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Coordinating Statewide Virtual Library Development: The Minnesota Experience. David Barton OCLC Site Search Conference May 3,2000. What is ?. A new statewide information system that links public libraries (c.400) academic libraries: public & private (c.100)

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coordinating statewide virtual library development the minnesota experience

Coordinating Statewide Virtual Library Development: The Minnesota Experience

David Barton

OCLC Site Search Conference May 3,2000

what is
What is ?
  • A new statewide information system

that links

    • public libraries (c.400)
    • academic libraries: public & private (c.100)
    • government libraries (c.20)
    • special libraries : not-for-profit
    • school libraries: in other automation systems
    • selected databases

So that they appear to the user as a single resource

the vision behind mnlink
The Vision Behind MnLINK

All people in Minnesota will have access to a wide array of high quality library services and global information resources in a range of formats whenever, wherever, and however the information services are needed.

basic components
Basic Components
  • System X:
    • a shared library automation system for all Mn. public colleges and state govt. libraries + private academic, public, school, and not-for profit libraries which choose to join.
  • The Gateway
    • Web/client servers and interface software to allow approved automated systems to link with System X and each other.
last the library automation strategy team
LAST: The Library Automation Strategy Team
  • Resulted from:
    • Need for Major Minnesota Library Automation System Upgrades
    • Previous cooperation in Minnesota
    • Small group meeting informally
  • Resulted in:
    • LPTF charged by legislature to “explore feasibility of combining LUMINA (UM) and PALS (MnSCU)”
last participants
LAST - Participants
  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • University of Minnesota
  • Private Colleges
  • Minneapolis Public Library
  • St. Paul Public Library
  • Pioneerland Regional Library
  • Higher Education Services Office
last 1995 activities
LAST - 1995 Activities
  • Discussion of Issues
  • Coordination of Activities
  • Environmental Scanning
  • Committees Established
      • Scoping
      • Process of Change
      • ILL
      • Focus Groups
  • Fall Retreat
last features
LAST - Features
  • Represented
    • over 95% of Minnesota academic libraries
    • the two largest municipal libraries
    • a multi-county regional library
    • a significant special library consortium
  • Planning and technical expertise
benefits 1996
Benefits 1996
  • Connections to information resources from anywhere at anytime using World Wide Web.
  • Direct access to the catalogs of nearly all Minnesota libraries
    • Expanded research capabilities
    • Opportunities for expanded resource sharing.
benefits 199610
Benefits 1996
  • Cooperative electronic access to databases.
    • Indexes and full text of magazines articles and images to read, print out or download.
    • Consortia buying power
  • Facilitate collaboration in libraries in acquisitions and technical processing.
  • Creates a Minnesota Virtual Library.
governance operations 1996
Governance & Operations 1996
  • Governance: Library Planning Task Force
      • Established by legislature in 1994
  • Project Mgr./Fiscal Agent: HESO
  • Operational Services contracted to:
    • MnSCU/PALS, UM, others as needed.
  • Leverages existing expertise.
1997 funding
1997: Funding
  • Initial Funding from Legislature
    • $12,000,000 for one-time hardware, software, technical support and training
  • OnGoing Funding :
    • System X or Regional Public Library
      • Annual operating costs assessed to participants
      • Members may contribute to replacement fund for future software and hardware upgrades.
how did we get here
In summary:How did we get here?
  • Small group with a vision.
  • Sold idea to others.
  • Timing was right.
    • Legislative desire for
      • UM/MnSCU sharing.
      • Library cooperation.
      • Technology funding.
    • State $urplus
the result
In summary:The result?
  • 1996:
    • Legislature gives $150,000 for planning.
    • UM and MnSCU agree to share system.
  • 1997:
    • Legislature gives $12,000,000 for MnLINK
    • August: RFP issued.
    • November: Proposals received
  • 1998:
    • April: Vendors selected.
    • Gateway: OCLC Site Search and DRSS
1997 vendor selection who chooses vendors
1997 Vendor Selection:Who Chooses Vendors?
  • Library Planning Task Force (LPTF)
  • Based upon a recommendation by the Vendor Evaluation Task Force (VET)
  • Which receives input from Working Groups
1997 vendor selection library planning task force
23 persons appointed by

LDS director (6)

Governor (4)

MnSCU chancellor (3)

UM president (2)

CFL Commissioner (2)

Private College Council president (1)

MINITEX director (1)

Commissioner of Finance (1)

Commissioner of Administration (1)

HESO director (1)

OT Commissioner (1)

1997 Vendor Selection:Library Planning Task Force
1997 vendor selection vendor evaluation team
16 persons


3 University of Minnesota

1 Private colleges

2 Public libraries

2 K - 12 libraries

1 Special libraries

1 Multi-county, multi-type

Ex-officio (non-voting): HESO, LDS, MINITEX

1997: Vendor SelectionVendor Evaluation Team
1997 vendor selection working groups
8 Functional Teams

OPAC (inc. Gateway Interface)


Cataloging and Database Maintenance

Acquisitions and Serials

ILL (inc. Gateway)

Technical Architecture and Implementation (inc. Gateway)

Records conversion and migration

Accounting and Fiscal Operations (inc. Gateway)

1997: Vendor SelectionWorking Groups
implementation needs
Governance Structure


Operations Staff

Policy and Working Groups

Steering Committee

Contract Negotiators

Server Site Administrators Group

Interface Design

implementation process
  • Develop Project Plan
    • Schedule appended to contract
    • OCLC Project Team
    • MS Project Software
marketing the project
To Librarians

Enhanced Resources


Financial Remuneration

To Library Users

Enhanced Access to Resources



Marketing the Project


Site Visits

Bookmarks, Table Tents, Flyers

Web Site


interface design
Interface Design
  • Gateway Interface Group
    • Technical Practitioners
  • Steering Committee
    • Policy Decisions
  • Follow-up
    • Usability Testing
success factors
Success Factors
  • People - gotta’ be influential.
  • Timing - gotta’ be right.
  • Serendipity - gotta’ be lucky.
  • People - gotta’ be cooperative.
  • Process - gotta’ be inclusive.
  • Details - gotta’ be later.
functional phases for the gateway
Twofunctional phasesfor the Gateway:

Web interface to resources (1999) -Provides a web interface to multiple library catalogs and databases and controls access through authentication.



Interlibrary loan system (2000) -Handles users’ ILL requests and allows Minnesota librarians to manage ILL requests.

Use Z39.50 to create a virtual state library by linking 8 different vendors’ library automation systems.










8 = 1

what libraries does the gateway link
What Libraries does the Gateway Link?
  • 4 Univ. of Minnesota campuses
  • 7 State Universities
  • 31 Community and Technical Colleges
  • 14 Private Colleges
  • 20 Public Library Systems
  • 7 School districts (up to 384 possible)
  • 20 Special Libraries (more possible)
databases on gateway

Gale Group: General Reference

ProQuest Discovery

OCLC First Search selections



Databases on Gateway
databases on gateway30
JULY 1, 2000

Gale Group:

General Reference

Expanded Academic

General Business

Health Reference


Info Trac Junior

Bell & Howell:

Selected Newspapers



Databases on Gateway
web site links via gateway
Minnesota Newspapers

Minnesota Government

Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Entertainment

Minnesota Recreation




Search Engines

Web Site Links via Gateway
  • Authentication
  • Search groups of library catalogs and databases
  • Save records
  • Advanced searching - refine, sort, browse.
  • Search history
  • Create customized groups
  • Help
the next phase
The Next Phase
  • Resource sharing via the Gateway
    • Using OCLC Distributed Resource Sharing Software (DRSS)
    • Installed on servers at Minnesota State University, Mankato and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    • Manages ILL requests for participating libraries
    • Going Live in latter half of 2000.
coordinating statewide virtual library development the minnesota experience35

Coordinating Statewide Virtual Library Development: The Minnesota Experience

David Barton

OCLC Site Search Conference May 3,2000