To finish up year two of our IMLS-funded grant, the CC-PLUS team pulled together a pilot project to test out our software at a larger scale. Pilot participants included six consortia across the US and Canada representing a diverse group of library sizes and types. The overall goal of the pilot was to investigate the following questions:

  • Does CC-PLUS work at scale?
  • What issues still exist with the interface and tools?
  • What supporting documentation or tools are needed to make this effective?

The six pilot consortia met for the first time in January 2021 to discuss pilot goals and logistics. Instead of working on a shared research or comparison project, participants chose to set individual goals for their participation. Pilot participants agreed to meet weekly through mid-March to compare experiences and share information. After that, they would continue to have access to the pilot instance of CC-PLUS until the end of the grant period (June 30, 2021) but would meet only twice, at the mid-point in April and again at the end in June.

Individual goals among the pilot consortia varied. Some planned to compare CC-PLUS to their current workflows for gathering statistics to determine what advantages might be gained. Others developed collaborative workflows with their members institutions, and in effect ran a pilot-within-the-pilot. The ultimate goal for several was to develop a service for consortia members involving self-service for obtaining usage data. Still others planned to use the data gathered through CC-PLUS with other data on costs to create analyses and visualizations using other tools.

Poster delivered at the 2021 Code4Lib conference on the pilot project.
Poster delivered at the 2021 Code4Lib conference on the pilot project.

All of the pilot participants were able to make some progress on their goals within the initial six-week period, and some findings are already apparent. Most importantly, the pilot participants worked together to create documentation of the credentials needed to access specific vendors. In the world of COUNTER and SUSHI, there are different combinations of URLs, requestors, customers, and API, along with vendor-defined extension fields in some cases, that need to be combined for requests. Keeping a shared list of which vendors require which credentials, and which reports they produce was helpful. A community that supports this kind of information sharing would be immensely helpful to users going forward. As a result of the pilot a full suite of user documentation is being created and several templates and lists will be made available.

In addition to support outside of CC-PLUS itself, the pilot participants highlighted several areas where we can still do work to support the management of credentials. The process for uploading and updating credentials for various institutions and providers of data at present is complex and relies on very precisely formatted spreadsheets. But the act of even gathering the credentials in the first place can be time-consuming and require a lot of cooperation with consortium members. While we can’t do anything about the latter, a redesign of the processing of adding and managing the credentials within CC-PLUS could help to smooth the process. A participant from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) noted: “We recently completed a similar exercise for 20% of our members in a different context and it was a lengthy and challenging process. However, that both CRKN and members would then be able to access their reports in a single point of access would certainly facilitate usage data analysis for both the consortium and members long-term.”

Another area for improvement identified was the need for more nuance around user permissions and roles. CC-PLUS was designed for four different types of users: a consortial admin who can manage all institutions and statistics providers in the system, library managers who can manage their own institutions and credentials, universal viewers who can view the statistics gathered for all institutions and institutional users who can view the statistics for their own institution only.

The pilot presented us with our first very large consortium user: the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL), “ a consortium of nearly 300 Kentucky libraries and institutions, including colleges and universities, public libraries, K12 schools, hospitals, Department of Defense libraries, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), and more.” The existing 4 user roles did not meet KYVL’s needs to have administrators and managers of various groups of libraries within their consortia, for example, a user who could manage all the high school libraries, or all the public libraries. Access could only be granted to manage all institutions and providers, or only one. This pilot feedback has been extremely valuable to our future design plans.

In March, informed by the pilot feedback and other project goals, the CC-PLUS Steering Committee submitted a proposal to the Institute for Museum and Library Services for an additional two years of funding. The new grant project will have three overarching goals:

  1. Improve CC-PLUS based on feedback: enhance user interface, administrative controls, and improve database design and speed.
  2. Fund a demonstration project that uses CC-PLUS as part of a larger data analysis project, combining usage data in a seamless pipeline with other library data for analysis.
  3. Build a strong CC-PLUS community.

The last goal is inspired by the pilot in several ways. Documentation and supporting information gathered by and for the pilot group will be used to create a hub for users. The listserv created to support the pilot participants communication will be repurposed into a general CC-PLUS users list. Finally, the model created by the pilot, wherein a consortium can have access to a hosted instance of CC-PLUS for several months to try it out, and then can export data to be ingested and used in a self-hosted version, will be extended to others.

The CC-PLUS Steering Committee would like to thank the pilot participants for their dedication and important contribution to the project:

  • CRKN – Émilie Laveleé-Funston and Jaclyn McLean
  • GALILEO – John Stephens and Ken Henslee
  • KYVL – Ilona Burdette and Enid Wohlstein
  • OhioLINK – Joanna Voss
  • SCELC – Jason Price
  • TRAILS – Hannah McKelvey

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 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.


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

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:

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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.