MnObe Directors’ Meeting [return to minutes ]

MnObe Directors Meeting with Reference Staff
Thursday, Oct. 23rd - 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Macalester College, Campus Center 206

Present: Mike Kathman, Tom Nichol (CSBSJU); Terri Fishel, Jean Beccone, Beth Hillemann (MAC); Bryn Geffert (St. Olaf); Carolyn Sanford (Carleton) arrived at 2 p.m.
Sam Demas was ill and unable to make it; no one from Gustavus was available.

Original Agenda
Review and update of meetings to date
Topics for future meetings
Question Point
Round the table on what each campus is doing of special interest to the group
Other concerns

We began at 1 p.m. with a review of what is happening on each campus. The minutes are disjointed, but consider them a "stream of consciousness" and go with the flow.

Instant Messenger - using for virtual reference. Advertised on library home page. With maintaining two reference desks - someone is on at all hours at one of the two desks. Receive approximately two to three messages per day. Many questions on Latin, and how to cite. The schools trade off on who responds to the messages with an odd/even split. There is a link on web page with instructions on downloading. For the reference desks, one does need sound in order to receive the signals.

EasyProxy - implemented; nearly all databases are accessible off-campus.
Emergency web page when Easy Proxy goes down.

Personal contacts more important than ever. The need for a reference desk presence has become much clearer. There is so much available it is overwhelming to the students. They are doing more visits to faculty member offices.

ALEPH - new website for CSBSJU along with Aleph.
New catalog has a "bookbag" feature which is a fancy mark list. It will merge search results. The system has a built in SDI feature. They are bringing up SFX in Jan.Feb.

LibData web management system designed by U of M - They are using this web management - desc. For products - write once, use multiple, but change it only in one place working with St. Cloud State - need an Apache Server running LINUX. Software available from U.

Digitization Projects - Several going on. Working with FAQ with reommendations tied to Western States Imaging Standards. Digitizing lab being set up.

Experimenting with QuestionPoint - bringing up email side this week. We've been using an Email program for 2 1/2 years but it just goes to one person. With QP more than one person can view the questions, we can assign questions, and we can create a local knowledgebase. We're working on our scripts. We have purchased the advanced option with chat as well as other features. The chat side works with two platforms, but only requires a webbrowser for the patron. Mike K. would like to see a demo for other folks.

RefWorks - implemented. St.Olaf bought EndNote and have a 5 year contract. RefWorks is a webbased product and can output a bibliography in a range of accepted style formats with a plug in program. Unfortunately, the plug in is only available for windows.

InfoFluency Lab pilot - we are in the second year of a pilot project to work with two first year seminars to have a 15 week lab component to cover information literacy/fluency skills integrated into the coursework for the seminar. We have a distributed system whereby individual modules were developed by teams so no single person is doing all the work.

Content Management, Lite - we've been testing Contribute (Macromedia product) to manage content on our library staff intranet pages. All library staff have Contribute installed on their machines and so far it appears to be working.

Other members were at the ACM meeting in Coe College.

Layout of reference room - Bryn was approached by their facilities director to explore having a café in the library. Bryn is tying this in to redesigning the reference area to include an Info Commons.

Next topic - Review and Update since May 5th
The Reference group held a planning meeting on May 27th. They identified a coordinating group - Molly (Carleton), Barbara (Gustavus) , Elizabeth (St. Olaf), David (CSBSJU),and Jean (Mac). Agreed to have three programs for the following academic year:

Colleen did two session seminar on marketing
Initiatives out of those two meetings - branding - "Sharing the Conversation", and "What's in Your ToolBelt".

Mary Sue Lovett - ref work in the arts
Group on literature and visual arts and reviewed best practices.

Three additional sessions planned:
Carolyn and Molly - assessing student learning
Elizabeth H. and Barbara F on peer mentoring - Nov.12 - Wed.
Jean and Tom - teaching and learning styles

Carleton Update -
They have a fifth year intern who is doing design for them. Carolyn shared her samples of Trading cards used instead of business cards. There is a template available for the group (and somewhere I have the handouts with the web addresses - hope to find before final minutes.) The templates were created in Photoshop to be used by other colleges.
Research Toolkit - created posters - can be modified. Links in minutes - see handouts.
Frisbees - "flow in the know"
We got off on a discussion of an animal theme for the five institutions - Lion for St. Olaf, a penguin for Carleton, Johnny Rat for CSBSJU, and Lester our Scotty for Mac. (We have no clue if Gustavus has an animal mascot of some kind…) The opportunities for creativity here are endless.

Mike K. asked about establishing a date for some of the programs now. We also discussed money for outside speakers. The subject of money, led to a discussion of a previously submitted proposal for a grant from ACM

Survey for Information Literacy/Fluency - originally developed with other ACM institutions, we thought it would be a good project for MnObe, plus possibly the Wisconsin Oberlin libraries - Lawrence and Beloit. Learning outcomes is going to be a "big deal" for accreditation groups as per Mike K. It was also suggested that we work with the CSEQ folks to improve questions that do get at library/computing activities. The CSEQ is the College Student Experience Questionnaire (see
We felt a common survey for all of our libraries would be a useful activity.
We could do a pre-survey in first year and a senior survey. Carolyn agreed to put something together. She mentioned the SAILS survey by Kent State, but we're not sure it would apply to Liberal Arts Colleges.

Electronic license proposal for the Oberlin Libraries - it was also announced that the Oberlin group agreed to a resolution to adopt the NERL guidelines when reviewing licenses and to not sign licenses that didn't meet this criteria, whenever possible, to the best of our abilities. We also agreed to go back and try and get our consortiums and regional networks to adopt these principles.

QuestionPoint - we agreed to organize a demo in January. We could even explore if the colleges could collaborate to staff a position for midnight to 7 a.m. to provide 24X7 coverage.

We adjourned at 3 p.m. because Mac had a staff meeting.

Our next meeting of the Directors is to meet with Collection Development folks on Friday, Nov. 21st at 9:30 a.m. at Macalester. Recommended agenda item:
What databases do each of us have - which ones are unique - where are the

Submitted by Terri Fishel