Executive Committee Meeting 11/12/03

LAUC-B Executive Committee Meeting
November 12, 2003
10:00 - 12 noon
Doe Library 303


Present: A. Urbanic, C. Tarr, M Cochran (Facilitator), L. McLane, L. Cushing, P. Atwood, D. de Lorenzo (for discussion of Digital Visual Resource Planning Report), I. Eyman, J. Rosario (Recorder)

Guests: Lily Castillo-Speed (Ethnic Studies), John Creaser (Earth Science & Map Library), Maryly Snow (Architectural Visual Resources Library), Kathryn Wayne (Art History/Classics), James Eason (Bancroft), Mary Elings (Bancroft)

I. Announcements - 10 min

Ilan Eyman reported that he had gotten a good response from the membership to his email message regarding the LAUC-B mentoring program.

Next ExComm meeting date has been changed to December 17, 2003, so as not to conflict with the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences AHSS Colloquium to be held December 10, from 9-3pm at the Clark Kerr campus

II. Reports - 10 min

A. Treasurer's Report -- Linda McLane

LAUC-B’s balance is $50, 448.74

B. Meeting with the University Librarian -- A. Urbanic/C. Tarr

Allan Urbanic and Chris Tarr met with University Librarian Tom Leonard November 10, 2003.  They reported the $700 LAUC-B member stipend for travel and that Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Paul Gray had not yet approved the budget for this year.

Tom Leonard related the Library’s 10% reduction “operating budget exercise” for the next fiscal year (also discussed at the Administrative Early Bird meeting on November 12).  The University Librarians’ retreat will be held in Los Angeles on November 19, and would focus on “the concept of governance,” followed by the SOPAG meeting on November 20.  Tom also mentioned the Berkeley Retirement Incentive Program (also reported in early November in the Daily Cal) that would encourage faculty at maximum years of service to retire and effectively switch their salaries from drawing from payroll to drawing from pension funds.  Incentives would include research assistants, office space, emeritus status, opportunities to teach, and a one-time payment of $15,000.  Tom stressed that this is not a VERIP, and it is only available to faculty.
C. Senate Library Committee Report -- C. Tarr

Main points included the prohibitive cost of the Elsevier Big Deal and the difficulty of quickly developing an alternative scholarly publishing model.  Difficulties include the importance for faculty peer review of publishing in certain first-tier journals and the important administrative duties that an organization such as Elsevier does for scholarly societies in publishing their journals.  The Committee decided to invite Lynn Withey, director of UC Press, to discuss alternative publication models.

D. LAUC Statewide Conference Call (11/3) – C. Tarr

Chris Tarr reported that the Statewide committee charges were discussed as well as Position Paper No. 1.  Participants discussed the roles of position papers in general as policy documents, and questioned whether LAUC should produce more of them.  The scholarly information Web page produced by LAUC may be rendered redundant by the production of a similar Web page by UC.

III. Continuing Topics – 30 min

A. LAUC-B Proposed Conference/Workshop

Allan Urbanic reported that the topic for the proposed conference is: “The Crisis in Scholarly Communication: Strategies For and From the Academy.”  Pending budget approval, the conference may be held in Fall 2004 or Spring 2005.

ACTION: Allan will send out a call for volunteers to form a committee to plan the conference, including LAUC members, faculty, CDL staff, and perhaps participants from the Graduate Assembly.

B. LAUC-B Bylaws Revisions

Revisions concerning term lengths for members of the local LAUC-B Diversity Committee and Committee on Research were discussed; the terms of the local committees and the term for the liaisons from these committees to the Statewide committees must be reconciled.

ACTION: Allan will take the proposed language to Paul Weiss, LAUC Parliamentarian, for review and approval.

C. Mounting Historic Rosters (or Compilation of Rosters) on the Web.

The LAUC-B Nominations & Elections Committee requested that a roster of LAUC-B member names, committees served, and dates be mounted on the Web site.

ACTION: Allan will announce to the membership at the LAUC-B Fall Assembly (November 13, 2003) and ask for feedback.

IV. New Topics - 30 min

A. Discussion of “Digital Visual Resources Planning: Report of the Digital Visual Resources Task Force.”  The report can be printed from http://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/sopag/vrtf/.

For this portion of the meeting, Lily Castillo-Speed (Ethnic Studies), John Creaser (Earth Science and Maps), Maryly Snow (Architectural Visual Resources Library), Kathryn Wayne (Art History/Classics), James Eason (Bancroft), and Mary Elings (Bancroft) joined the discussion.  Elizabeth Byrne (Environmental Design Library), Chuck James (Earthquake Engineering Research Center), Maryly Snow and James Eason also submitted written comments on the report to ExComm.

Participants lauded the existence of the report and the fact that Systemwide Operations Planning Advisory Group (SOPAG) is paying attention to this subject.

Many participants expressed concern that the report focussed only on collections administered by the university libraries and not on affiliated libraries or other sources of visual resources collections.  Some expressed a need to clarify the report language to clearly define which libraries and collections were covered by the scope of the report.  For example, the term “UC libraries” should be clearly defined to include the Affiliated Libraries or made explicit in referring to the “UC University Libraries” exclusively.  Some participants felt that, because of the limited scope of the project, important collections and individual experience and expertise were overlooked.

One of the report’s authors present for the discussion related that the issue was brought to the attention of SOPAG, and it was decided to maintain the scope of the report to the university library as a beginning; the eventual intent is to be all-inclusive.  In fact the inclusion of Affiliated Libraries was assumed, but not made explicit in the report.  Participants still felt strongly that the scope of the report must be more inclusive, explicitly in regard to working with affiliated libraries.

In regard to Recommendation 7.5 (Federation of digital collections), participants commented that instead of conducting a more thorough analysis of the collections identified in the survey, why not use this opportunity to survey the non-library collections?

Background Sources
Some participants felt that because of the limited scope of the report, it had not cited other precedent works.  In 1984, UCOP funded the California Museum of Photography to undertake a two-year inventory of photographic collections.  The inventory, published in 1985, identified 17.5 million images.  (“University of California Directory of Photographic Collections” by Sheryl Conkelton.)  On the Berkeley campus alone, the inventory lists 24 collections; of the 24, only 5 are from University Libraries, and 4 are from Affiliated Libraries.  The report also does not mention the work of the Museum Informatics Project over the last decade or so.

 Union Catalog Issues
One participant commented felt that the task force’s recommendations did not prepare us to answer the key question, “What image resources should be united in a single catalog, and what is the benefit of bringing them together?”  Uniting historical and art historical collections, including architecture and design collections, certainly has potential benefits: researchers and instructors would gain a richer image pool to draw on, and discover additional resources serendipitously.  Maps and historical collections have obvious parallels and overlaps.  Scientific and medical images, however, probably have far less in common, and it is much more difficult to imagine benefits in including them.

Potential benefits of a union catalog may include like/complimentary material from different library collections being drawn together, savings in software and hardware support through standardization, efficiencies in data creation and data management, data security through centralized storage of masters (back-up, migration, etc.), and closer adherence to a single standard for metadata.  Potential drawbacks to a union image catalog may include user difficulties resulting from varied descriptive practices or from irrelevant "clutter" from outside a specialist's field, loss of local control or flexibility through use of shared software, and compromises in descriptive conventions that may not make sense for certain types of collections – (again, loss of local flexibility and control.)

Perhaps additional recommendations need to be made?  Also, multi-media resources were not discussed in the report.

Some participants were concerned about maintenance of a union database of images and the manpower it would take to sustain it, especially during times of budget cuts.

One of the report’s authors noted that the Digital Visual Resources Task Force grappled with the issue of metadata standards, and even though no system can be agreed upon at this point, there are so many variables, only “baby steps” could be taken.

Some participants voiced the opinion that VRA-Core (data standards developed by the Visual Resources Association) should be used; but others pointed out that VRA standards could be problematic in describing special collections.  (Even “qualified” Dublin Core can be problematic in describing special collections.)

Some participants noted that the descriptive challenges seem very difficult, such as dealing with slides that are surrogates.  Language in the report was difficult to follow.  Use of the term “image,” defined as “surrogate,” did not work throughout the report.  Surrogacy applies to art history and architecture, not to special collections.  How are users going to know what they reflect?

Obviously, descriptive standards are key to any union catalog effort. Anyone pursuing key recommendation 7.3 should make a great effort to understand the differences among existing descriptive standards such as AACR2/GIHC and VRA Core, and carry out much more analysis before setting a minimum standard.  The OAC and many others have been doing "crosswalks" and such for years, illustrating the relationships between various standards – and are still working out acceptable "best practices."

Recommendation 7.11 seems to mostly apply to shared cataloging for art image surrogates, but it is a bit confusing because there is a brief reference to authorities as well.  Since many authorities exist, and they sometimes conflict, consideration must be given to implications in a union catalog.  (LCNAF vs. ULAN for names of artists, for example – is one form preferred over another? Does the user interface accommodate and retrieve all forms?)

Architectural Model
Some participants felt that the architectural model proposed in the report needs clarification, and might be overly ambitious and difficult to implement.

Seeking Partnerships
Participants commented that partnering with other institutions is not premature; others are forming partnerships, and that communication with people working on similar initiatives would be most useful.

Digital Capture
Some participants noted that digital capture was missing from the report.

Some participants found that the inclusion of faculty collections in the report was surprising, and felt that these “unvetted” collections should be a low priority.  While important to individual faculty, these collections are sometimes poorly organized, often unidentified, and original source information is usually lacking.  Also, faculty often has libraries make their slides.  Another order of priorities for staging online access to digital collections might be outlined as follows:

1. University Library visual materials
2. Affiliated Library visual materials
3. Visual resource collections (administered by departments or schools)
4. Other visual resource collections, including museum collections
5. Faculty private collections
1. University Library visual materials
2. Visual resource collections (administered by departments or schools)
3. Museum collections
4. Affiliated Library visual materials
5. Faculty private collections

Commercial Sources
Participants were concerned about the use of commercial sources for access to UC visual resources, such as RLG Cultural Resources and ARTstor.  With RLG, we must pay to put our materials in their database, then pay again to access them.  Objections to ARTstor were more centered on the fact that it is an unknown.
Collection Management Tools
One participant felt that a standardized "Collection Management Tool" is a major benefit, should it come to exist.  The language of the report, however, leaves in doubt whether there is a common understanding of what a "Collection Management Tool" is.  The participant expressed a skepticism that such a tool – that is, some sort of database system – could be found or developed that would be suitable to all the types of collections discussed.  The task force's recommendations (7.4, Collection/content management) indicate that they assume local systems will continue to exist in many different forms, so homogenization is not a goal.  Under the architecture proposed, a single collection management system is not a requirement, which is probably for the best.  But the need for a good one locally remains strong.  The participant feels that this area needs a lot more analysis (and clarification of terms).

In regard to Recommendation 7.4, some participants commented that it seemed problematic in that it furthers the focus on University Library collections at the expense of other visual resource collections.  It would be more prudent to expand the survey to affiliates and other visual resource collections.

Copyright and Fair Use
One participant noted that a unified declaration of use and copyright policies sounds like a good idea, but a system-wide policy might be overly conservative and restrictive.  The task force’s recommendation (7.9) to pursue a policy statement seems wise.

ACTION: Allan will forward comments to Linda Kennedy, LAUC Statewide President, by December 5, 2003.

V. Other Business – 10 Minutes

 None to report.

* * * *
Next LAUC-B Executive Committee meeting: Wednesday, December 17, 2003, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, the Goldberg Room, Boalt Hall.