SFX System Committee, July 9, 2015

In-Person Meeting


Members present: Lauren Jackson-Beck, ARU (ph); Max King, IIT (ph), Joanna Kolendo, CSU; Andy Meyer, NPU; Jeffrey Matlak, WIU (ph), Steve Oberg, WHE (chair); Cindy Scott, SML; Peter Tubbs, RSH

Members absent: Xiaotian Chen

Staff present: Mary Burkee (ph), Denise Green, Paige Weston


  1. Welcome and introductions
    Steve welcomed everyone who was physically present or joined via conference call. As part of introductions, committee members shared their #1 most irritating thing about SFX. Some of these include system complexity, terminology, training issues, figuring out how to onboard as a new SFX admin without local documentation of prior implementation decisions, and more. Questions were raised about expectations and responsibilities for committee members.

    Steve volunteered to write meeting minutes for the committee from now on.

  2. Webinars remaining to be done or new ones to create
    Paige highlighted all of the existing webinars that have been developed over the past few years. (These can be reviewed on the CARLI website.) She also distributed a list of ideas that prior committee members had come up with for webinars, noting those that remained to be done and who had previously volunteered to do them. These are available for committee members to review.


    • Andy and Joanna agreed to collaborate on doing the webinar, “How Can I Customize the Look and Feel of SFX?”
    • Peter volunteered to do the one entitled, “How Can My Users Report a Problem?”
    • Steve agreed to do "How Do I Add an A-Z Search Widget to My Library's Web Page?”
    • Andy and Steve will finish their work on "How Do I Control Which Links Users See on Our SFX Menu?”
    • Joanna agreed to do "How Do I Search the Knowledge Base?”
    • Denise volunteered to finish "How Do I Tell SFX What We Subscribe To? Using the DataLoader”
    • Peter and Paige will work on a new one, "How Do I Tidy Up My Knowledge Base? Using the Localization Manager”
    • The committee also identified a new webinar to add to the list — "How Does SFX Know What We Subscribe To? The Elsevier Autoloader” — but we didn’t assign anyone to it yet.
  3. Review of committee charge and last year’s annual report
    We didn’t actually have a chance to talk about this in any detail. Steve noted that our committee is relatively new, having been in existence for only a few years. In spite of its newness, the committee has already accomplished a great deal.
  4. Decide on vice-chair/chair-elect
    Members who are eligible for this role include Lauren, Max, Jeff, Andy, Cindy, and Peter. Steve fielded questions about what this role involves, noting that it’s particularly important for the vice-chair/chair-elect to be able to fill in when the chair has to be absent, e.g. for a monthly committee meeting. In the past, one person has volunteered, but if multiple people volunteer, we can work through a way to select one. At this early stage in this year’s committee, everyone needed time to consider whether to volunteer.

    We will revisit this issue at an upcoming meeting when everyone has had time to think more about volunteering.

  5. Establish dates/times for regular meetings
    This past year, the committee met on the second Wednesday of the month at 10-11a. This time works well for this year’s committee as well.

    Paige will email a meeting invitation to committee members. [NOTE: After our meeting, the group decided via email that a better timeslot would be 1-2p.]

  6. Discussion of ideas for FY16 deliverable
    Committee members shared several ideas for projects we could tackle. We also reviewed the deliverables created by previous years’ teams. A decision on what our deliverable will be isn’t due to Susan Singleton until around October. Steve suggested that committee members write up a brief statement of purpose for each of the deliverable ideas to be discussed at our August meeting, and everyone agreed. At that meeting or possibly in September, we will make a final decision. It was noted that we aren’t restricted to just one deliverable.

    We came up with the following ideas and identified who will be responsible for writing up a statement of purpose for each:

    • Local documentation writer's toolkit (Paige)
    • SFX data and other systems (Andy)
    • SFX workflow and intralibrary best practices (Peter)
    • Multiple KBs and link resolver tools (Denise)
    • How are different libraries using SFX (Lauren)
  7. Update on free and open access targets
    Denise reviewed the work done by a subcommittee last year on identifying and prioritizing free and open access targets in SFX. This list was publicized to the broader SFX admin community in CARLI via an email to sfx-ig on 18 March, 2015. She asked the committee whether it felt this work to be worthwhile, whether we should continue this review, and what might be done next.

    Committee members are strongly supportive of this work and believe it is a valuable service for our community. We talked about other possible things that could be done based on this work, and one idea relates to the work that CARLI staff currently does for each weekly update. At the request of member libraries, for some time now, CARLI staff have activated any new or updated SFX getFullTxt targets that are free and open access. Could that service somehow be improved or modified? Committee members shared insights about how they evaluate free and open access targets, noting that this category of target creates a significant number of broken link report errors on a consistent basis.

    We discussed the idea of using the filtering and prioritizing work done by our committee to apply to this CARLI staff service. The idea is that instead of CARLI automatically activating all free and open access targets as they’ve done up ’til now, instead they would use the top priority (meaning: better, more reliable) free and open access targets as the basis for activation work for each SFX KB update. Libraries who then want to activate more than that, could do so at their own discretion.

    Denise and Paige will review this proposal further and will bring it up for further discussion at a future meeting.

  8. Discuss open conference calls
    Open conference calls are held on a quarterly basis. This initiative was begun by last year’s committee. It was very well received by the community, and this year’s committee plans to continue it. The next open conference call is scheduled for 10-11a on Wednesday, 16 September. All committee members are expected to join.

    Although the two open conference calls held so far were deemed successful, members noted a rather steep dropoff in attendance between the first one (18 February) and the second one (20 May). In addition, the feedback we received so far has been informal (based on a verbal question asked by a team member at the end of each of the previous open conference calls). Our committee thinks we should make feedback more formal by issuing a very simple and brief survey after each call. We talked about whether the survey should only go to attendees, or to everyone in the SFX admin committee (I.e. to SFX-IG).

    We also discussed the idea of establishing a set theme or focus for upcoming calls. One idea might be to focus on SFX Admin’s dataloader capabilities, for example. Lauren agreed but felt that we should also leave plenty of time for any other questions or issues raised by attendees.

    Lauren and Cynthia agreed to draft survey questions for Paige to implement in SurveyMonkey. In addition, we decided that the focus for the September call will be on the new Localization Manager recently added to SFX.

  9. An update about the I-SHARE Next TF relating to OpenURL linking
    Steve was unable to meet with the I-SHARE Next TF to obtain any information ahead of our meeting. The reason he added this to the agenda is that our group, to whatever extent it can, needs to be aware of the general direction that I-SHARE Next is heading. Newer generation ILS tend to include OpenURL linking services and functionality as an integrated part of their overall functionality, whereas SFX is currently a standalone system. There are pros and cons to each approach.

    Paige noted that our committee also needs to be ready to provide whatever guidance or support that the other group might need when considering all of the details of an RFP. The work of that task force is highly confidential, though, so their ability to share details is very limited.