University of California Libraries
NEXT-GENERATION TECHNICAL SERVICES:
SYNCING UP IS HARD TO DO
Martha Hruska, UC San Diego
ALA LLAMA SASS Meeting
June 29, 2013
University of California Libraries
• Ten campuses and the California Digital Library
• Eleven equal organizations with strong leaders
working together voluntarily, with no mandate, as a
• Campus library funding cuts averaged 20% since
2008-2009. These are not expected to be restored.
History of Collaboration
Melvyl catalog serves as the main access point to the collective UC
library materials, integrating the holdings information of the UC libraries as
if they were part of a single collection. In 2011, the UC Libraries moved the
central catalog to the OCLC WorldCat Local interface.
Remote storage: Current holdings at the Northern Regional Library Facility
(NRLF) in Richmond and the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF) at
UCLA total around 11 million volumes.
Shared licensed collections: The UC libraries act as a single entity in
developing a shared collection of licensed digital materials, which
significantly reduces the license cost and administrative overhead.
Shared Cataloging Program (SCP): Established in January 2000, the
program catalogs the UC shared, CDL-licensed electronic resources for all
of the UC campuses
• Estimated total backlogs: over 100,000 total
items (POT 6 2012 Report)
• Estimated special collections and archives
backlog: 13.5 miles (New Modes for Access
report, Sept 2010)
• 2011: 1.8 trillion GB (1.8 ZB) of data created,
more than doubling every 2 years (2011 IDC
Digital Universe Study)
“Success measured by... more
resources made more
discoverable, reduction in
UC NGTS Aims
• Collaborative Collection
• Collaborative Technical Services
• Collaborative Digital Initiatives
• Financial and Technical
Infrastructure for Collaboration
Collaborative Collection Development
POT 7 - Develop a system-wide view of collections and transform
collection development practices
Recommend strategies for
collecting traditional & non-
traditional digital collections
system-wide & multi-campus
Shared print agreements and
digitization projects inventoried
and documented 2012
Redefine the roles and
responsibilities of UC bibliographers
80 page report Spring 2013 under
Collaborative Technical Services
POT 2 – Transform Cataloging Practice
Implement consortial shelf-ready
Assessment report submitted, in
pilot testing Spring/Summer 2013
Define UC Cataloging
Completed and serving as basis
for collaborative cataloging work
Collaborative Technical Services
POT 5 – Maximize the Effectiveness of Shared Cataloging
Assess SCP record distribution Completed, confirmed value of
Shared Cataloging. Now a pilot
to extend to include contributions
from other campus(es)
Evaluate SCP decision-making
structure and priorities
Recommendations adopted and
implemented by Joint Steering
Collaborative Technical Services
POT 6 - Develop system-wide collections services staffing
Existing shared staffing
agreements and projects
Inventoried and new models
Existing and needed tools in
support of TS operations
Inventoried and collaborative
acquisitions now, i.e., Catalogers
Eliminate current backlogs Backlogs inventoried.
Audio CD’s now in process.
Hawthorne effect for CJK?
Identify models for shared
collection support services with
These will be taken up in new UC
Advisory Structure 2013
Collaborative Digital Initiatives
Submit DAMS requirements Defined
Investigate DAMS software
products: build vs acquire
DAMS Development underway
based on POT 1 LT reports
POT 1 – Build the system-wide infrastructure to support digitized
and born-digital collections
Collaborative Digital Initiatives
Deploy Archivists’ Toolkit system-
Completed - Adopted by HOSC,
to be continued as CKG
Define minimal collection record
Included in UC Bibliographic
Standards for Cooperative,
Vendor, and Campus Backlog
Implement More Product Less
Successfully implemented by UCI.
Documented in Guidelines for
Efficient Archival Processing
in the University of California
POT 3 – Accelerate processing of archival and manuscript
Financial and Technical Infrastructure of
Deposit account system Implemented and under ongoing
Library Financial Data Best
Adopted and in effect
SPOT 2 – Develop a stable
funding model for system-wide
Funding models for different
collaborative scenarios identified
and in process of adoption
SPOT 3 – Monitor national
developments in ERMS,
Databases of Record, ILS
Charge in process to assess
campus interest and conduct
updated environmental scan
POT 4 – Simplify the recharge process
Project Management Working Group
• 8 members; 1 assigned
per POT and overall PM
(Joan Starr, CDL)
• Recognition of significant
needs; NGTS multi-
• Document, share
resources and best
practices for project
management in UC
• Develop communication
plans to provide timely,
• Identify audience-specific
• Engage, broaden
our knowledge about
Photo courtesy of Bancroft Library
OBSTACLES & CHALLENGES
Lack of common technical infrastructure and overall willingness to develop or
Lack of common financial infrastructure
Lack of enough local incentives to collaborate vs continue to work at campus
Budget and staff reductions that affected participation and travel for face to face
Staff involvement due to staff reductions on campuses
Key stakeholders in current processes were asked to serve as change agents–
some could be especially resistant to the role.
Limitations of the System in which we work, need to balance local priorities with
what we can do collaboratively
Changes in libraries' leadership during the various phases of NGTS
UC Shared Cataloging Program already highly efficient
operation. Halting distribution of records would result in
higher costs rather than assumed savings gained
Identified gaps and areas of improvement
Communication processes; infrastructure
Developed common vocabulary and standards of practice
“Schedule recharges;” efficient processing guidelines; UC
Processes and structural definitions for collaboration
Understanding, application of project management practices
Expanding upon collaborative models as well as commons
standards and practices
Gained knowledge of operations, staffing, workflow at all of the
campuses through inventories, surveys, interviews Culture shift
Broadened the scope of technical services to include support for
all types of collections and resources.
Process improvements for systemwide projects
Project management templates and tools
Mechanism for tracking project assets during the projects.
• Sufficient planning early on is often key to a
successful shared service
• Timely communication keeps everyone on the same
page and helps clarify reporting mechanisms
• Stable funding is necessary to the viability of any
• Commitment and support of library administrators
• Changing culture takes time... And patience
With thanks to my NGTS Management Team colleagues:
Vicki Grahame, UC Irvine, Co-Chair
Susan Parker, UCLA
Elizabeth Cowell, UC Santa Cruz
Joan Starr, CDL, Project Management Team Chair
Emily Lin, UC Merced, Communications Manager
Notas do Editor
Next-Generation Technical Services (or NGTS) has been a multi-year, multi-phase initiative to transform, collectively, the UC Libraries’ operations to improve the effective and efficient delivery of information resources to our users. Many of you in the audience have likely heard something about this over the last few years. And some of you may have even participated, most notably, Brad Eden our moderator, played a key role. Having been significantly involved throughout the three phases, I appreciate the opportunity, as we are now ending this initiative, to reflect on how all the time and effort throughout our UC system did indeed help ‘Improve access and discovery through collaboration’. I will also include some UC context, discuss how we have moved through the different phases, and share thoughts on outcomes and lessons we, as a system, have learned.
Organizational transformation begins with an understanding of an organization’s current status or situation. Management experts often use the metaphor of biological evolution when speaking of organizational change, and of the need to examine an organization’s genetic make-up or DNA. The University of California system is unique in the world. It is comprised of 10 campuses, each of which, except for UCSF with its focus on medical research and education, are comprehensive research universities that confer undergraduate through doctoral degrees. The 10 campuses have been established over the course of over 125 years, from the opening of the first campus at Berkeley, to the newest campus at Merced in 2005. They span over 500 miles from the northernmost campus at Davis to the southernmost in San Diego. Each had a particular focus or mission when established, but have evolved to earn Carnegie Research Very High classification (Merced, as baby of the system, is on track to reach Carnegie High within the next decade). Each of the campuses has its own chancellor, provost, academic senate, and governance structure; financial, HR, and IT systems; but all fall under the umbrella of 1 office of the president for the system. UC serves 234k students, has over 200,000 faculty and staff, and over 1.5 million living alumni. It boasts an economic impact of generating over $46 billion in annual economic activity for California.
The UC libraries reflect the stature of their campuses. 7 of the libraries are members of ARL. Each library is essentially autonomous, as each UC campus is to an extent. We cooperate out of no formal mandate but out of acknowledgement of our interdependency and the benefits of collaboration. In this past half decade, however, the UC libraries have also faced significant external pressures. Funding support for some of the libraries has been reduced by as much as 25% over the last five years.
In the 1990s, UCOP established the California Digital Library, what we consider the 11th library in UC, to manage and deliver digital information resources and services for the system, including licensed e-resources, the Shared Cataloging Program, e-Scholarship, archiving of digital collections generated by the campus libraries, the union catalog Melvyl and ILL management system.CDL operations are supportedthrough different funding models: a combination of centralized funding and campus contributions.The system as a whole realizes significant benefits from these collective operations.
in the last decade in particular, there was a steady reduction in state funding support. State funding for UC has dropped significantly over the last four years. Rising tuition costs and external challenges to current models of higher ed and libraries, in particular, spurred focusing, a reexamination of the system’s operations, and initiatives for “working smarter.”Given the high value placed on collections and resources, most campuses have chosen to take these reductions in terms of staffing cuts and yet collections continued to grow with some of the results you can see here.These points speak to the impetus behind the original initiative. Given declining (or at best, flat) budgets, the University Librarians acknowledged the need for more systemwide attention to cooperate, to improve our technical services operations, and to realize efficiencies in order to keep up with the pace and range of the information resources that we need to curate.
In other words, the successful outcome of this initiative is summed up in more resources made more discoverable, and reduction in redundant work across the system.
In practice, the process of transformation takes time, even though for some of us it never seems to happen quickly enough. It has been over 4 years since what I will hereon refer to as SOPAG, the Systemwide Operations and Planning Advisory Group, issued a discussion paper on adopting collaborative TS. Phase 1 focused on environmental scans and information gatheringPhase 2 developed recommendationsPhase 3 has focused on implementing the Phase 2 recommendations that were approved and prioritized by the CoUL From this timeline, we see that each transition point requires significant discussion and consideration---reflected in months between when recommendations are issued and next steps are taken. This is a lesson many of us involvedhad to come to terms with. As thechair of one of the 3 task groups in Phase 2 noted after completing her team’s work and delivering their recommendations to the ULs, ‘if China can build a high-speed rail line from Beijing to Shanghai in 38 months, we’d better start mobilizing now if we want to eliminate our special collections backlogs by 2020. In reality, the project team to implement one of our recommendations was not even formed until over 14 months later.’
In the most recent phase, using the Power of Three (POT) framework, (more later, maybe) the NGTS Initiative focused on the projects and infrastructure needed to transform the technical services that support the 21st Century UC Libraries Collection(s) in these four areas.As you’ll see when we move through the following slides, a great deal of work has been accomplished, and while more remains to be done, we can certainly say that NGTS has changed the course of how we work together as a system in these areas.
Cooperative Collection DevelopmentDevelop a system-wide view of collections that would allow libraries to develop richer collections and to leverage selector expertise. Consider and propose actions that balance increased efficiencies of centralized collection development with more diverse multi-campus collection development.Transform Collection Development PracticesPerhaps the most culturally challenging for as complex a multi campus organization as UC... This is still ongoing, especially the process of rethinking the role and responsibilities of the bibliographers. Hands down, the hardest
Collaborative Technical Services 1 of 3Develop the standards, policies, and practices (addressing technical issues, human resources, and other factors) that will move UC libraries toward integrated technical services expertise and operations.Transform Cataloging Practices = POT 2 succeeded in scoping out how a consortial plan for domestic shelf ready acquisitions might work. At the same time that this is moving to implementation, efforts have shifted to pilot systemwide Demand Driven acquisitions for ebooks... As this is now seen as an important area to build new consortial models for acquisitions, funding, and sharing.
Maximize effectiveness of Shared Cataloging Program 2 of 3Confirmed the value of Shared Cataloging, now working on a project to extend participation and to adjust the priority setting and communication processTested the assumption that stopping the distribution of records to each of the campuses by the Shared Cataloging Program for inclusion in their local catalogs and relying on the central catalog, Melvyl, alone would result in substantial efficiency. Instead, the project team found that the resource costs of distribution was not substantial and that the program was already a highly efficient operation.
Develop system-wide Collections Services staffing 3 of 3Backlogs inventoried... Moving target and Hawthorne effect. Non Roman backlog already has declined without any special project to address.Collaborative staffing models identified, now being tested to eliminate backlog of audio CDsInventoried common TS tools and now collaborating on consortial licensing of these, most recent case in point, Catalogers DesktopSupporting technical services staffing will be considered as new models for focusing centers of Collection Development are defined... Part of the ongoing redefining Collection Development project
Collaborative Digital Initiatives 1 of 2Develop policies and practices and implement the technology infrastructure to provide for collaborative UC digital services.No mean feat since each of the campuses has been working on digital projects to date in its own unique way.A presentation of its own just to detail the harvesting, inventorying, rights policies, display and technical requirements the Lightning Teams this group commissioned and delivered.Build the infrastructure for a systemwide Digital Asset Management System = POT 1 = Success!
Collaborative Digital Initiatives 2 of 2Develop policies and practices and implement the technology infrastructure to provide for collaborative UC digital services.Here you can see the work completed to define the tools and standards that will be common in our digitization workAccelerate processing of archival and manuscript collections = POT 3
Financial and Technical infrastructure Develop a fiscal framework for system-wide collaboration. Implement an integrated technical infrastructure to facilitate these collaborations.Simplify the recharge process = POT 4One of the early wins was all the campuses adopted a common practice for financial recharges that would cut down on the number of transactions. The assumption that this would result in cost savings was tested and is still being assessed.NGTS did the best we could in the absence of common infrastructures, another really tough oneSOPAG coordinated with the CoUL to make progress on the overall financial and information technology infrastructures needed to support system-wide work = SPOT 2 (stable funding models), SPOT 3 charge in process to environmental scan and inventory campus interest in a new Library Management System
The aim with the Power of Three concept was to set up a more nimble structure, where teams would be empowered to take action. Power of Three groups and Lightning teams (“quick, focused”) were a departure from past practice of task groups with 11 reps from each campus and CDL. Still, populating these groups was deliberate, including informing ACGs and relevant groups; initial charges identified required collaboration and consultation.
PMWG arose from a recognition that libraries need to apply project management expertise to our work. Formed group to support the NGTS implementation. PMWG has shown its value and will continue to supply ongoing systemwide projects with project and portfolio managers.
Guiding principles speak to need for communication plans and continuous vetting laterally and vertically. Communications manager assigned; UCM allotted (donated) 50% of E Lin’s time to NGTS; the role was part of management team. Communication not just NGTS-specific, but broader aim of enhancing knowledge of staff on building next gen services. Again, proven successful and a role that will continue in future systemwide endeavors.
Sample current methods of communication: blog, monthly update based on progress reports from the POTs, also tracking on Twitter.
I include this to demonstrate the complex framework within which UC has operated; the diagram also reflects all of the constituencies that have a stake and something of a say in what libraries do. The consultative and advisory structure has consisted of groups of the same functional types (HOTS, HOPS) – 10 representatives plus CDL and a member of LAUC. Decision-making and action can seem difficult to do nimbly within this structure. Organizations as a whole, particularly in the corporate world, have seen hierarchical structures replaced by a cross-functional project team approach. NGTS chose to adopt the latter approach.
This cross functional approach modeled by NGTS, will now be adopted in a new UC Advisory Structure to take effect July 1 2013. Each of the newly defined Strategic Advisory Groups will include members with a mix of expertise. Each will have representation from each campus and CDL. These will be responsible for charging task groups as needed, similar to the NGTS Lightning Teams, departing from standing committees.
We identified gaps or needs within our communication and decision-making processes and have revised our structure to address them. These include having a common space to archive assets produced from collaborative projects to maintain continuity and organizational memory as people transition in and out of responsibilities. We developed a common vocabulary—which we are reminded is fundamental and important to working together. What you call something, such as “scheduled recharges,” can be surprisingly important in conveying and defining what we do. Establishing and having vetted a UC cataloging standard is a fundamental building block for other steps such as an RFP for consortial shelf ready, or establishing cooperative cataloging models for monographs and other formats.Through the NGTS projects and individual library efforts, the Libraries have redirected andreduced the amount of UC Library staff spent on processing and handling commonly held materials and can now direct more time and effort to the unique materials and new information resources produced that are of value to our researchers. Finally, the guidelines for efficient processing of archives is an important tool for training and supporting librarians and archivists in addressing and eliminating backlogs. UC Irvine completed a project, applying the guidelines, to surface 219 previously hidden collections to the public. These guidelines have now been adopted and archived on the UC Heads of Special Collections web site.
As I’ve mentioned, the approach and models employed have informed how we approach shared activities and services systemwide.
I end with a slide that presents the summary findings from one of our project teams, one tasked to develop system-wide Collection Services operations: the heart, really, of the NGTS initiative.They reviewed and assessed a variety of existing cooperative arrangements and identified these 4 success factors. Perhaps bread and butter to all of us:Sufficient planning early on is often key to a successful shared service; lack of planning usually led to pitfalls and hurdles to overcome.Timely communication kept providers and recipients of shared services on the same page and helped to clarify reporting mechanisms; lack of communication slowed down services or brought the service to a halt.Stable funding is necessary to the viability of any shared service, especially ongoing services; many of our shared services lack stable funding.Ultimately, the successful management of a shared service depends on supportive library administrations—beyond economic support, also need moral, cultural, and political support as well.Time and patience!!
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