Dear Mr. _______________:
We have heard from many institutions in the State, including yours, expressing interest in participating in the OhioLINK program. The original concept and vision of the OhioLINK program contemplated the desirability of a resource useful to a broad base of Ohio-based constituents in academe, government, industry, and education. These inquiries are welcome and validate the envisioned scope of the OhioLINK program.
As many of you know, OhioLINK, a program to link the library catalogs and other information resources of 17 higher education institutions and the State Library is underway. The central site union catalog and reference databases have been installed and are available with six of the OhioLINK members collections represented. Additions to the central union catalog and installation of the remaining eight local systems will continue through the end of 1994 before they are complete. Beginning in early 1994, we will begin the installation of 17 local systems for the State-supported two-year community and technical colleges. This effort will not be completed until the end of 1995. In parallel with these baseline installations will be the introduction of patron-initiated inter-library circulation and related electronic and physical document delivery services. The result of all this effort will be an improved and expanded information resource for the students, faculty, researchers and staff of the OhioLINK institutions.
The issue of broadened participation is not so much if, but who and when and how. With the bulk of initial implementation still before us, the OhioLINK program must take care to focus its efforts step-by-step. In reality we cannot simultaneously complete these activities previously mentioned and aggressively expand to even more institutions.
The OhioLINK Governing Board has determined that as practical and appropriate, private colleges in Ohio should and will be offered integrated access to the OhioLINK program and services. It is likely that initial implementation cannot begin before 1996. The Executive Director is directed to maintain communications with key interested institutions and make future recommendations to the Board with the specific arrangements and timing for a private college participation program in OhioLINK. Here are our current expectations. We can offer the following comments for the basis of such a future relationship between OhioLINK and a private college:
- 1. We expect there will be criteria that must be met by each college. These have not been determined. Our intent is to foster a wide group of participating institutions, but there may be qualifications that must be established. These criteria might address the financial, operating, and resource sharing viability of the institution.
- 2. Operationally, full integration will require running the OhioLINK version of the Innovative Interfaces software and integrating this software and the institution's database with the OhioLINK central site services. Overall, the institution must be prepared to operationally and financial support its local implementation and on-going enhancement in synchronization with overall OhioLINK developments. If you use or were to select the standard Innovative Interfaces software, we do not know the extent of transfer charges from Innovative Interfaces.
- 3. Full integration will require data contribution to the union catalog, inter-library and inter-patron exchange of materials as prescribed by then current OhioLINK policies and practices, adherence to database standards and practices and a host of similar issues. The exact delineation and disposition of these and similar issues will need to be defined and agreed to before participation begins.
- 4. Incremental vendor costs to provide commercially-licensed databases and related services will be funded by the private college. Similarly, OARnet access is required and must be institutionally funded.
- 5. Issues of governance and committee participation have yet to be considered. We recognize the important stake a private college will have in its information delivery future through OhioLINK participation. We believe careful thought will have to be given to these issues as we determine the specific arrangements appropriate for private college participation.
It is OhioLINK's intent to examine these and other related issues as out current implementation continues so as to be prepared and able to provide the specific framework for private college expansion and integration. We hope that this letter has provided you with our positive intentions and initial thoughts on the basis for this relationship and our general timeframe for addressing it. In doing so, we hope to aid any critical decisions you may have to make in considering information access and delivery at your institution.
We believe Ohio has an extremely rich collection of academic library resources with both public and private universities and colleges. We are optimistic that the OhioLINK program will provide a major platform through which we can make these resources more readily available to all our patrons. We look forward to bringing the generally envisioned relationship described herein to reality over the course of the next several years. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
on behalf of the OhioLINK Governing Board