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HathiTrust Executive Committee Minutes - January 27, 2012

Present: Courant, Farley, Johnson, Kaufman, Schottlaender, Wheeler, Wilkin

1. Minutes: The November, 2011 minutes were approved through email discussion and posted to the HathiTrust website.

2. Finances

  1. Budget: Wilkin reviewed the end-of-year HathiTrust budget. HathiTrust showed modest surpluses in both the operations and programmatic budgets, though the budget did not include encumbrances for specialized storage (solid state caching to support the full text search) and a retroactive shift in a staff member’s time. With these adjustments, each budget will carry over several hundred thousand dollars into the 2012 budget year. The surpluses provide both a “safety net” and a source of funds for new initiatives.
  2. Holdings: The initial institutional calculations for 2013 using the new cost model are nearly complete and should be available for Executive Committee review in early February, and then distributed to partners in mid- to late-February. Wilkin acknowledged OCLC’s assistance in supplying data to help in clustering records. An impediment to completing the initial calculations continues to be missing serials data for a handful of partners. Previously, we used median values to substitute for institutions with missing data. With the relatively small number of institutions now missing data, we will attempt to attribute serials cost proportionately (based on the partner’s proportion of monograph expenses). It was also noted that new partners are routinely providing holdings data when they join, suggesting that collecting holdings data will not be as significant a problem in the future.

3. Organizational issues

  1. Board of Governors election update: Kaufman reported that many nominations had been made and that supporting materials for the candidates is being compiled to help create the initial slate. Regarding the six standing representatives from founding institution:
    1. The CIC appointed its two standing representatives, Carol Diedrichs (Ohio State) and Wendy Lougee (Minnesota).
    2. The University of California libraries will continue to be represented by Farley and Schottlaender.
    3. Indiana will be represented by Wheeler.
    4. Michigan will be represented by Courant.
  2. SAB update: Prior to the meeting, Van Gemert sent background material on the duplicates report prepared by the SAB’s Collections Committee. The Executive Committee voted to approve the recommendations.
  3. The Executive Committee briefly discussed the nascent DPN initiative and signaled its philosophical support. This topic was added to other pending items to be reviewed by the new Board of Governors.
  4. Working Group updates are included below.

Working Group Updates

Communications Working Group

The Communications Working Group continued what are now routine activities to highlight new partners. The group also worked through a number of scenarios to announce the major milestone of 10 million volumes, vetted those with the Collections Committee and Executive Committee, and crafted and released the appropriate announcement. The group continues to monitor the perception of HathiTrust within the media and conference landscape, and look for opportunities to highlight HathiTrust. The group is poised to announce new HathiTrust governance as it goes into place, and would appreciate notification from the Executive Committee ahead of time to plan for the announcement. It would be helpful to understand the timeline as it becomes more refined, and what kinds of messages that the leadership would like to emphasize in the communication. Project Bamboo has reached out to the Communications WG asking us to promote their newsletter, and we have advised them that we'd like to link to specific Bamboo/HathiTrust interactions and projects. We are working with them to highlight their use of HathiTrust data. On the February call, the Comms WG plans to spend time looking at our stated objectives, analyzing what we have/haven't accomplished, considering the challenges of we face in accomplishing work, and discussing whether we want to make a recommendation to the new board of governors.

User Experience Advisory Group

Since releasing the HathiTrust Personas (http://www.hathitrust.org/personas) in November, the group has focused on more advisory tasks. Topics of discussion come from either current UI work being done in the MLibrary UX department or via a list of requested features that the group compiled based on user feedback and other internal discussions. Topics the group has been discussing include:

  • New label for PDF downloads in pageturner (suggestions implemented & in production)
  • Home page redesign: brainstorming about what is needed and feedback on preliminary mockups (suggestions noted, UX Dept is working on new mockups)
  • Change default view in the pageturner from the classic view to one of the new BookReader views: which view should be new default and what other UI changes should be incorporated with this new default (needs further discussion/waiting for programmer time)
  • Improvements to the Limited View "landing page" to better communicate why users aren't able to see the full item (suggestions noted, needs further discussion)
  • Review of the collection builder list of collections UI (suggestions noted, needs further discussion)

The group will be revisiting the pending topics above as the MLibrary UX department is able to provide new mockups and more information for review and discussion. These conversations have been extremely valuable!

User Support Working Group

In addition to regular activity responding to user inquiries, the User Support Working Group spent monthly calls at the end of 2011 and early 2012 evaluating its processes, workflows, and performance since it began in March 2011. This was done to prepare recommendations on a future structure and processes for responding to user feedback, which is part of the group's charge. A number of ideas to improve efficiency in responding to inquiries and communicating within the group surfaced and have been implemented. The group has completed a draft report on recommendations that it expects to submit to the Executive Committee in February.

Three members left the group over the fall: Bob Kackley, Todd Ito, and Nancy Spiegel. Two new members have since joined the group: Kathryn Stine of California Digital Library, and Cassandra Fox of MIT.