The College of The Bahamas
Virtual Library Committee Meeting
January 22, 2008
Boardroom Research, Graduate Programs & International Relations
Willamae Johnson Co-Chair
Stuart Ray Co-Chair
Catharine Archer Recording Secretary
Dr. Pandora Johnson
Ms. Johnson welcomed everyone to the committee and thanked everyone for their
participation. She stated that the library would like to provide services and collections in
a way that we have not done previously. Ms. Johnson told the committee that our goal is
to develop a plan for a digital library that would allow users to do everything from home
the same way they would in a physical library building. The application of this plan
would allow the digital library to be developed in a doable, feasible and efficient manner,
in the shortest timeframe possible.
Remarks President J. Hodder
President Hodder made brief remarks to the committee. She thanked committee
members for participating in the transformation that is occurring at this institution. She
remarked that the transformation that the college is undergoing is a deep and thorough
one. This includes such things as the establishment of a quality assurance framework in
academic programmes to insure that they continually meet academic standards.
As the college seeks to garner the support of the outside community, we must
demonstrate the capacity to deliver on the promises that we have made, and the promise
that we believe exists in this institution. We must deliver on this promise in order to
establish the credibility that we need as an institution to garner and keep external support.
The two most public ways in which the college can demonstrate this ability to deliver are
the drive to fix registration, and to revamp and upgrade the library. Upgrading the library
includes both the new library building and providing new and improved collections and
President Hodder assured the committee of the support her office will provide in
terms of making any technical support or additional expertise available as needed.
Review 'Terms of Reference'
Ms. Johnson distributed the terms of reference for this committee from the Office
of the President for review by the committee. Mr. Ray added actual costs and the timeline
that these costs would be incurred as a sub heading under, 'recommended action plan'.
Report of Visit to Boston
Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Williams reported to the committee on a recent trip that
they took to Boston in order to investigate the technology resources available and
colleges in the area.
Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Williams began their tour at Boston College, where they
met with University Librarian, Jerome Yavarkovsky and Director of Library Systems,
Robert Gerrity. Boston College uses products from Ex Libris to manage their digital
library collections. This is the same company that The College of The Bahamas currently
uses for its automated library functions. Primo software hosts the digital library. Metalib
software provides resource collection information. It allows patron to identify a resources
held by the library and what format(s) they are held in.
Mr. Yavarkovsky arranged a meeting with Ex Libris representatives to discuss the
products and services that they provide. Ex Libris does offer hosting services on their
own servers. This would allow us to consider allowing them to host our digital library for
the time being until we are in a position to host it ourselves.
Boston College Libraries uses Digitool software to manage their University
Repository. They are also moving away from subscribing to aggregate journal databases
in favor of individual subscriptions to e-journals. This is due to the fact that many
journals in databases are unused and a great cost to the University. The University also
provides access to an 80,000 e-book collection from the University of Minnesota.
The Boston College O'Neill Library is housed in a 5 storey, 20 year old building.
The University Libraries department is staffed by 150 regular staff and 150 student
employees. The library has its own IT department with 10 employees. The Boston
College Libraries have been gradually moving to providing more collections and services
digitally. This move has caused some positions to become redundant. The affected
personnel have been migrated to new positions created for the delivery of digital
resources and services.
Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Williams also visited the instructional media department at
Wellesey College and met with personnel there. They visited the Knapp Media and
Technology Center. It houses 43 work stations and hosts online collections and services,
including e-reserves. This center provides technological and research support to students.
There are also digital preservation and videoconferencing facilities.
Finally Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Williams visited the Harvard and Northeastern
University libraries; however they were not able to arrange a meeting with any personnel.
At Northeastern University, there is a computing center in the library that is accessible to
students 24 hours. This center has 160 computers as well as wireless capacity for persons
with laptops. There is also a vending area.
Ms. Johnson circulated a proposed report format. The part three heading was
amended to Recommendations, Priorities and Implementation. Under this section
Infrastructure was expanded to include network, computer rooms, hardware and
software. Also training areas was change to training requirements. The subheadings,
Our Own Digitization and Security were added
Selection of Subcommittees
The following subcommittees were identified with the following members;
Scope: T. Lundstrom, C. Archer, W. Johnson, S. Ray, P. Johnson
Technology: S. Ray, D. Brown, V. Williams, R. Burton, consultant
Reporting: S. Ray, W. Johnson, C. Archer
Finance: D. Brown
Legal: R. Nottage
Schedule of Meetings
Tuesday February 5th 2008, 2:30 pm
Tuesday February 19th 2008, 2:30 pm
Tuesday March 4th 2008, 2:30 pm
Tuesday March 18th 2008, 2:30 pm
Hosting vs. Providing Access
In building a digital library for The College of The Bahamas we must negotiate
between collections which we will host on our servers as opposed to resources that we
provide access to that is actually hosted elsewhere. Mr. Brown noted that these decisions
have hardware and software and connectivity implications for the college's network
infrastructure. We would host our own Bahamiana collection which also us to provide
collections that would be of interest to others. The LIMS department has begun collecting
Bahamian research. Faculty members have been asked to submit digital copies of their
completed research to the library. These submissions are then made available on the
-The LIMS department has also been exploring trials with various e-book
providers, in order to determine of there are title or collections that we would like to
purchase for our collections. The trials and collections that we have viewed so far are
extremely expensive and contained titles that are largely dated or very esoteric in content.
Mr. Ray raised the possibility of The College of The Bahamas entering into
consortia with other libraries. Mr. Brown cautioned that we must analyze any consortia
carefully in order to ensure that the college is able to derive reasonable benefits from
Timeline for Launch
In line with President Hodder's remarks about the college's need to deliver in a
way that the community can see, Mr. Ray inquired about the possibility of launching any
part of the digital library for the Fall 2008 semester. Mr. Brown responded that the
college is working on coordinating and upgrading the technology infrastructure
throughout the institution. This upgrade is expected to cost $5.3 million in total. The first
part of this is the creation of a data center. The data center would centralize data related
to online registration, blackboard, distance education along with the libraries and other
digital functions. A location for this data center has already been identified; however it is
not likely to be completed for 6-10 months. As we seek to manage continued growth of a
digital library, it would not be wise to launch the digital library until this infrastructure is
The Lyford Cay Foundation has pledged $5 million dollars to outfit the new
library that the college intends to build with furniture as well as technological equipment
and infrastructure. Mr. Ray raised the possibility of the Lyford Cay Foundation providing
some of those funds now. These funds can help to establish the digital library as well as
provide additional computers and equipment that can be used in the existing library and
moved to the new library once it is completed.
Standards of Excellence
It was noted that we must establish a digital library that must be excellent in the
services provided. We may not build the largest digital library, however we must
maintain high standards of quality in whatever we do.
Jerome Yavarkovsky has been graciously lending his expertise to the college at no
charge. The Lyford Cay Foundation has agreed to contract his services as a consultant at
a retainer off $8,000.00 per quarter and rate of $300.00 per hour.
The committee has identified the need for consultants to advise on the following
The reorganization of physical space in the main library so that we can
accommodate additional computer station s and equipment.
Digital library software implementation and integration within the current library
The overall process of building a digital library
o Ms. Johnson is attempting to make contact with the administrators of the
Caribbean Digital Library as they would be especially experienced in
building a digital library in this region.
The committee outlined the following steps to be taken in order to begin our work.
Define Scope of the digital library concretely