April 13, 2007 Minutes

OHIO PUBLIC LIBRARY INFORMATION NETWORK (OPLIN)
ONE HUNDRED FIRST REGULAR MEETING of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES
& ANNUAL BOARD RETREAT

Minutes – April 13, 2007

1. WELCOME & CALL TO ORDER

The one hundred first meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 9:32 a.m. on Friday, April 13, 2007 by Board Chair Donna Perdzock at the eTech Ohio Commission offices in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Jim Kenzig, Donna Perdzock, Bonnie Mathies, Anne Hinton, Mary Pat Essman, Gayle Patton, and Richard Murdock. Terry Casey arrived at 9:35 a.m., and Sandi Thompson arrived at 9:38 a.m.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges (OPLIN), Joel Husenits (OPLIN), Karl Jendretzky (OPLIN), Bobbi Galvin (OPLIN), Jo Budler (State Library), Diane Fink (State Library), and Carol Verny (OHIONET).

2. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (1)

The Chair called for public participation, and there was none.

3. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

Richard Murdock motioned to approve the agenda, Bonnie Mathies seconded. All aye.

4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

Gayle Patton suggested that the Board minutes were generally too detailed, and asked whether they should be more succinct. There was a general discussion about what level of editing would be appropriate, and whether the current length of the Board minutes is cumbersome.

Terry Casey motioned to table the approval of the minutes from the February 9, 2007 meeting until the next Board meeting, Gayle Patton seconded. All aye.

Stephen Hedges said the OPLIN staff would bring a revised version of the February minutes to the next meeting.

5. FINANCE REPORT

Diane Fink gave a detailed finance report. Report A covered budget and expenditures for fiscal years (FY) 2006 and 2007. One library decided their Board would not accept the filtering grant, but all of the other grants have been paid out. Report B covered non-General Revenue Fund (GRF) cash balance for FY 2006 and 2007. Report C covered Gates Staying Connected Grant funds.

Report D covered revenue and cash balance for FY 2006-2007, estimating receipts and disbursements. This report makes the assumption that all budgeted dollars will be paid by June 30, but with no major infrastructure upgrades scheduled before then some of this money will be unspent. Karl Jendretzky’s previous position was paid out of 4S4 funds, but his current one is funded from GRF. His old position is now open.

Report E tracked budget requests and projections for FY 2007 through FY 2009, and showed what the State Library submitted for OPLIN for the FY 2008-09 budgets. On March 15, the Governor released his budget recommendation. OPLIN would receive the amount requested, but not the additional 3% that agencies were asked to submit, so OPLIN would have the same funding level for the next fiscal year. The State Library would maintain a 100% funding level, but other state agencies did not.

The House budget hearing for the State Library was held during the last week of March; Jo Budler testified.

Gayle Patton motioned to approve the finance report, Mary Pat Essman seconded.

Roll call: Jim Kenzig, aye; Donna Perdzock, aye; Bonnie Mathies, aye; Anne Hinton, aye; Mary Pat Essman, aye; Gayle Patton, aye; Richard Murdock, aye; Terry Casey, aye; and Sandi Thompson, aye

6. OLD BUSINESS

6.a. New Board members -- Nominations Committee

Donna Perdzock explained that the Board members leaving in July are on the committee: Anne Hinton, Richard Murdock, Sandi Thompson, and Donna. They have met virtually over the last six weeks to discuss the 14 applications they received. Donna reviewed the spreadsheet detailing the different nominees. The factors to consider were: size of library they currently represent; general job duties there; geography of the candidates around the state; and to a much lesser degree, their gender. The State Library Board would like to have a slate of names to choose from.

The recommendations from the Nominating Committee are: Benjamin Chinni (President of the Euclid Public Library Board); Laura Solomon (Web Applications Supervisor for Cleveland Public Library); Gary Branson (Director of London Public Library); Karl Colon (Director of Greene County Public Library); Don Barlow (Director of Westerville Public Library); and Mike Wantz (Director of Perry County District Library).

Donna noted that there are five positions to fill: four are expirations and will start three-year terms ending in 2010, and one is a resigned position with a term ending in 2009. Donna stated that she is willing to stand for reappointment, but not 100% certain that she can stand for a three-year term.

Gayle Patton noted that most of the recommendations were from northeast Ohio. Terry Casey pointed out that population-wise, that represents most of the state. Jo Budler explained that the State Library Board is very conscious of the demographic representation. There was a general discussion about the pros and cons of the various candidates.

Anne Hinton noted that she was also interested in the circulation systems of the libraries the various candidates represent.

Gayle Patton asked to add Jeff Wale to the list of recommended candidates, and Terry Casey seconded that.

Mary Pat Essman motioned to submit the aforementioned seven names to the State Library Board for their consideration, Gayle Patton seconded. All aye.

7. NEW BUSINESS (Board Retreat presentation of information)

7.a. Ohio Web Library

7.a.i. Development of Ohio Web Library

7.a.i.1. History

Stephen Hedges reviewed the history of the Ohio Web Library project. The OWL web site (ohioweblibrary.org) was initially set up in 2005 to promote the LCO databases, along with the LibrariesConnectOhio.org. Stephen showed both of the sites.

The problem with the sites as they are now is that users can get to the databases, but they have to go through many steps to do so. They were set up more as advocacy pages, and not necessarily as a useful portal to the OWL content. Stephen has talked with the other LCO partners about taking the OWL page and turning it into something cleaner and more useful as a database portal.

A parallel idea is to split the OPLIN web site by placing the databases and content on the OWL site. The OPLIN site currently has two audiences: libraries and the general public. The thought is that we could split it so that oplin.org remains for the libraries (with OPLIN policies, info, etc.) and the OWL site becomes the place for the public to get to the databases and OPLIN content, and possibly more (Resource Sharing, WorldCat, etc.) in order to not just see electronic resources, but also books and open content off of the web.

The questions for the Board are: should OPLIN split its web site; and how should OPLIN brand the sites? The Ohio Web Library is not branded as an OPLIN service right now.

7.a.i.2. Concept 1 demo

Stephen Hedges demonstrated an Ohio Web Library concept page using Google Custom Search as the search engine. Google Custom Search allows you to only search predetermined websites. There are many reputable, freely available websites to draw from, but what is not available is access to the subscription electronic databases that we purchase. EBSCO promises that their data will be in Google soon. NetWellness is already open, and a subset of the entire OCLC WorldCat catalog is open to Google.

OPLIN staff would also like an OWL search engine to search the MORE catalog, so that people can see what is in Ohio library catalogs.

Stephen explained to the Board how Googlebots work. Commercial vendors typically keep the bot out, because they do not want their data on Google. Some vendors set up a special database for Google to index, which is how you get the “Find in a Library” tagged Google results that point to WorldCat.

7.a.i.3. Concept 2 demo

Stephen Hedges then presented another OWL concept, with a search engine (MasterKey) built by IndexData, which is based on more traditional library technology. It is harder to set up, but you can get to more subscription resources. EBSCO, for example, already has OpenURL technology that allows libraries to incorporate their links into a catalog, and this technology would also allow access via MasterKey.

This could be another option for the OWL, but in this case OPLIN might have to release an RFP to have someone set it up for us.

To Item 7.a.ii.

7.a.i.4. KSU Usability Lab

Stephen Hedges mentioned that OPLIN would want to use the Kent State Usability Lab to test the OWL web site before it is released. OPLIN should be able to get a discounted price, since we are non-profit. Ideally, staff would like to develop several different versions and have them comment on the layout, etc.

Stephen further explained that INFOhio and OHIOLINK have their own interfaces that the schools and academics are already accustomed to using. The OWL web site would be an interface for everybody, with the assumption that anyone who goes there is a public library customer or Ohio resident. OPLIN has not received any negative feedback from any of the LCO partners on this.

Jo Budler explained the State Library Board’s recent funding commitments for OWL content. They want to evaluate the content currently offered and establish new pricing on it. This may potentially mean new or different databases. The Board will vote on LSTA funding at their May meeting, and there should be a formal commitment then.

7.a.ii. Web site split

Terry Casey suggested that OPLIN (and libraries in general) need to promote how and why any library–related search is better than Google.

Stephen explained that the vision is to get OWL up and running so well that OPLIN can then do serious promotion of it, but only if it works well first. Neither of these options seem like they would require an exceptional amount of maintenance.

Jim Kenzig expressed that he sees this model as essentially the same as Google, but with a longer name to type in. It seems like this is going away from the “premium content” model that OPLIN has already established. Jim thinks that the OneSearch federated search model is a more appropriate direction.

Jo Budler expressed that this OWL concept is trying to broaden things for the public, because nobody understands what OPLIN is.

Stephen Hedges noted that reference librarians are not enamored with OPLIN’s current WebFeat system. Many library websites have a catalog search and then OPLIN OneSearch somewhere else on the screen. The goal here is to get it all into one search box. Ideally, OPLIN would be able to move the content we are buying up in the relevance list, if that’s possible.

The vision is to develop a better OneSearch that also pulls in content from the free web, and to make the whole thing behave more like Google.

Sandi Thompson asked if libraries would be able to tie a revamped Ohio Web Library search into their own catalogs. Stephen explained that the OPLIN staff would like this to be a basic part of the web page templates OPLIN would provide for public libraries interested in the OPLIN web hosting service.

There was a general discussion about the popularity of Google versus library search services.

Sandi Thompson said that she believes OPLIN should be the "chaser": the organization trying new things. If this is a good thing to try, then the OPLIN staff should.

Jo Budler stated that the State Library has made a commitment to marketing and putting money into it. They would like OPLIN to put together a good product and market it.

Terry Casey said he thinks OPLIN should pay Google money and partner and come up with something, instead of creating something brand new. He feels it would be cheaper to pull off and gain quicker acceptance.

Stephen Hedges summed up the discussion. OPLIN staff want to work the library catalog into the OWL search, and there appears to be no resistance to the idea of splitting the OPLIN web site. What about branding? Do we keep the OPLIN brand off of it?

There was general agreement from the Board that a small link explaining where this information is coming from would be sufficient, but that it does not have to be prominently placed.

Karl Jendretzky explained a possible method by which OPLIN could integrate premium purchased content into the main Google search. However, some database vendors might not want us to put their data into Google.

Stephen Hedges noted that the salespeople from Wilson did not object to the idea. OPLIN owns the Wilson Biographies content. OPLIN would only be asking the vendors to allow us to show the link to the premium content, and then OPLIN would do the authentication.

OPLIN has already been promoting the idea of putting MARC records into library catalogs, but now staff would like to put the library catalogs into the OWL.

OPLIN might have to put out an RFP for someone to develop this, and it might cost some money, likely a few thousand dollars to various vendors.

To Item 7.a.i.4.

7.a.iii. Open Internet content in Ohio Web Library

7.a.iii.1. MARC

7.a.iii.2. OAI-PMH

7.a.iii.3. Google

Stephen Hedges noted that Karl Jendretzky’s document was already out of date; changes were made regarding “sitemap” yesterday.

7.a.iv. Marketing OWL

7.a.iv.1. Branding

Stephen Hedges sensed that the OWL page would not need an OPLIN logo on it, but some line mentioning LCO/OPLIN with a link back to the OPLIN web site.

The Board generally approved of OPLIN staff moving ahead on this plan.

There was a break at 11:10 a.m.

The meeting resumed at 11:22 a.m.

Stephen Hedges reported that OCLC is already doing work related to what we are talking about, with a new product called WorldCat Local. Stephen showed a web page about it on the OCLC web site.

Carol Verny (OHIONET) explained the program, which aims to get library holdings out onto the web. A number of libraries around the country are using this program to push their holdings up into the Google/Amazon environment, in order to reach non-traditional library users. WorldCat Local takes the WorldCat database and moves it from a librarians’ utility into something that they think people who start searches on Google will find more appealing. It has a much simpler interface. The attempt of the program is to identify publishers that will reveal their content on the web, and to do authentication in a secure but effective way to allow patrons to get to these things online. The University of Washington Library is going to be the pilot test, followed by a group of southern California libraries, and then the University of Illinois.

WorldCat Local could also be a face to fit over what libraries have as their local OPAC. The authentication would not be done by library card or zip code, but based on their affiliations. Certain results would be pushed to the top of the list. So if OPLIN were providing this for the State of Ohio, its list of proprietary databases would be pushed to the top of the search results.

Jo Budler noted that if the State Library has something like this to show state employees, they could pitch it as an entire state service. The State Library has asked OCLC to put them on the pilot testing list after the University of Illinois.

Carol Verny noted that the main obstacle is that the OCLC database is proprietary; if a library does not catalog with OCLC, then they cannot use WorldCat Local. But libraries are more and more interested in opening up their holdings to the world.

Jo Budler hopes that the State Library will implement it this fall.

Carol Verny noted that WorldCat Local does not require libraries to change what they have in place for resource sharing, etc. It connects to most everything. This is a fundamental shift in philosophy in recognizing that libraries do not want to give up what they have developed over time.

Stephen Hedges wondered whether, keeping in mind that OPLIN has significant E-rate money coming in every year, someone should approach OCLC about doing WorldCat for all Ohio public libraries?

7.b. Technology Training

7.b.i. Training support

7.b.i.1. WebJunction e-learning catalog (block of classes for State?)

Stephen Hedges explained that OPLIN could purchase a block of WebJunction e-learning classes for the state with available E-rate money. OPLIN has a new goal in the recently approved strategic plan to sponsor conferences and training pertaining to new web technologies. WebJunction classes are classes anyone can buy and take over the web. One block of classes is called “web development classes” and if you buy them in a block, you get a discount.

Jim Kenzig suggested that the list of offerings presented is out-of-date, and Stephen said he needs to ask WebJunction if they are planning to update their offerings.

Sandi Thompson said she took a couple of WebJunction classes along with her staff, and said they are similar to other online classes in structure.

Stephen Hedges explained that OPLIN would want to spend money on buying web technology classes for anyone in an Ohio public library and would have to make sure that they relate to current technology. OPLIN could control the IP of the person taking the class; it would have to be from a library IP.

Diane Fink noted that the State Library bought a block of WebJunction courses through OCLC for the Rural Sustainability Grant. Attendees were given one free class.

Stephen explained that if the Board likes this idea, OPLIN staff can shop around. The courses need to be current and students would need to use a library computer to do it. We do not have to pursue WebJunction specifically.

Jim Kenzig suggested that Content Management System training might be more beneficial for libraries.

Gayle Patton expressed that the offer would likely be well-received by the public library community.

7.b.ii. Conference support

7.b.ii.1. Overview

Stephen Hedges provided a summary of what OPLIN has spent on conferences during 2006. OPLIN has not spent any money yet in FY2007, but have committed money to the Library Partnership Summit, the OLC Annual Conference, and TechConnections 8.

7.b.ii.2. TechConnections 8 correspondence

Karl Jendretzky and Stephen are presenting at TechConnections 8; Stephen recommends increasing OPLIN’s support to $2000.

Mary Pat Essman motioned to spend $2000 for TechConnections 8 sponsorship, Gayle Patton seconded. All aye.

Roll call: Jim Kenzig, aye; Donna Perdzock, aye; Bonnie Mathies, aye; Anne Hinton, aye; Mary Pat Essman, aye; Gayle Patton, aye; Richard Murdock, aye; Terry Casey, aye; and Sandi Thompson, aye.

7.c. Network Development

7.c.i. New State fiber-optic contract

7.c.i.1. OPT-E-MAN Ethernet -- "lines vs. clouds"

Stephen Hedges explained that there are many new network developments. In February, OIT signed a new contract with AT&T for Ethernet services statewide. In this discussion, Stephen would like to explain what is different about Ethernet compared to what we have now, what has changed in the state contracts, what changes are coming in the statewide backbone, the status of circuit upgrades, and finally have a conversation about bandwidth and the formula we use for allocating circuit capacities to libraries.

Ethernet services for libraries would mean putting fiber optic lines into buildings instead of copper T1 lines. Stephen explained how T1 lines work, their size, capacity, etc. T1 lines work well for data, but have their genesis in voice communications.

Ethernet cable costs more and is harder to work with, because it is more delicate. It works with light; each channel is a different color. It’s much more efficient, and can have many channels running on different colors.

Once a signal gets out of a library and out to a carrier (AT&T, etc.), it is carried on a line all the way back to the OPLIN core at the SOCC. With fiber optic cable and Ethernet, it is a different system; the carrier is called a cloud. There is no physical hard line from here to there; instead the hard line goes into a cloud that can cover a large area, it passes through the cloud and comes out where needed.

Karl Jendretzky explained that with Ethernet, OPLIN would pay for a port at either end of the cloud, instead of a line. OPLIN would also pay for the speed on that port (the amount of data you can put into the cloud). If you want to create additional connections later, no other lines need to be run. If you want to set up additional VLANs (virtual local area networks), you can have virtual connections throughout the cloud.

Clouds are currently set up in different metro areas. With the new AT&T contract, they have three pricing points – you pay for the port, the CIR (the speed your port is allowed to go to), and ROS (regional OPT-E-MAN service). OPT-E-MAN can set up an entire metro area to look like it’s on one LAN. There are different grades on the state contract (CSME, bronze, silver, etc.) and each has a better level of Quality of Service and faster speed guarantees.

The price is postalized, so it does not matter where you are in the state. Service in Cleveland is the same as service in Caldwell.

The missing piece is how to tie the regional metro clouds together. ROS is a cloud that holds two others together, so you can send traffic from one metro area to another as Ethernet, end to end.

There was a general discussion about dark fiber. Karl explained that it does not take much fiber to run a network. The Third Frontier basically runs on two strands around the state. OPLIN put in 24 strands from the building's telecommunications closet to our office, but uses only one strand and thus created a very small amount of “dark fiber.” Fiber brokers go around and figure out who has dark fiber and who needs it. We are not interested in owning any fiber; we want the service that AT&T offers and let them manage the fiber.

Karl talked about Cleveland’s coming purchase of a fiber optic network; they are buying enough capacity for their branches, but they can handle more later. Ethernet allows them to upgrade capacity without any new connections.

Karl also explained the costs involved when installing fiber. AT&T does a site survey and decides if you need space for equipment, new holes into your building, etc. – this would be the library’s cost.

Time Warner Telecom also has a contract, and they would take care of all the costs.

The meeting was halted for lunch at 12:11 p.m.

The meeting reconvened at 12:30 p.m.

Stephen Hedges explained that the advantages of fiber are that if OPLIN needed to upgrade a circuit later, it would be very easy. Network technicians would not have to go to the public library; a software setting could just be changed remotely. Network traffic is much more efficient as well, as staff saw when we hooked up Worthington and Westerville. Their T1s had been a bottleneck to some extent, but with Ethernet their traffic traveled better and usage jumped significantly. Stephen thinks we will find that it is not just the size of the connection, but the type of connection that can choke bandwidth.

The smallest Ethernet is 5Mpbs, which is the equivalent of over three T1 lines. 10mbps Ethernet is a better price point. Then it jumps to 20, 50, 100, and 1000Mbps. We have a 1000Mbps connection between the OPLIN office and the SOCC. In our case, this is a different service, an actual line. Stephen explained the OPLIN-SOCC connection in detail.

Stephen continued that the carriers suggest that Ethernet is going to be “the thing” for a long time. They will continue to support T1 lines, but they want to get everyone on Ethernet.

Karl explained that it’s a fairly new way of doing things. The regional services are essentially tests here in Ohio.

There was another break at 12:36 p.m.

The meeting resumed at 1:09 p.m.

7.c.ii. Circuit upgrades

7.c.ii.1. Status report

Stephen Hedges presented a chart of pending circuit upgrades at various public libraries. OPLIN staff has previously identified 18 libraries that needed more bandwidth under the new allocation formula. In most of those cases, OPLIN has either picked up the billing for libraries paying for an extra T1, or OPLIN has installed a new T1 (particularly in the Cleveland area). Some libraries are already taking on their own upgrades.

Cleveland Public Library is installing OPT-E-MAN to their branches. They are waiting until after July 1 to install, so they can E-rate it. It will take time to get the branches up, the work orders processed, etc., and connecting the other CLEVNET libraries will not begin until that is done. OPLIN is going to put in extra T1s in the meantime. With the new AT&T contract, OPLIN would not be penalized if we disconnect it within a year.

For a couple of the upgrades, OPLIN is working with Time Warner Telecom, which is able to give us good deals in the southwest corner of the state. We have proposals from them, but are waiting for approval from OIT. Stephen reviewed each case for the Board.

OPLIN has something working on all 18 cases.

Stephen feels certain that any public library can buy Ethernet on the state contract, since OPT-E-MAN services are addendums to the SOMACS contract. The libraries doing their own OPT-E-MAN deals have been dealing with AT&T one-on-one.

Stephen reviewed the OIT document outlining pricing for CSME vs. OPTEMAN. For CSME, there are no Quality of Service guarantees, and only three speeds. For OPT-E-MAN, there are more speed options, plus QoS guarantees. Stephen also reviewed the regional OPT-E-MAN service, which is a separate contract.

Stephen also explained in detail how the billing works out. Different pieces – port, CIR, ROS - are priced separately, which can be complicated.

7.c.ii.1.a. Wagnalls-CLC request for circuit

Stephen Hedges explained that OPLIN just got this request a couple of days ago. Each Central Library Consortium library has a line that comes from their public library building to a central point (not to the SOCC). To use their shared catalog, the traffic goes back and forth. In reviewing the connections for Discovery Place, CLC, Ashtabula, CLEVNET, and SEO, staff found they are all shared catalogs with no direct connections to each other.

CLC has asked us to install a line for Wagnalls Public Library. Right now the line CLC is using for their catalog is considered to be Wagnalls’ connection. For Cleveland Public Library, a similar situation, OPLIN provides them a DS3 to do this; a single aggregated line back to Columbus that carries their traffic as well as the CLEVNET traffic.

CLC now wants a separate T1 line from Wagnalls back to the SOCC. The question is, should OPLIN provide a connection to a consortium like that? In the case of Cleveland, we do not.

In the past, OPLIN has considered assuming a network management charge to CLC. Wagnalls was not an official library in 1996, but OPLIN provided a line anyway. Should we do what CLC is asking: install a separate line for Wagnalls Library, and let them pay for their original line to Columbus?

CLC wants to split staff traffic from public traffic (back to Columbus). The Wagnalls connection is E-ratable. OPLIN is not paying for that connection right now, but down the line it may qualify. If we do that, does Cleveland then say – pay for ours too?

In short, do we provide connections to a consortium?

There was a general discussion about the history of Wagnalls and funding. Stephen noted that they now qualify as Ohio public library 251, and receive LLGSF. But in 1996, when we put the connection to Lithopolis, they were not official.

Sandi Thompson noted that most upgrades happen when a library is maxing their bandwidth. If Wagnalls is not, then why should OPLIN upgrade their line?

Stephen noted that OPLIN now provides connections to public libraries, regionals, the State Library, and SEO. (When Kent State University moves into the State Library, we will not support their connection.) Do we add consortiums to that list?

Stephen explained that OPLIN staff can put in the work order to hook up Wagnalls. But at some point, the OPLIN Board needs to decide on a policy: do we or don’t we provide connections to a consortium?

7.c.iii. Library systems installing Ethernet ports

Stephen Hedges explained that this was already covered in the chart he provided earlier.

7.c.iv. Discussion of new formula for allocating bandwidth

7.c.iv.1. Proposal for next year's formula

Stephen Hedges explained the various components of the bills we receive from OIT. When we recently upgraded Worthington to Ethernet, our bill for bandwidth increased tremendously, so OPLIN staff have been talking with OIT about the way they do the billing. OIT has a target in mind for how much money it will take to pay for total public library bandwidth. The T1 rate was set years ago, and they never adjusted the pricing. So when we added Ethernet, they raised the charges based on the new estimated usage of Ethernet to make up for what they have undercharged on T1s.

Stephen reviewed a chart of total OPLIN traffic going through the SOCC. Karl Jendretzky explained the chart. Instead of going library-by-library, OPLIN would like OIT to charge us based on our total usage each month. OIT has mentioned charging OPLIN $60/Mbps instead of $90, which is much more in line with the industry standard.

Also, OPLIN and OIT are talking about changing the bills slightly, to get a better E-rate discount. Our network management RFQ is officially dead now, because it was not in the best interest of the state, nor is it in the best interests of OPLIN if we E-rate the entire OIT bill. The vendors should have been notified by OIT, but some are just finding out.

OIT has a new CIO, and on July 1, OIT will go under OBM. OIT folks seems to like this change, and are more upbeat about the future.

Discussion of the new formula was picked up later under item 7.d.iv.

7.c.v. OSCnet and ohio.gov (OIT) network

7.c.v.1. Comparison

7.c.v.2. Glossary of network terms

7.c.v.3. Announcement of OIT/OBM merger

The backbone of the state network is going to change under Governor Strickland. It is not official yet, but the “Next Generation” network is becoming clearer.

OSCnet (formerly Third Frontier Network) and OIT were competing with each other for state business. OPLIN has had overtures from OSCnet for years to put our traffic on their network with colleges and schools. Stephen Hedges reviewed a breakdown between the organizations, who they serve and what they provide.

The NextGen network looks like it will be a combination of OIT and OSCnet. OSCnet will carry state traffic long distances, and OIT will handle things like network management and last mile services. Nobody has decided how they are going to do it yet, but that means the ROS piece of the new state contract with AT&T would actually be handled by OSCnet instead.

Stephen explained that a semi-merger between OSCnet and OIT would not necessarily improve compatibility between OPLIN services and those offered by OhioLINK and INFOhio. The network architecture does not affect services you can get as much as it effects deeper, carrier-level things. The services you put over the network are not going to change. A subtle change might occur though; OPLIN could have traffic from a public library that goes directly to a college, so it would not have to bounce out to the Internet and back.

Stephen and Karl explained what changes would happen to OPLIN Internet traffic on OSCnet vs. the current OIT configuration.

Karl explained that there is not a lot of info to go on right now, and outlined how OSCnet would probably work. Stephen suggested that it would give OPLIN a level of robustness and redundancy we do not currently have. OIT would have to provide routers. Karl noted that it would also deconstruct our current core arrangement.

Stephen explained that OPLIN can only mark time until this gets figured out. A push is coming from the Strickland administration, and when they get it together, we can start aggressively moving ahead on installing Ethernet. If it does not come together, the state contract is the fallback. For now, OIT has the final say on each new library connection, whether it uses the AT&T contract or OSCnet.

7.c.vi. Bandwidth prices

7.c.vii. Network management

7.c.viii. Caching and compressing trials

Stephen Hedges reviewed OPLIN’s trials with caching engines, a way to reduce the amount of bandwidth used by public libraries. The Stratacache devices, which worked great as a trial in Cincinnati, but then would not work at all for OPLIN (even after their engineers became involved), have been donated to Cleveland Public Library. If they can cache some of their traffic, it will reduce our total bandwidth.

Stephen explained that OPLIN is also working with Jim Kenzig and his public library with a new device that compresses traffic on the web. The trial period is done, and already generated charts for comparisons. The device reduced traffic by a third with no noticeable drop in quality, but it is rather expensive – you would have to install one on each end of a given circuit. OPLIN and OIT staff are also trying different things on the routers to see if they can compress traffic.

Part of the network upgrade between OPLIN and the SOCC was so OPLIN staff can set up test networks and try things out, instead of looking for library volunteers.

7.d. Web Services Development

7.d.i. “Server farm” ideas

Stephen Hedges reviewed the web hosting document. Karl and Stephen were discussing commercial web hosts and the services they provide, and decided to map out what OPLIN is capable of doing. OPLIN would have much less storage and support than a commercial host could provide, but OPLIN staff do not think public libraries would need that much. We would provide web site templates, FTP access, subscription databases, PHPMyAdmin, forum software, one free domain name, unlimited subdomains, a statistics package, a possible secure (SSL) server, etc.

Stephen explained that there is no inherent problem with commercial services, but some libraries might prefer having OPLIN do it. We would not provide a separate e-mail server, ILS hosting, or an individual chat server.

7.d.ii. SAN in place for web hosting

7.d.ii.1. OPLIN-SOCC diagram

7.d.ii.2. Firewalls

Karl Jendretzky reviewed changes that will soon happen with OPLIN’s local network configuration, advantages of the new arrangement, and how it will help with web hosting. Our office and SOCC servers are on separate networks; integrating the firewalls of the two is tricky, and our support structure is problematic.

7.d.iii. Templates for library web sites

7.d.iii.1. Plone, Drupal & Wordpress

Stephen Hedges explained that since OPLIN almost has the hardware for web hosting ready, we now have to develop the service itself. Part of this is developing web page templates.

Stephen reviewed the Plinkit service, already used in Oregon and based on Plone software, which provides web page templates for libraries.

Jo Budler and Stephen asked Plinkit about pricing this for Ohio, but the price seemed too high for just a template and a nice manual. The money is supposedly used to develop the program further.

Stephen figured that if 10% of public libraries use our web hosting service, OPLIN will meet its goal. The target is small libraries that do not have the technical expertise to keep their own web servers. If the accompanying web templates are very nice, a few medium-size libraries might be interested, too.

7.d.iv. Library Services Manager

7.d.iv.1. Proposed qualifications

7.d.iv.2. Position description

7.d.iv.3. Draft Job Posting

Stephen Hedges reviewed the posting for the Library Services Manager position. He focused on minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications, and is convinced that we need someone with library experience.

Diane Fink reported that the hiring control period has been extended through the end of April. Exceptions to the first period were limited to health/safety positions, but the second one is looser. Any open job critical to the management and administration of an agency can be submitted for an exception. Diane does not know if the period will be extended again.

Stephen thinks OPLIN should wait until the end of April, and if the period is extended again, we can ask for an exemption.

At this point in the meeting, the conversation circled back to a discussion about bandwidth allocation.

Different types of traffic run over different ports (Internet traffic on port 80, e-mail on something else, chat on something else, etc.). Stephen Hedges asked whether OPLIN should allow anomalous traffic (Runescape, etc.) to drive our policies on bandwidth, or do we only count “legitimate” traffic, based on the port usage? Also, what about wireless? Stephen is working on a proposal looking at the type of traffic, not just the amount, and basing the bandwidth formula on that somehow. Karl has talked to engineers at the SOCC, and it seems possible to do it this way. The question is, should we do it this way?

Donna Perdzock asked about outgoing bandwidth. In the future, public libraries may be using bandwidth for videos (for example, Euclid has city council meetings on her web site), podcasting, etc.

Stephen explained that transmit bandwidth is normally far behind receive bandwidth; in fact, if a library's traffic does not display this pattern, OPLIN looks for a virus. In the near term, he does not anticipate any problem with need for transmit bandwidth for videos, etc.. The OPLIN Board will probably tweak the formula every year anyway, should that problem develop.

Karl suggested that down the road, high-quality video will probably come from a more torrent-style distributed network, instead of loaded onto a single web server.

7.e. Database Development

7.e.i. Budget

7.e.i.1. Governor's Executive Budget

7.e.i.2. House Bill 119

7.3.i.3. Database budget

Stephen Hedges reviewed the Governor’s recommended budget for OPLIN, which is flat-funded. He explained the particular line item that looks like we asked for a 59% increase, but is actually an accounting anomaly; this is just a request for spending authority, not a request for state funds.

OPLIN is defined in the text of House Bill 119. It is the same language as the year before, except for the filtering software funds; the legislature proposes to take out the language saying 50% has to be spent on filter purchases.

7.e.ii. Database selection/priority

7.3.ii.1. Correspondence with Content Selection Committee

Stephen Hedges explained that the OPLIN Board needs to talk about where we want to spend money in our budget. He reviewed a breakdown of what we spend on our individual databases. Many databases are covered by LSTA money (Newsbank, LearningExpress Library), but we put in money for EBSCO, Encyclopedia Britannica, NoveList, Consumer Health Complete, Wilson Biographies, and Ohio Capital Connection.

Stephen noted that he started a conversation with the Content Selection Committee about dropping Consumer Health Complete. He also started talking with OHIONET about taking over the group database contracts, and everyone thought that was fine. OHIONET will handle billing and contract stuff, and OPLIN will handle support. This arrangement went over well at the Northeast OLC Chapter Conference, and will simplify things for libraries.

Carol Verny reported that OHIONET has issued 550 quotes to public libraries about optional databases.

Dropping Consumer Health Complete was considered because OPLIN has only had it a year; it was purchased as an extra because we had extra money. Health information is an area where there is already a lot of free info on the Internet. CHC is a nice resource, but Stephen felt not enough people were using it to justify the cost. EBSCO points out that first couple of months were slow, but recently use been more consistent.

NetWellness is open to Google, unlike CHC. They shared their server logs for 2006 with us. The statistics are not as detailed, but NetWellness clearly gets much heavier use than CHC and does not currently cost OPLIN anything. Note that the extra 3% in our budget requests would have gone towards NetWellness development. Gov. Strickland's staff is now working with the FCC to get a grant for NetWellness.

The Content Advisory Committee is concerned about stability. Once OPLIN gives libraries a particular database, it is tough to take it away.

Stephen reviewed the amount of E-rate funds used for databases. He anticipates getting $1 million back in early FY 2008. The question is: should OPLIN spend a half-million from E-rate for databases, as we have in past? We may be looking at a half-million in network upgrades. We have a lot of Cisco routers near the end of their life, and we are talking about running Ethernet services; in the next fiscal year, we will probably be upgrading a lot of routers, and we really should do all of them. That might add up to a million dollars.

Jim Kenzig said OPLIN should plan to do router upgrades every three years or so anyway.

Stephen suggested OPLIN might be able to start doing some of them, but not all at one time. We have the money to do that, though. What should we spend $500,000 on, or do we just keep it in the bank?

Stephen noted that it also looks like we are going to get the E-rate refund that we appealed. The FCC has been granting a lot of appeals recently, to the point where one Congress person has started questioning the number of times the FCC has apparently been waiving E-rate rules. OPLIN staff are not sure if that will affect OPLIN or not, but we might well get our appeal approved in the next couple of months. If so, reimbursements jump to about $2 million. So what do we buy?

One option would be for OPLIN to take over library branch connections as well as the main ones. That would cost about $2 million a year. OPLIN could recover part of the cost from libraries.

OPLIN could also put the money into OWL development, buying WorldCat for all of the Ohio libraries, etc.

Stephen does not think OPLIN can spend $1 million a year on network upgrades, and if we do our E-rate paperwork right, we should get a million every year.

Diane Fink noted that if OPLIN takes over the branches, and supposing that E-rate ends three years from now, OPLIN would have to take a service away. Diane further noted that OBM still has the authority to take money that is sitting unspent in 4S4/rotary accounts (they did just that a few years ago). If OPLIN has a plan, a justification for how we are going to spend 4S4 funds, that would be better than it just sitting there.

A general discussion ensued about what the priorities should be for spending this money: databases, equipment, development, PR/marketing, out-of-the-box ideas like statewide WorldCat, etc.?

Gayle Patton and Terry Casey hit upon the idea of using focus groups to determine how the money might be spent. Different types of library people would appreciate OPLIN asking for their input. OPLIN should ask people what they want.

Other points expressed included that it does not seem right to spend more money on database, given the lackluster usage statistics, the fact that with the OSC/OIT merger, OPLIN’s circuit prices should go down (not up), most library staff are not aware of new technologies affecting libraries, etc. There are too many variables.

Gayle Patton suggested that OPLIN is in a status quo situation right now, and it is time to re-energize things. If we had good ideas from the library community, we could start some new things and get people back in touch with OPLIN.

There was a general discussion about OPLIN as a “think tank” to move the profession. There was also general talk about focus groups. Stephen Hedges plans to talk to Wayne Piper about this, and at the next Board meeting will have more plans to share with the Board.

7.e.iii. Database MARC records

Stephen Hedges reported that OPLIN recently installed Koha, so we could load MARC records for databases into a catalog and see how they look (instead of asking a public library to test them for us).

Karl Jendretzky did a demonstration of how a MARC record for a database would look in a library catalog.

Stephen talked about the zip code request in our current IP authentication. He wants to remove it, and just keep city statistics from incoming IP addresses. Zip codes are only used as statistics for libraries that want to know them, and OPLIN staff would like to get rid of that last authentication hurdle.

7.e.iv. Database “on the spot” training

Stephen Hedges reported that Jay Burton (State Library), who has done extensive training for how to use OPLIN databases, has been using CamStudio to film short “how to” videos, and is interested in developing these further. CamStudio is an open source application, and Karl quickly demonstrated how it works. links to these videos could be placed in the listing of databases on our web page.

7.f. Other business

7.f.i. OPLIN Service Mark renewal

Stephen Hedges noted that the name “OPLIN” is a registered service mark. It costs us $500 every ten years and the ten years is up for renewal . A law firm in town has handled the registration before and occasionally sends us correspondence about it. Joel Husenits and Stephen looked into this matter and feel that OPLIN has probably established the mark by usage. Stephen also talked to the Attorney General’s office about it and they are interested in handling any possible renewal for us and registering with the State at a reduced cost.

As for the OPLIN logo, the old one expires next year. Should we register the new one? The prices would be the same as above.

The general consensus was to have the Ohio AG’s office handle it.

8. OPLIN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT -- Stephen Hedges

8.a. E-rate activity

8.a.i. Audit exit findings #1, #2, #3

Stephen Hedges reviewed the E-rate audit findings from KPMG. The only money item found is small enough that it will only be mentioned in the management letter. The audit covered the first year Don Nuss handled the E-rate paperwork, and it was a lot better than it had been prior to that.

8.b. Office activities

Stephen Hedges talked about the recent Code4Lib Conference, where he did a “lightning talk” about The OPLIN 4cast.

Stephen also talked about recent OWL meetings with the LCO partners. Both Stephen and Joel Husenits have run the general OWL plan by LCO folks.

8.c. Databases and Network REPORTS

8.c.i. Database usage

Stephen Hedges noted that searches are above last year’s number, and document retrievals are starting to pull ahead also.

8.c.ii. Support Center -- (February and March, and praises)

Stephen Hedges noted that diagnostic disconnections are high right now.

He also talked about the Biannual Report to the Leadership, which he uses as an opportunity to inform the legislators about library activities.

9. CHAIR'S REPORT

There was no report.

10. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (2)

The Chair called for public participation, and there was none.

11. ADJOURNMENT

Terry Casey motioned to adjourn the meeting at 3:34 p.m.