Executive Committee Meeting Minutes - December 14, 2009

9:00AM-12:00PM Eastern, prior to CNI

Present in room:  Courant, Farley, Kaufman, Walters, Wheeler, Wilkin

Present on phone: Johnson, King, Schottlaender, Van Gemert 

The Executive Director opened with remarks about our progress to date.  In the year since our launch (October 2008), we saw significant growth, we had many visible successes (e.g., the implementation of the large-scale search and the catalog), and our work has helped to generate a very real sense that HathiTrust has changed the landscape of libraries and storage.   We continue to work through challenges of deepening the collaboration, but even here are seeing significant signs of health.  Our partners are actively working to build on the success of HathiTrust, looking now at opportunities around shared print, the ability of HathiTrust to store other formats, and the opportunity of using HathiTrust for born-digital publications.  It has been a very successful year and we are at an important juncture, particularly with some of the decisions on this agenda. 

1.    Finances

  • We continue our progress to meeting our goal of having $1m in reserves—our emergency fund, in essence—and we are now building an ongoing (though modest) line item for additional staffing.  We will use another roughly $30-40,000 of our reserves for mirroring the large-scale search in Indiana.
  • We now have a signed contract with Columbia.
  • Discussion of proposed new cost model:  All agreed that the proposed cost model and proposed next steps make sense.  Consequently, we will work toward using this cost model for partners in 2013 and will invite “Sustaining Partners” with our closest approximation of that model, using these additional funds to help create the infrastructure necessary to perform the calculations necessary in that post-2012 period.  There was considerable discussion about next steps, and we will work quickly to share the new model formally.

2.    Repository

  • The repository continues to be robust, with no outages.
  • Ingest has been a function of many things other than capacity (e.g., the availability of records for content may throttle our ability to ingest, and we may need to ingest large amounts of content because of mistakes in preparation by the data provider).  November ingest was lower-than-expected in part because of the need to re-ingest significant amounts of content; December may break records again.  We will probably reach 5.2m volumes in 2009, and (barring significant additions to the membership) will add approximately 2.6m volumes in 2010, bringing us close to 8m volumes by the end of 2010.

3.    Other technology

  • The review of short- and long-term functional objectives shows that we have accomplished most of what we set out to accomplish, though we have a few notable work items ahead of us (e.g., Shibboleth work, non-Google ingest, support for born-digital content).  We will work toward publicizing work on those last items and their associated timelines.

4.    Organizational issues

  • The SAB Update by Van Gemert focused on the work of the Quality Working Group (grappling with the question of the quality threshold setting) and the Discovery Working Group (focusing on work with OCLC).  Both of these groups have made considerable progress on their work items, and the Discovery Working Group will enter a new phase of collaboration with OCLC.  There was much discussion and concern about the lack of openness in OCLC’s systems and our need to build services around OCLC systems. 
  • The Executive Committee reviewed the final draft of the proposed RFP for the establishment of a HathiTrust-associated “research center” (funded in part by Google), as well as next steps.  The group approved the draft as submitted.  We will aim for a late April deadline for final proposals.
  • The Executive Committee reviewed the “voting models” paper prepared by Julia Lovett and agreed that it represents an excellent review of the issues and a reasonable model to pursue.  In the discussion that followed, we concluded that the double majority voting mechanism is probably not necessary, that rather than veto power we should make clear the option of the Repository Administrators to withdraw with reasonable notice (e.g., 2 years), and that it would be useful to get additional feedback on the proposed model from experts in this field.

5.    PR and public activities

  • Letters of invitation/participation will go out in January.  The Executive Committee will provide a final review of the text of the letter and proposed recipients. 
  • The Executive Director will work on scheduling an interactive update with library deans and CIOs.

6.    Miscellaneous

  • Regarding recent questions about CRL’s TRAC questions around FTE/budget, we discussed the desirability of working toward SLA’s with institutions undertaking HathiTrust responsibilities, particularly repository management or other related functions.
  • We should try to publicize our reaching our five millionth volume.  One good future focus would be the affect on scholars and on persons at non-Partner institutions.