, web site and subscribed databases into the federated search with NOVEL. The current vendor, WebFeat, has agreements with 99.5 percent of the vendors.

2006 NYLA Conference-Maribeth Krupczak

NYLA Conference-Saratoga Springs-November 1-4, 2006.

  • NOVEL Program: The focus will be on the portal pilot project. The Ivy Group may do something on the Statewide Education and Information Program. Please contact Maribeth with other suggestions.
  • NOVEL Poster Session: The submission deadline is April 30. The display is likely to feature driver license access, something from the Statewide Education and Information Program and possibly the NOVEL evaluation. If you have other ideas to highlight, please contact Maribeth. Volunteers from the Steering Committee are welcome! The poster session will be on Saturday in a 45-minute timeslot. Contact Maribeth to volunteer.

***** Speakers Bureau Update *****




Fall 2005 ENY/ACRL Poster Session, Hamilton College

Cara Janowsky

October 2005 Orange Business Expo

Jerry Kuntz

November 2005 NYLINK Showcase Poster Session

Nancy Howe
Maribeth Krupczak

Spring 2006 NYLINK Connections article

Maribeth Krupczak

March 24, 2006 Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Business Show-NOVEL Booth in Conjunction w/OCPL

Nancy Howe

April- November 2006 10 Workshops around the State incorporating NOVEL into the Rural Library Sustainability Project-Estimated 500 people will be trained.

Linda Todd

April 2006 National Library Week Display, Empire State Plaza

Cara Janowsky/
Kate Storms

April 27-28, 2006 SLMS Conference

Linda Todd

May 5 and 6, 2006 NYSALB Trustee Institute and Display

Janet Welch
Carol Desch

Ongoing Training for Legislative Staff

Loretta Ebert
Kate Storms

***** Action Items *****

  • If members of the Steering Committee would like to help with the three-year project, the Statewide Education and Information Program, involving mostly conference calls and one or two face-to-face meetings in Albany, please contact Linda at
  • Linda will send the responses to last summer's survey on NOVEL-Ready Library Services to everyone electronically.
  • Members of the Steering Committee that would like to be part of an advisory team to review the submitted responses on NOVEL-Ready Library Services and revise the program should contact Linda at . Linda also requested suggestions of names of people in the library community who would be interested in advising on this short-term project.
  • Randy will ask the convener of the NY3Rs to recommend a replacement for John Shaloiko on the Steering Committee.
  • Please contact Randy with any comments on the structure of Steering Committee meetings; specifically, the suspension of the small group discussions effective this meeting ( ).
  • If you have other topics for the NOVEL program at NYLA, please contact Maribeth at
  • If you have other ideas to highlight for the NOVEL Poster Session at NYLA, please contact Maribeth (
  • Contact Maribeth to volunteer time for staffing the NOVEL Poster Session ( .


Wednesday, June 14, 2006, Conference Call, 2 PM

The meeting adjourned at 2:45 PM.