Executive Committee Meeting Minutes - August 17, 2011

1. Minutes: The June, 2011 minutes were noted as having been previously approved and posted to the HathiTrust website.
2. Finances
  1. Wilkin reported on the HathiTrust budget, where surpluses continue in both the operations and programmatic budgets.  Disk/storage for 2011 was acquired and is reflected in the June budget.  Additionally, an extension to Isilon support was negotiated in order to help normalize replacement cycles; this is also reflected in the June budget.  As noted in the April, 2011 minutes, funds budgeted for replacement were subtracted from partner payments and have been set aside.
  2. Work continues on the new cost model.  In order to deal with records containing multiple OCLC numbers and the need to match across institutions, we are clustering records with the help of additional data provided by OCLC.  Work on monographs, assisted by this clustering, has gone well.  However, early discussions with selected partner institutions made clear the problem of getting volume-specific holdings for serials.  The Executive Committee concluded with a decision to calculate serials holdings overlap in HathiTrust at the level of the serial title, and to continue to work toward developing a more nuanced approach over time.

3. Organizational issues

  1. SAB update: Van Gemert reported that the final version of the 3-year review was published in July and that the SAB was preparing a presentation on the review for the Constitutional Convention.  In response to questions from members of the SAB, the Executive Committee expressed its support for having members of the SAB attend the Constitutional Convention.
  2. Constitutional Convention report:  The small working group of Kaufman, Wolven and Wilkin completed a ballot proposal template.  Several ballot proposals had been received and were being organized for presentation to the Constitutional Convention.  
  3. Overview of operational working groups:  Much successful work continues to be done by the operational working groups, though there are frequently challenges.  The Executive Committee briefly discussed how well the model is working and noted that some work is more suitable to being performed by a distributed membership (e.g., user support), while other activities such as communication probably require some dedicated support.  Despite these challenges, the working groups are making extraordinary contributions to the HathiTrust enterprise.  At the request of the Usability Working Group, this group’s charge was revised to reflect an advisory role and the name of the group was changed to the HathiTrust User Experience Advisory Group to reflect this change.  Working group updates are appended below.

4. Repository

  1. Outages and infrastructure update
  2. Ingest update

5. Miscellaneous

  1. Orphan Works update:  The Orphan Works Project continues its review process, focusing on refining a methodology.  Partner institutions continue to express interest in participating and in contributing to the review process.  The Association of Research Libraries is at work on a “Resource Packet on Orphan Works:  Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries” (subsequently released on 13 September, 2011).
  2. Print monograph storage proposal:  As of the August meeting, the print monograph archiving proposal had not been received.


Working Group Updates

Communications Working Group

On its August call, the Communications Working Group welcomed Stacy Kowalczyk as a participant from the HathiTrust Research Center. The CommWG aims to work with the Research Center to better coordinate on communications. With the fall semester about to begin at most institutions, the CommWG has identified public services staff as a priority audience and are working on a strategy to support them with communications materials. This includes putting together a focus group of public services librarians to identify needs. The CommWG has made progress on policy for the HathiTrust Facebook presence and on solicitation of a lineup of blog posts. (The CommWG welcomes any blog ideas from the Executive Committee, or if anyone in the committee wants to write a guest post we'd be happy to entertain the idea.  We would also welcome direction from the Executive Committee as to any communications items that we need to be taking into account or acting upon in regards to the Constitutional Convention.)

Usability Working Group

The HT-UWG was first convened July 29, 2010. In July of 2011, the HT-UWG reviewed its progress and discussed opportunities for fine-tuning our mission. The members of the group noted the challenges that time constraints and collaborating remotely present to collective usability work and recommends that the group instead act in an advisory capacity (as opposed to a “working group”). Members of the working group also recommend that the name of the group be changed to “HathiTrust User Experience Advisory Group” to reflect this. Finally, the group recommends that it continue to operate as an operational group and report to the HathiTrust Executive Director.
In this new model, the group will:

  • Manage the HathiTrust UX-SIG email group by continuing to manage membership, solicit new members, bring questions to the group for feedback, and promptly reply to encourage continued participation
  • Advise on user interface designs & development priorities
    • Current development projects will be presented to the group by the chair for review and feedback.
    • Group will help track & prioritize usability-related issues that come in from email feedback (via the User Support JIRA account), as mentioned by the HathiTrust UX-SIG, other outside sources, or brought by group members themselves.
  • Advise on usability-related projects conducted by the U-M UX Department or other outside groups.
  • Advise other HathiTrust committees on usability-related issues (by participating as liaisons to those groups)
  • Participate in small-scale projects as needed (e.g., gathering & sharing HathiTrust User Stories, analyze usage stats, etc.)

Currently, the group is compiling a list of features that have been requested over the last year or so. One strategy has been to mine the User Support feedback in JIRA for things to add to this list. Once compiled, the group will be able to guide development with a list of top priorities.

User Support Working Group

User Support Working Group ticket statistics for July are in the update ( The majority of the tickets continue to be about quality, with copyright questions a close second (mainly inquiring whether volumes can be opened, but also some notifying us volumes that should be closed). The large number of print on demand inquiries (36) has to do with a small backlog of issues that MPublishing is submitting. The USWG had six new inquiries related to partnership, six new inquiries about setting up Shibboleth, and four tickets where users at institutions reported problems logging in. All of the problems with login we have received so far have been due either to a problem with the attributes released by the institution, or users not having the appropriate affiliation (typically PhD students or others who are not officially registered for classes). The USWG has had fairly good success so far with institutions correcting problems related to bibliographic records, with some institutions sending tab-delimited files of enum/chron information that we can load into our system. Michigan staff are able to handle most issues related to the quality of Google volumes by working directly with Google. Michigan has a process to scan and send to Google foldout pages that Google did not scan, as well as missing pages for Google to insert. The USWG notifies other institutions of these kinds of problem when they arise, but they generally go on a list of long-term fixes as institutions do not have workflows set up to address them.

Julie Piacentine left the USWG in July, as she moved to work at the University of Chicago library. Calls for nominations for a new member were included in the updates on June and July activities and was sent to the hathitrust-contacts list.The USWG has arranged a call to assess what improvements it can make to its process.  It will also begin to think about the recommendations for a future structure and process.