Volume 20, Number 3 | October 2022
Plenty of Possibilities: Shifting from Commercial to Open Solutions
Open access logo (an open combination lock) superimposed on a photo of a city skyline. Underneath, text reads Open Access Week, October 24-30, 2022, #OpenForClimateJustice
It’s Open Access Week! In celebration, we highlight a report recently shared by the Strategies for Open Collaboration in Library Consortia (SOCLC) Task Force called Strategies for Collaboration: Opportunities and Challenges to Build the Future We Need.
The report focuses on helping libraries “move the needle” from dependence on commercially-developed technical infrastructure to investment in open source, collaborative, and community-driven solutions by offering three flexible strategies:

  • Radically Rethink Our Operations to Build the Future We Need
  • Reframe Contracts for Proprietary Services
  • Design, Support, and Fund Alternative Solutions Now
New AskAway Tag Tracks Open Education Reference Calls
A smiling white woman holds a wooden sign cut into the shape of a speech bubble with the word "open" printed on the sign.
AskAway has introduced a new Open Education tag to track sessions where a service provider explains or provides access to Open Access, Open Education, or Open Textbook resources. It's another means to explore how the importance of Open Education Resources is growing in education.
A recent blog post by Elizabeth Padilla at BCIT Library celebrates the tag and introduces the new home for the B.C. Open Collection, maintained by BCcampus. Elizabeth writes about what can be found in the B.C. Open Collection, how service providers may use the collection during their AskAway sessions, and shares her experience working with the BCcampus development team to produce the collection’s new home.

Meet your BC ELN Steering Committee
October 1st marks the changeover of BC ELN Steering Committee representative terms. This year the majority of representatives remain on the committee as they are at the mid-point of their first terms.

The Steering Committee welcomes new member Tania Gottschalk from Thompson Rivers University, who is now the representative for Small Universities. Former Small Universities representative Darcy Gullacher has moved into the Chair position. The committee thanks Past-Chair Brenda Mathenia for her contributions as a Rural Colleges representative, and as Vice-Chair (2020-21) and Chair (2021-22).
The BC ELN Steering Committee is made up of representatives from each of BC ELN’s governance categories (also known as constituency groups). The BC ELN governance model is designed for equitable representation by all partner libraries and effective communication with key stakeholders.
A list of Steering Committee members
BC ELN Service Updates
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Arca Digital Repository
In case you missed it: Arca is planning a migration to Islandora 2. It’s a massive task with plenty to do, but Arca is making great strides. The Admin Centre has hired discoverygarden to create a migration plan, and recently worked with Arca Admins to map current Arca metadata elements to the new Islandora 2 platform. Onward!
Arca sites will soon be able to add functionality like transcript time-stamping and indexing to their video and audio objects with the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS). The tool allows users to create synchronized transcripts and describe segments of media with keywords, subject headings, geotags, and more. BC ELN is working to implement OHMS, which will significantly improve user experience.
Libraries using EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) can rest assured Arca results are displaying properly now. Earlier this year Admins discovered that Arca’s security tool Cloudflare, which protects websites from bot attacks, was also blocking the EDS Harvester bot. The Arca Admin Centre worked with both Cloudflare and EBSCO to resolve the issue.

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Arca Partnerships
Fourteen GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) organizations, including 4 BC ELN partner libraries, will get help from the pilot BC ELN-BCHDP Support Service with their BC History Digitization Program (BCHDP) grant applications this year.

Now in its second year, the pilot service was created with the goal of helping smaller GLAM sites overcome barriers to accessing digitization funding. The program had a notable impact in its first year: eight out of nine participating organizations had successful BCHDP grant applications in 2021.

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AskAway Chat Research Help
Student usage of AskAway has started off strong this term with 3,500 chat sessions in the first four weeks of September. This is close to last year’s traffic of the same time period, and is 14% higher than 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
The Next Gen AskAway chatbox is here… The new version incorporates several accessibility improvements and new features.
Two more libraries launched AskAway’s proactive chat for their students this fall. The feature is a great way to reach out to students that are new to AskAway, and to meet students at their point of need.
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Illume Resource Sharing
The latest data shows Interlibrary Loans (ILL) have rebounded since COVID-19 interruptions. The number of ILL requests filled in 2020 dipped markedly while COVID-19 temporarily shut down services, but statistics show those numbers trending back towards pre-pandemic levels in 2021 and 2022.
University Canada West (UCW) has joined Illume. UCW is the first BC ELN Associate Member to open its collection to interlibrary loan via Illume, following a decision by the BC ELN Steering Committee to allow Associate Member institutions that meet criteria to join the service. Additional BC ELN Associate members are actively working to join, including Alexander College.
Over 60% of requests at Public Libraries are created directly by patrons. On behalf of interested libraries, the Illume Support Centre is exploring the benefits of the Permanent Patron account requesting option and has offered early adoption of this feature to interested libraries.
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ConsortiaManager is now up and running smoothly for partner libraries to manage their licenses. BC ELN is working with other Canadian consortia that use ConsortiaManager to strategize best practices around the software.
To support partner library licensing staff as they learn to use ConsortiaManager, BC ELN Licensing has launched a “tip of the month” series, sending out a helpful suggestion each month on how to maximize the use of this new platform. Click here for September and October tips.
Mark your calendars: BC ELN will be hosting a series of Question + Answer sessions for partner libraries to discuss plans for a new Undergraduate Resource Bundle (URB). Find out more about the URB and when your library’s Q+A session is scheduled.
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WriteAway Online Writing Support
WriteAway has had a solid start to the fall term, with students submitting 927 papers for feedback in the first five weeks. Did you know students are welcome to re-submit the same paper (after revisions) up to 3 times? About 7% of papers so far this term are second draft submissions.
A search for a WriteAway Coordinator to manage the service is underway. The position was posted during the summer months, and there is a goal to have the coordinator in place by late Fall.
Coordinators and service providers at participating institutions now have refreshed tools and resources to enhance their WriteAway experience, such as self-serve statistics and new promotional materials. Guided by feedback from service providers and institutional coordinators, training has also been improved with new video resources and updated scripts for troubleshooting common issues.