24 February 2010

Digital Developments Working Group Meeting Minutes

NOTE: The following minutes are unapproved and will be formally agreed at the next meeting of the working group.

1. Welcome and Apologies for Absence

Present: John Tuck (Chair – JT), Gavin Beattie (GB), John Gilby (JG), Georgina Parsons (GPa), Glyn Price (GPr), Gurdish Sandhu (GS).

Apologies: Bethan Adams (BA), Sarah Crofts (SC), Douglas Dodds (DD), Marcus Wolley (MW).

Also in attendance was Andrew Amato, M25 Web Services Project Officer.

2. Previous Meeting

The minutes from previous meeting held on 9 December 2009 were agreed as a true record.

Actions from previous meeting:

  • Action 2.1 JG/AA to carry out further work with usage data, liaising with group members prior to the January 2010 Steering Group meeting – Action complete (see below).
  • Action 2.2 JG to obtain more images for the development version of Find-a-library and advertise the service once live – Action will remain ongoing and not be reported in future.
  • Action 3.1 JG/JT to chase further responses for InforM25 updates using the Directors’ Room – Action postponed until virtual server goes live.
  • Action 3.2 JG/AA to investigate virtual hosting at Eduserv to get ideas of cost and practicability. Action complete. [Eduserv contacted and suggested costs were very high, in the region of £100’s per month per server so this option will not be pursued.]
  • Action 3.3 JG/JT to send M25 Staff Room plans to group  – Action complete.
  • Action 4.1 JG to look at possibility of adding links to Find-a-library entries for online museum collections – Action complete. [Relatively easy to add details to individual library entries.]
  • Action 5.1 JT/JG to compose a query about accessibility best practice and post to the Directors’ Room – Action complete.
  • Action 5.2 JT/JG/AA to finalise review brief, distribute to the group and start the work packages – Action complete.
  • Action 6.1 JT to ask GS for SCONUL/HEFCE Shared Services Update – Action complete (see below).

3. M25 Support Team Manager’s Report

JG highlighted items from his report which is summarised below with relevant discussions and actions:

Virtual Server for InforM25

Some progress had been made with SLA details from LSE ITS regarding the virtual server for InforM25. Some final details were being discussed but the cost was acceptable. The databases on the virtual server had recently been successfully updated and if the current live InforM25 server fails, the virtual machine can easily be used.

M25 Staff Room

This project is progressing with two volunteer sessions arranged for early March to define the requirements of the service.


JG reported that the M25 Support Team held a very successful lunchtime session in the LSE Library informing staff about the Consortium and the team’s role. The session included some useful feedback and thoughts about InforM25 and the M25 Staff Room which will be fed into the appropriate projects. The slides from this session can be found on the M25 website athttp://www.m25lib.ac.uk/lunch25_presentation_at_lse_3rd_february_2010_.html 


It is unlikely that HEFCE will be in a position to make a decision regarding the WAM25 bid in the near future. The project’s steering group will meet soon to discuss possible ways forward with the project/concept since it was now around 20 months since the bid was originally submitted.

4. Review of InforM25

JT introduced this item and thanked those that had carried out work on the first work packages.

WP0 Confirm/Create a brief/scope/purpose of the InforM25 suite of services

JG/AA had drafted a report of their investigations on this work package and tabled a further document section containing a draft InforM25 purpose statement. This was further discussed during the meeting and will be finally agreed via email. 
Action 4.1 JG
 to distribute final InforM25 Purpose Statement for agreement.

WP1b Survey of M25 Use of Web Accessibility Standards

A short questionnaire had been sent to M25 institutions and 9 responses had been received. The findings are summarised in the work package report but the recommendations proposed were that InforM25 should:

  • Create an accessibility policy, and relevant page on the InforM25 website.
  • This policy should stipulate attempt at accessibility conformance with the WAI’s WCAG 2.0 guidelines, at least to Level A.
  • Perform an accessibility evaluation, and undertake any remedial work needed to meet Level A compliance, as well as determining how much more work would be needed to reach Level AA, and whether this is feasible.

The above recommendations were agreed by the group with the proviso that the accessibility policy be written for all three M25 websites. 
Action 4.2 JT
 to seek M25 Steering Group approval for an Accessibility Policy that covers all of the Consortium’s web presence (now and future).

WP2 Usage Data

AA summarised the investigations carried out for this work package and resulting draft report section.
Initiated by a comment from GPr, the group discussed the advantages of trying to gain some comparison of InforM25 usage with other services to look at trends. Other services suggested included Copac, SUNCAT, local library catalogues, local resource discovery services. There was also discussion on the importance of meta-searching and it was noted that further data from the InforM25 usage statistics could be extracted.

Action 4.3 All to contact colleagues in their own institution to get some ideas on usage of the local library catalogue and/or resource discovery services over the last 2 years. Ideally ‘visits’ or ‘sessions’ type data would be preferable but if not available, then a graph or some form of trend information would still be interesting for comparison. It was assumed that this sort of data would likely be used by institutional library managers already.

Action 4.4 JG to investigate Copac, SUNCAT, CAIRNS and similar services to see if any usage data was readily available.

Action 4.5 AA to draft text for JT to take to the M25 Steering Group about what statistics the Marketing & Communications Working Group might benefit from receiving on a regular basis.

WP1a Desk Research on User Trends

GB had produced a report for this work package which summarised the findings on many recent relevant publications.

Action 4.6 AA/JG to add GB’s report on User Trends to the DDWG page on the M25 website.

The group agreed to progressing on to the next set of work packages of the review. Noting that the next planned meeting for the group was in June 2010, a progress report was agreed for the end of April 2010 and if required, an additional meeting could then be arranged.

Action 4.7 AA/JG to email progress report on future work packages to the group before the end of April 2010.

There was also some discussion about the marketing of InforM25 and JT suggested that something could be done in the immediate future to raise awareness of InforM25 to see whether this was noticeable in the statistics. This was agreed by the group and that the issue be raised at the March 2010 M25 Steering Group meeting, and also to seek a member of the Marketing & Communications group to attend the June 2010 meeting.

Action 4.8 JT to raise the issue of marketing of InforM25 at the next M25 Steering Group meeting in March 2010.

5. Horizon Scanning Updates


  • JISC launched its 2010-2012 strategy in December 2009. The strand relevant to us is based around “Cost-effective shared infrastructure and resources” . http://www.jisc.ac.uk/aboutus/strategy/strategy1012.aspx
  • SCONUL and JISC are in a three-year partnership looking at a road map for the strategic development of UK library systems. The JISC/SCONUL joint study on the future of library management systems reported in 2008. In the last month the partnership has launched a wiki which reports on progress, and invites the community to participate: http://helibtech.com/ .
  • A JISC study entitled “Online catalogue and repository interoperability” had been published in September 2009. This was produced by the CDLR at Strathclyde. It concludes that there is currently little evidence of interoperability between LMS and repository systems; it recommends that LMS and repositories should expose their data for harvesting more, and that procedures for sharing data and for checking authority headings should be improved. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/reports/2009/scholcommslinksfinalreport.aspx
  • The recent funding call 12/09 “Enhancing library management systems” was mainly small-scale, rather than aimed at collaborative bids (bids of about £5K to £40K invited). LSE had put in a bid to update its online graphical shelf locator. The outcome of this bid is awaited. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities/funding_calls/2009/12/1209lms.aspx

British Library (JT)

The British Library has restructured it Scholarship and Collections  Directorate, moving from a regional/geographic basis to one by subject with emphasis on digital development  and  futures. It will be interesting to see how this works in detail in terms  of engagement with HE.

February 24th 2010 sees  the launch of the UK Web Archive – see www.webarchive.org.uk Connected with this is the Public Consultation on secondary legislation to enable legal deposit to be applied to free UK online publications, closing date March 1st.

SCONUL/HEFCE Shared Services (GS)

To Follow.

Research Information Network (SC)

JT noted thanks to SC for sending these notes.

Researchers of tomorrow (The future of research? Research in a digital age) – A study tracking young doctoral student’s information-seeking behaviour ran a workshop on 8/2/10 to discuss the future of research in a digital age and how researchers are using new online tools. It also looked at the issues posed by the rapidly changing landscape of scholarly communications technologies. Funded by the British Library and JISC, this three year study on the research behaviour of the ‘Generation Y’ scholar is being undertaken by Education for Change, in collaboration with The Research Partnership.http://www.slideshare.net/sarahgentleman/researchers-of-tomorrow
Education for Change page: http://explorationforchange.net/index.php/current-projects/researchers-of-tomorrow/researchers-of-tomorrow-home.html

Information Use: case studies in the Humanities -Following their first round of case studies studying Sciences in November 2009, the RIN will be undertaking a second series of case studies to provide a detailed analysis of how humanities researchers discover, use, create and manage their information resources. This project will focus on the behaviours and needs of researchers working in a number of subject or disciplinary areas in the humanities.  Research will be carried out by Oxford Internet Institute http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/?id=58

Libraries of the future – is a joint project between British Library, JISC, RIN, RLUK and SCONUL which will investigate the future of academic libraries.  A series of workshops is being held in February and March bringing together a range of managers and users to imagine the future of the library. http://www.futurelibraries.info/content/

Eduserv http://www.eduserv.org.uk – SC

A report, Investigation into the use of Microsoft SharePoint in Higher Education Institutions was published in January 2010.  It looks at use of SharePoint in universities, not just for document management but also as a VLE substitute in two institutions and also to support collaboration between researchers in different organisations.

9. AOB

There was none.

10. Next Meetings

Next meeting is arranged at the LSE for 17 June 2010 at 14.00.

Minutes by JG