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.

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.

CC-PLUS Advisory Board members voted to approve a formal partnership with ConsortiaManager, and Tejs Grevstad joined the group for their meeting on August 1, 2019. The Product Management Team has developed personas to guide defining requirements, including consortial staff member, e-resources librarian, library administrator, and systems administrator. It has been proposed to add a consortia board or collection development committee member, who would need to be able to see all libraries’ data. The Project Management Team has also developed draft mock-ups for the opening page, reports section, and profiles. Restated data is the next area for their discussion. The Advisory Board is currently voting on whether or not the Apache 2.0 open source software license will be used for CC-PLUS.

The CC-PLUS project has hired its technical team, including Gretchen Gueguen, Project Coordinator, Scott Ross, Lead Application Developer, and Rachel Maderik, UX Developer.

The CC-PLUS Steering Committee held a meeting today, May 30, 2019. Rachel Maderik, the new UX Developer, was introduced to the committee.

Gretchen Gueguen provided a project update, including that Sarah Probst from ConnectNY will co-chair the Project Management Team, there are follow up meetings scheduled to conduct in-depth requirements development, and the team has decided to focus on COUNTER Release 5 and has selected Oxford University Press and ScienceDirect/Elsevier as the first vendors to work with as they are already producing COUNTER Release 5 compliant reports.

The committee discussed a possible collaboration with ConsortiaManager. There may be good opportunities around API development, and a future proposal is anticipated.

The committee discussed the license for the software, as a decision is needed soon. The prototype is currently released under a GPL v. 3 license. Other options being considered are Apache 2.0 and MIT. The advantage of using an Apache 2.0 license would be that CC-PLUS would be in line with other similar initiatives. Jill will send out a vote to the committee.

The committee discussed the possibility of membership in the Open Library Foundation and other options for community infrastructure support that currently exist. There was consensus that there would be value in talking with other open source communities about their experience and process. Pam Jones will review the business model needs assessment created previously, and Jo Lambert and John Stephens will also assist Pam with discussions on the future sustainable business model needed for CC-PLUS.

Are you looking to be a part of an exciting new community-owned software initiative, empowering libraries and consortia to make better decisions?

PALCI is seeking applicants for two exciting part-time, remote work, contract positions working on the collaborative CC-PLUS project. Interested applicants can read more, here:

1) CC-PLUS Project Coordinator: Jan. 2019 – Sept. 2020; 24-35 hours per month

2) CC-PLUS Project User Interface and Usability Developer: Jan. 2019 – Sept. 2020; 10-20 hours per month (up to 300 hours total)

Positions remain open until filled, with first consideration given to applications received by December 19, 2018. Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Questions? Contact Jill Morris (jill@palci.org).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2018

Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. and Consortium Partners
Media Contact: Jill Morris, PALCI Associate Director, (215) 567-1755 ext. 2, jill@palci.org

Second Round of IMLS Funding Awarded to Consortial Usage Statistics Software Project
PALCI and partners are collaborating on an open source platform for library consortia usage statistics

Drexel Hill, PA: The Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI) and seven partnering international library consortia (CDL, Couperin, CRKN, Jisc, SCELC, USMAI, and VIVA) are pleased to announce their selection as recipients of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grant in the amount of $247,500. The project, entitled “Establishing a Cloud-Based Consortial Platform for Library Usage Statistics (CC-PLUS),” is a two-year initiative which began October 1, 2018.

CC-PLUS is an open source platform enabling consortia worldwide to manage their libraries’ usage data through a single interface, automate their data harvesting, and make data-informed decisions regarding their investments in electronic resources. This project came directly from conversations within the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) community, and is an extension of a one-year IMLS planning grant PALCI received in 2017 to create a prototype version of the platform.

With this additional funding, PALCI and its partners will further develop the platform, including the addition of ebook and database usage data, improving the user interface design, investigating journal title and package integration, and creating robust user documentation. The team will also develop the business models, infrastructure, and community awareness necessary to establish a production-ready usage statistics tool supporting consortia and libraries with data-driven decisions for effective stewardship of library content.

“This project aims to increase libraries’ effectiveness in issues related to usage data,” said Cathy Wilt, Executive Director of PALCI. “The availability of a shared, open source usage data platform will result in libraries and consortia positioned to serve as exemplary stewards, empowered to make better-informed investments in electronic resources.”

About Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.

PALCI (legally named the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.) was formed in 1996 as a grassroots federation of 35 academic libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, the PALCI membership consists of nearly 70 academic and research libraries, private and public, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. PALCI’s mission is to build access to our shared collections through collaboration among academic libraries in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states. PALCI Members serve over 800,000 students, faculty, and staff, through a variety of programs including the highly-regarded E-ZBorrow resource sharing service. PALCI also serves as the home for PA Digital, the Pennsylvania hub on the Digital Public Library of America, and the new Affordable Learning PA program, creating a community of practice for open textbooks and related educational resources. To learn more, visit: http://palci.org.

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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We’re pleased to share our CC-PLUS Final Report, delivered via webinar to the ICOLC community on Wednesday, May 16. The recording and slides are available below:

CC-PLUS Final Report Webinar: Watch Recording

CC-PLUS Final Report Slide Deck: Download slides

CC-PLUS Prototype: Access the project on GitHub

The community is in the process of applying for another round of IMLS funding through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program in the National Digital Platform category. If you’re interested in supporting the community with this project, please consider writing us a letter of support. Contact jill@palci.org to receive a template for the letter. You can read more about the project in our Preliminary Proposal to IMLS (2018-20).

Additionally, if you’d like to be involved with testing, whether a locally-installed instance or a hosted version, please contact Jill Morris, CC-PLUS Project Director (jill@palci.org).

A presentation at the Charleston Conference about Jisc and CC-PLUS was very well attended, and discussions were held with ConsortiaManager about possible future integration.  There is CC-PLUS representation on the committee to develop requirements for the COUNTER 5 tool for consortium report functionality.
CC-PLUS Advisory Board members held a meeting on November 30, 2017.  The group decided to submit a preliminary proposal for a Project Grant to extend this project through the IMLS National Leadership Grant program in 2018.   The meeting included a live demo of the CC-PLUS prototype.  Testing of importing and exporting institutions, providers, and credentials has been successful.  No usage data has been pulled into the system yet.  The roles of Admin, Manager, and User were discussed.  The Manager is envisioned as an institutional power-user with some administrative privileges related to the person’s home institution, although the functional tasks of this level of user are to be determined.