The CC-PLUS Advisory Board met on January 28th. After the Fall 2020 pilot, the project team took the feedback and prioritized the items by impact on the project and the difficulty of making the change. Many issues related to the interface and a few related to functionality were solved. Additional unresolved issues from the Fall 2020 pilot will be documented in GitHub in the future.
There is another six-week pilot with around six consortia underway, and there have already been suggestions from this group based on their work at scale. This group will also provide feedback about useful community-building and documentation needs. If CC-PLUS should be asked for a full proposal for the planned IMLS application, a small group has stepped forward to help draft and review the document under SCELC’s leadership.
The Board discussed the performance goals and measures of the current grant project. Two goals were of particular focus: establishing community governance and building partnerships. The importance of shared advocacy, such as for adherence to the COUNTER standard, was cited as important, as was a blended and robust community among libraries, consortia, and commercial entities – all those with a shared goal of efficiently processing usage statistics. Connections to external tools – being where the users are as well as robust hosting solutions – are very important. A small group is going to draft a sustainability and community roadmap for the future of CC-PLUS to bring back to the Board.
On November 20th, 2020, the CC-PLUS project did a webinar update for the ICOLC community, providing and update on progress, a demo, and a glimpse of future plans for the project. Video of the presentation is below and slides can be found here.
The CC-PLUS Advisory Board met on November 5th. Ten institutions representing consortia and individual libraries participated in the Phase 1 pilot. The goal of this first pilot was to put the software into practice and identify any bugs; it was not meant to be a production-level pilot. One member pursued gathering data from 130 providers, and this was a good test of the system and process. Only around 36 of these providers had COUNTER endpoints, some of which were not R5, and it was further evidence that tracking down valid credentials is time consuming and will continue to be a major hurdle to working with any usage statistics gathering systems. Over the past month, the team went through the pilot feedback and compiled the key issues.
The requested grant extension was accepted, and the new end period is June 2021. This allows time for additional prioritized development and improvements as well as a Phase 2 pilot in Spring 2021. A small group of active participants who will meet weekly would be ideal for this second pilot, as the goal is to put the system into regular operation. CC-PLUS has applied for a third round of IMLS National Leadership Grant funding for this project, led by SCELC. If invited to submit a full proposal, there will be a March 31st deadline.
The webinar for ICOLC to be held on Friday, November 20th, 11am EDT currently has 42 registrants. It will include an overview of the project, demo, and discussion about what will come next for the project. Registration is available here: https://vivalib.libcal.com/calendar/events/ccplus2020.
The Board reviewed a stakeholder mapping with an eye toward being inclusive in the development of this software, building community, and ensuring its long-term sustainability.
The CC-PLUS Advisory Board met in September. CC-PLUS has applied to the LYRASIS It Takes a Village initiative, which would help the program in planning and managing sustainability.
The software pilot will be wrapping up on October 9th. The second phase included changes to make the downloads closer to the standard COUNTER csv format, adding bulk upload of settings, and introducing multi-select functionality in the harvest logs and report generation. There is a focus now on documentation and packaging the software for its first broad release. CC-PLUS will apply for a third round of IMLS National Leadership Grant funding for this project, led by SCELC this time, with work prioritized by the Product Management Group and Steering Committee.
The first round of testing with ten institutions has been completed, and there was positive feedback both generally and about specific features. There is a list of priorities for a next release that will be tested next month, and many of these have been completed. Improvements include a multi-select feature in drop-downs, changes to the harvest log to improve usability, the option to eliminate records with zero use from reports upon export, and more. A number of bugs were also identified and fixed during the pilot. The next release should be available to pilot participants next week, and there is a plan to develop a short demo video for the website. One more round of testing with an additional release is planned for September. The Product Management Team will be meeting next month to evaluate and prioritize future development directions.
The Steering Committee continued the discussion about the future framing of CC-PLUS governance models and approach, including the possible roles of ICOLC, COUNTER, and commercial partners. The committee briefly reviewed the Community Charter & Governance document approved in 2019, draft Community Framework, and a draft proposed Memorandum of Understanding between CC-PLUS and COUNTER, and a discussion about these three documents is planned for the next meeting. Following this discussion, a small group will develop draft documentation for what CC-PLUS should look like following the grant stage.
The ICOLC Futures presentation and conversation held at the recent ICOLC virtual meeting, and the variety of opinions present, were discussed. The challenge of relying too heavily on volunteers was noted for both ICOLC and CC-PLUS, and a stakeholder mapping was proposed as a way to identify those with a vested interest in a sustainable future for CC-PLUS. A virtual presentation about CC-PLUS for the ICOLC community is being planned.
Significant progress has been made on the development of CC-PLUS. A demo of the current system, which includes ten pilot institutions/consortia, was shown to the Steering Committee. Users of the software can bring in users, providers, and institutions, and the institutions can be clustered by groups or types (such as Carnegie Classification). Reports can be automatically harvested each month or manually harvested if the time period has passed. Institutions can have manager-level accounts to share some responsibility with the consortium’s central office. Flexible reporting is available as well.
Development directions under consideration include a web-based version of CC-PLUS that will harvest data and create downloadable reports without long-term data storage (similar to COUNTER’s need for a tool), integrating data from external sources like the GOKb service to enhance CC-PLUS data, more extensive data visualizations, incorporating non-COUNTER R5 data and/or providing a transformation service for R4 data, automated checks for restated data, and an API to make data within the CC-PLUS database available to other services. There is a planned request to extend this project through June 30, 2021.
The Steering Committee had a discussion about the future framing of CC-PLUS and its associated community. Active code development and a sustainable governance structure are deeply important to this program’s success. Its strength is as an open source solution for gathering usage statistics, but high levels of use, partnerships/integrations, and supporting tools will be important to building and maintaining an active community with the resources needed for the software and any associated services. There is also a valued role of such a community in advocating for COUNTER compliance and gathering information for the practical application of the standard and to inform future development of the standard. It was suggested that the governance could have a similar structure to that of COUNTER, with layers of committees from the technical to the administrative. Ongoing maintenance of any implementation of this software should not be underestimated, due to the demands of managing a usage statistics program. Intentional commitments and shared goals will be important to sustaining CC-PLUS as it emerges into its next stage.
The development focus is on the front end of the software now, and the UX Developer is building out the pages more fully. The goal is to have all basic pages able to display data by the ICOLC meeting in April. The demonstration server is now automatically harvesting eight vendors’ data: ACS, BioOne, OUP, MUSE, Sage, T&F, Wiley, and JSTOR. All four master reports (TR, PR, DR, and IR) are being harvested, subject to their availability from the vendors.
There has been significant interest in the upcoming CC-PLUS pilot, and the planned pilot participants will be finalized and invited soon. The goal is to cover all typical use cases (individual library, self-hosting consortium, hosted consortium, ConsortiaManager users, etc.).
Governance in place is for project, but bylaws that establish the way the community should function will be important to the project’s future and sustainability. A draft of bylaws will be prepared for the next Advisory Board meeting. A draft of a possible MOU was also presented to the Advisory Board to start a conversation about a more formal relationship between CC-PLUS and COUNTER.
A presentation about CC-PLUS is on the ICOLC April meeting agenda. This will an opportunity to provide an update on the work of the project and check in with the larger community for feedback.
Almost all of the development for the core functionality of the software (harvesting, validation, etc.) is complete. Remaining items include bulk uploads and queue management. Code developed by Bernd Oberknapp for the COUNTER validation tool has been useful for this project, and future collaboration is expected to continue to prevent duplication of effort. The interface is still in a wire framing status, but coding of the interface will begin soon, and a minimum viable product in expected by late April. Biweekly meetings with COUNTER, Jisc, and ConsortiaManager have been critical to advancing this project in terms of developing sustainable software code as well as a sustainable community.
A pilot with around six participants, both consortia and individual libraries, is scheduled to take place from May to September. CC-PLUS will host the software for the pilot centrally, making this a useful test of the capacity needs for hosting this as a service. At a later stage of the pilot, one or two of the pilot participants may be asked to install the software locally. There will be monthly check-ins with piloting entities as well as more formal feedback surveys. Potential pilot participants have been identified, and an email will go out in February. CC-PLUS will request a one-year extension from IMLS (with the existing financial resources) to allow for challenges with publishers implementing COUNTER Release 5, ensure an effective pilot, and build in refinements.
A draft website has been developed, and a contractor will be used to finalize the logo and look and feel of the site. The website is expected to be live around May. How the program will be included in the ICOLC meeting in Columbia is still unknown.
The Advisory Board viewed a presentation by Jiri Jirat (CzechELib, https://www.czechelib.cz/) about CzechELib’s impressive new statistics portal. CC-PLUS is committed to finding opportunities to share information and approaches.
Regarding development of the CC-PLUS project, the team has finished the first work on harvesting, validating, and storing report data as well as constructing wireframe interfaces for data reports. They are now moving on to building out user interfaces and working on code that allows for the scheduling and queuing of harvests. A poster about the CC-PLUS project, proposed by Gretchen Gueguen, was accepted to the Code4Lib conference.
The CC-PLUS project is nearing the completion of the first year of its current two year IMLS-funded project grant. The grant project is scheduled to end in September 2020.
The Product Management Team has built an extensive list of requirements that will be used as the project is developed. Wireframe mock-ups of the interface were shared with the Steering Committee, and planning for a pilot/road test will be discussed soon. The UX Developer originally contracted for this project has stepped away due to other commitments, and a new contractor is being recruited for this role.
Lorraine Estelle provided an update about the development of the COUNTER consortial tool, which is still in progress, noting that the annual COUNTER survey had highlighted the great need consortia have for these tools. Jo Lambert shared a draft letter about COUNTER R5 that would encourage publishers and content providers to achieve compliance with the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee had an initial discussion about opportunities and challenges related to the future CC-PLUS business model, such as the sustainability of the community and tools being created, a long-term home for the project and software, and service providers and funding models. The conversation included developing a common understanding of the vision of CC-PLUS, the expectations and roles of the community after the grant has concluded, and explored sustainability options and possible roles for ICOLC or other organizations.