The NOVELNY Program : Meeting Minutes
background vertical lines

Meeting Minutes

June 26, 2002
10:30-3:00 PM
NYLINK Office, Albany

Persons in attendance: Dottie Hiebing, Diana Cunningham, Janet Welch, Jeff Cannell, Jerry Nichols, Soumaya Baaklini, Mary Brink, Carol Desch, Marilyn Douglas, Loretta Ebert, Sara Kelly Johns, Mary-Alice Lynch, Cara Janowsky, Susan Keitel, Sara McCain, John Meierhoffer, John Shaloiko, David Walsh, Charles McMorran, Mary Redmond, Mary Elizabeth Jones, Elizabeth Closson.

Dottie Hiebing called the meeting to order at 10:35 and welcomed the group. She thanked Mary-Alice Lynch, Carol Donato and NYLINK for help getting the meeting organized. Members introduced themselves. Ms. Hiebing said NOVEL-SC is active and many folks have had conversation via this means.

MINUTES: Minutes were reviewed by committee members. Diana Cunningham suggested adding "National" to the designation Library of Medicine. Mr. Nichols made a motion - with noted change - to approve the Minutes. Mr. Cannell seconded. Minutes were unanimously approved.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: Ms. Hiebing reminded the Steering Committee of the Rules of Engagement. She suggested members take 1 or 2 to keep in mind when working in groups.

Ms. Hiebing introduced Mrs. Welch.

Mrs. Welch said she would update on funding for state library, what is happening w/NOVEL and what the State Library can do to support the Steering Committee. She drew attention to a background piece of info from a local paper in attachments. The article concerned a shift of funding for the Office of Cultural Education from the State Education Department. Revenues would be received from county fee filings. Funding of libraries in New York State would remain funded in same way - this is strictly state operations funding. There is to be a shift to a new source of revenue with assurance that money from fees will be adequate to fund current operations of OCE and, actually, may increase. There is also considerable interest in the Governor's office to strengthen the State Museum and update exhibits. The Research Library itself may be renovated. Unfortunately, this new funding source "sunsets" in 3 years; funding after that is questionable. In SED, there is a hiring freeze that affects our ability to work effectively. The organizational structure will remain the same, only the funding source has changed.

Diana Cunningham asked for a summary of how many vacant positions the library has. Ms. Desch said Library Development lost one person and had permission to fill five positions before freeze. Ms. Redmond said Public Services was down eight; Collection Management was down one; Talking Book and Braille Library was down seven.

Concerning the selection of databases, Mrs. Welch said that selection of databases was a follow-up of recommendations made by an advisory group that preceded this group. All databases are still funded with LSTA funds. Without reauthorization, LSTA will not continue after this year. Mrs. Welch also urged continuing advocacy for New Century Libraries, which is a fundamental funding source. There is new Federal money for education, which includes libraries as partners in funding. We also need to work with other parts of the State Education Department for other revenue sources to fund databases.

Concerning the marketing effort for NOVEL, there has been a marked increase in the use (3700 libraries signed up). We need to investigate ways to work with public and media so that they understand that databases are free now but will eventually cost money. She added that Jeff Cannell was part of a program with Commissioner Mills on leadership. A Regents' press conference with Chancellor Bennett was scheduled for last week with a hands-on demonstration of NOVEL. This press conference has been postponed until September.

Mrs. Welch turned discussion to the State Library as support to the Steering Committee. She added that staff are available to assist the Steering Committee, i.e., research, reports, other state studies, resource staff on technology/policy level. etc. She cautioned, however, that this is not something we can just "do." Mrs. Welch asked that if the Steering Committee feels it needs a resource to move forward, the whole group decides what is needed to get it done. Mr. Nichols said he has a core issue, that of "steering an empty ship." He added NOVEL is a "shell" idea, and sees his role as getting something done. Mr. Nichols asked if this committee should develop strategies to implement NOVEL independent of the State Library, since there is no money from the State to implement NOVEL. He added that for the next few years, database funding could come from us putting money together in the spirit of cooperation. Should we develop strategies for EmpireLink independent of any vision of the State Library. When staff dries up who will run it? Mr. Nichols said he is not supportive of an outside organization taking it over but we need consistency in the field. Mrs. Welch said we would hurt ourselves if we do anything independently.

Ms. Hiebing outlined action she would like to see taken in break out sessions.

Ms. Hiebing requested that those who reported out at last meeting to be temporary conveners this morning with the understanding that permanent conveners need to be appointed. One very large group, the database group, should have co-conveners. When considering those for convener, please consider the person's willingness to serve, their ability to help the small group succeed, their credibility (can they deal with all issues, including the political ones) and someone who will make it possible for your group to make a decision. Secondly, the groups should consider involvement from the field and how each group will receive feedback. Ms. Hiebing suggested open forums and online surveys as alternatives to advisory committees. The major responsibility for NOVEL lies within this Steering Committee. We should gain input as needed but not delegate our responsibility.

Committee broke into smaller groups and reconvened at 12:15 for small group report-out.

PORTAL GROUP (John Meierhoffer, Sara McCain): Mr. Meierhoffer agreed to serve as convener. Concerning input from field, the group is still struggling with the scope of what this initiative involves. They will pursue some recommendations to get experts in to give better idea of what "portal" means and interpretations of how that term might apply to NOVEL. In that context he sees experts talking to a sub group and other interested parties in the library community to formulate models of what portals might be, including cost and support implications. Mr. Meierhoffer said they would then go out into the field to have them understand what different alternatives might be available. He added this could be supplemented by user surveys to see if we are hitting the mark on how this interface would be received by those eventually using it. Based on this feedback, the group would create a specific plan on how portal solutions will be implemented. Ms. Hiebing asked who these experts would be. Mr. Shaloiko said Mary Jackson from ARL is doing a scholars' portal. Mr. Meierhoffer suggested State Education Department technology groups and some folks working on EMSC projects.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORE GROUP (Charles McMorran, Marilyn Douglas): Mr. McMorran agreed to serve as convener. Ms. Douglas said the group additionally included Carey Hatch, Christie Frost-Wendlowsky, Bill Crumlish, Tom Alrutz, Susan Keitel. Mr. McMorran said one of things discussed was the need for 2 types of people: those within the library world and those with more telecommunications expertise. At some future point we need to draw in technical types. They also talked about information content "What is the lay of the land?" We have telecommunications issues in the city vs. rural areas, etc. Mr. McMorran mentioned the possibility of a web-based survey, opening up to a broad audience and gaining their feedback on telecommunication issues in their areas. We want to get picture of what is going on around the state and also see if there are point people in various parts of the state we can call on to participate in a larger group to really inform our deliberations. We could then bring in experts to suggest the best ways to address those issues. Mr. McMorran stated we need to pursue public / private partnerships. Ms. Keitel said Wayne Cornelius of the Public Service Commission could be contacted. We should also look at alternative revenue sources for library telecommunication resources. A library telecommunication network might be created from telecommunications surcharges.

DIGITIZATION OF INFORMATION RESOURCES (Diana Cunningham, Mary Redmond): Ms. Cunningham agreed to serve as convener. Ms. Cunningham said they need to proceed as quickly as possible to get a group together. We need "worker bees" and a proposed plan to get started. Ms. Cunningham said after brainstorming and looking at representation mentioned in April Minutes, a group of individuals should represent the NYS Library (Mary Redmond); NYS Archives (Kathleen Roe); medical library (Diane Cunningham); Association of Research Libraries; Public library system; School Library System/3R's; high tech "know-bot"; and private sector expertise. These people would serve as an advisory group. Ms. Cunningham proposed that those on this group would have specific knowledge and/or commitment to the goals. Ms. Cunningham also indicated that in order to find these people, listservs could be accessed.

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES (John Shaloiko, 12 persons): Mr. Shaloiko agreed to serve as convener. Mr. Shaloiko said there was a difference of opinion concerning a co-convener and the group will discuss this with absent members before a decision is made. The group came to consensus there was a need for a separate advisory group and discussed their role. How the group would be formed and its continuation will be refined. They discussed the importance of going beyond state-funded links; if the money comes in, fine, if not, the need to recognize group input for volume discount is important.

Ms. Hiebing explained that the committee would break into smaller groups again to continue discussion on their plan. The Group will gather together again to report out on outcomes expected by December, next steps and what help might be needed from the entire committee.

Committee broke into smaller groups and reconvened at 1:50 for small group report-out.


  • Major outcomes expected by December 2002 will be:
    • Poll group for continued participation and their potential contributions.
    • Follow up on Susan Keitel's recommendation to contact Public Service Commission for information.
    • Marilyn Douglas will get information from the Gates Foundation on their "Staying Connected" grant opportunity.
    • Investigate possibility of technical survey from either New York or other state.
    • Survey preliminaries -
      • determine what information we need to know
      • design
      • test survey
      • release survey to broad audience
  • Next Steps:
    • Collect data
    • Analyze data
    • Review state infrastructure re: funding proposal
    • Provide and share information on technology solutions available from vendor/experts via seminars
    • Share seminar time with other NOVEL advisory groups
  • Need Help with:
    • Testing survey

Ms. Hiebing asked for information on seminars. Mr. McMorran suggested we broaden our knowledge of library telecommunication needs at a statewide level.


  • Major outcomes expected by December 2002 will be:
    • August 2002-will have distributed an e-mail solicitation to identify interested individuals, system products or projects that should be a component in the draft NY digitization plan.
    • October 2002-will have contacted or participated in at least 9 library and/or archival meetings at which open forum seminars would better assess existence/status of digitization/archival projects in New York.
    • December 2002-will have designated a library advisory group member(s) to complete a summary document of national digitization projects and funding sources.
    • December 2002-will draft a preliminary needs assessment and identify existing plans, expertise and/or projects.
  • Next Steps:
    • Develop comprehensive list of potential listservs
    • Finalize wording of e-mail message and questions-
      • What are you doing (describe in some detail)?
      • Who are the participants?
      • How is it accessible?
      • What are the biggest challenges?
      • If you had it to do over, what would you change?
      • Given the broad scope of "digitization", what does it mean to you?
      • Can you refer us to contacts or projects?
  • Need Help with:
    • All of the above

PORTAL Mr. Meierhoffer reported.

  • Major outcomes expected by December 2002 will be:
    • Identify informed/interested parties to hear "experts"and develop alternative portal approaches ("Portal Interest Group" - dozen or so people)
    • Identify "experts" and arrange for them to make presentation(s) to Portal Interest group and lead discussions.
    • Based on presentations and discussions, the Interest group (with expert review) will develop a summary paper that describes approaches to portal creation most applicable to NOVEL.
  • Survey After December 2002:
    • Present summary document to focus groups (library staff and librarians). Seek to build consensus around a given approach or combination of approaches.
    • Prototype - test concepts; use as marketing tool with legislature and governor.
    • Implement and deploy.
  • Next Steps:
    • Prepare problem statement that provides the interest group members with ideas of what NOVEL portal needs.
  • Need Help With:
    • Suggestions for participants in the Portal Interest Group
    • Suggestions for experts on portal development

Ms. Hiebing asked for comments or questions. Mr. Shaloiko said Mary Jackson and ARL colleagues selected portal software for their ARL portal. ARL did a survey of 26 possible vendors; the final selection made by ARL for the Scholar's Portal is Fretwell Downing Informatics. Mr. Meierhoffer asked for any information, i.e. handouts. Ms. Hiebing asked if Mary Jackson could provide resource information. Mr. Shaloiko said she is a consultant to ARL, a project coordinator, but might be willing. Ms. Kelly John mentioned "Access Pennsylvania" portal. Mary-Alice Lynch will put together a list of portal information resources including addresses and post to the NOVEL SC list adding that the ARL portal is in the infancy stage. Ms. Hiebing said she has a list of tapes from ALA and portal information may be included in them.

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES Mr. Shaloiko reported.

  • Major outcomes expected by December 2002 will be:
    • August 2002-survey by type of library to identify the prioritized databases, content categories and format types. We want to have results of a survey of 5 top databases and priorities that libraries of different types would like. Top 5 of libraries and what format libraries of different types are looking for. This would be the beginning of a sense of what is out there. Cara Janowsky will see if the state library has web based software to design the survey.
    • December 2002-articulate a statewide collection development process and policy for electronic resources.
  • Next steps:
    • Further discussion at subsequent meetings will decide on the need for a role of a separate electronic advisory group.

Mr. Shaloiko would write first version of the survey then contact the group electronically.

Ms. Lynch said there were many types of surveys; electronic surveys are less burdensome to respondees. Ms Hiebing suggested using listservs for the survey. Mr. Nichols did not want 700+ libraries to do that. Ms. Hiebing suggested NYLINE; Mr. Shaloiko agreed but added some groups might need other means of communication.

Ms. Desch clarified that these surveys should only come from the committee as a whole.

Ms. Hiebing asked the committee for final comments. She stated that a substantial amount of work was done. Ms. Hiebing then asked the group for comments to improve the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 2:50.

The next meeting is scheduled for August 14, 2002.