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University of Texas Libraries Committee

This has been an eventful year of change and learning for the University of Texas Libraries Committee and for the University of Texas Libraries.

Standing Committee Changes

Prior to the beginning of the 2005-06 academic year, the name of this committee, its function statement, and its composition statement were changed to the following:

FUNCTION: To become well informed concerning the functions of the University of Texas Libraries. To assist in developing operational procedures; to advise the librarian, the Faculty Council and the president concerning the direction and growth of the University of Texas Libraries; to advise the president in the event it becomes necessary to appoint a new librarian.

COMPOSITION: At least eight members of the General Faculty, three staff members, and seven students. Staff members shall be appointed by the president from panels of names submitted by the Staff Council and shall include two research staff representatives. Student members shall be appointed by the president in the fall from panels of names submitted by the appropriate student committees and shall include two representatives from Student Government, three from the Cabinet of College Councils, and two from the Graduate Student Assembly. In addition, every year the chair of the Faculty Council shall appoint two members of the Faculty Council for one-year terms as members of the committee. The committee shall elect its own chair and vice chair, who shall be members of the General Faculty. The director of the University of Texas Libraries shall serve as administrative adviser without vote. Heads of other administrative units on campus that include library programs and services shall be invited to provide comment and information as the need arises.

Committee Meetings and Other Activities
The year of learning for the University of Texas Libraries Committee members and for University of Texas Libraries administrators is summarized in the following information about meetings and tours.

The following summarizes salient points that were covered in meetings of the University of Texas Libraries Committee during the 2005-06 academic year. Minutes for each meeting are posted at the University Library Committee Web site <>, and some of the minutes contain links to PowerPoint files and other documents.

September 7 Meeting (PCL 3.204)
This meeting was held in the conference room of the University of Texas Libraries in Perry-Castañeda Library. Professor Desmond F. Lawler convened the meeting and Professor Kenneth M. Ralls was elected chair. The chair noted that the Faculty Council has put a new rule in place that results in the election of a committee chair for the 2006–07 fiscal year by the committee members in the spring of 2006.

Dr. Fred Heath, vice provost and director of the UT Libraries, gave a PowerPoint presentation to the committee on: the efforts of the library to increase faculty, student, and staff input into its strategic planning processes; the development campaigning being shaped to supplement library funding; the efforts of the library administration to secure stable budgetary funding in the face of implacable materials inflation; the rearrangements to provide adequate study facilities (and coffee) for students on campus; and major current projects including UTopia and the Texas Digital Library.

October 13 Meeting (PCL 3.204)
Handouts distributed included the minutes of the meeting for September 7 and sign-up sheets for the “Behind the Scenes” tours of the Perry-Castañeda Library. Professor George Sylvie was elected vice chair of the committee. Professor Ralls announced that he will have hip-joint replacement surgery on October 19 and probably will not be able to attend the November meeting.

Dr. Fred Heath gave a presentation on the FY2006–07 budget for the UT Libraries. Following a discussion of needs and priorities, Professor Lawler moved for the libraries committee to support the budget submission as outlined. His motion was seconded and was passed unanimously by all those in attendance.

The associate director for digital initiatives, Mark McFarland, gave an overview of the priorities, needs, and timeline for the libraries to identify, purchase, and install integrated library system (ILS) software to further facilitate many library operations, including ordering, cataloging, circulation, billing, and provision of an online public access catalog. Mark noted that the libraries' data will remain portable and not be tied to the system of a particular vendor.

November 7 Meeting (PCL 3.204)
The associate director for administrative services, Kay Sewell, made a report to the committee on the planned addition to the Library Storage Facility (LSF) on the Pickle Research Campus. The present storage facility, completed in 1993, occupies approximately 11,000 sq. ft. and holds 10,000 4’x3’ shelves. The facility is 99% full. The second unit will also occupy about 11,000 sq. ft. and will include an additional 4,700 sq. ft. of processing and service area. UT Austin and TAMU, with UT putting up $2M towards construction and TAMU $1.25M, are jointly constructing it. It will hold an estimated 1.7M volumes. There is no start date slated yet, but once construction begins, the project should be completed in 18 months. The Libraries are hoping to have the slab for LSF 3 poured at the same time to save money later on. Usage of the current materials at LSF is fairly low. Construction costs now are comparable to those of 1993, at about $300 per sq. ft. The LSF is modeled on the Harvard storage facility.

Mark McFarland reported on the intended purposes of the Texas Digital Library (TDL) project, undertaken by the five Texas Applied Research Laboraties (ARL) members: UT Austin, TAMU, Texas Tech, U Houston, and Rice. TDL is seen as a ten-year collaborative project to promote scholarly communication and access, to facilitate the digitization of theses and dissertations, and to leverage the relative scarcity of available funding for the increasing numbers of would-be online users. The hardware and software will initially be based at UT Austin, with TDL staff funded by the five directors of the Texas ARL libraries. The release date of the initial site is planned for February 1, 2006.

October 21, 25, and 28
"Behind-the-scenes" tours of Perry-Castañeda Library were taken by small groups of University of Texas Libraries Committee members. These thirty-minute tours gave an overview of cataloging, acquisitions, preservation, and digital library services.

These tours were started in 2004-05 and must continue to be a required event for University of Texas Libraries Committee members early in the fall semester each year.

January 30 Meeting (PCL 3.204)
The associate director for research services, Dennis Dillon, gave an illustrative, informative and wide-ranging review of the Internet information access utility, Google, and its present and possible impacts on libraries and information services. He reviewed two of Google’s current products – Google Book Search and Google Scholar – and discussed Google’s one-stop shopping appeal to students and researchers. Mr. Dillon's presentation was followed by a lengthy question-and-answer period, and he answered questions from committee members about such related areas as copyright and the federated search tool MetaLib (currently listed under Research Tools on the Libraries Web site).

Dr. Fred Heath gave an update of the advancement efforts of the UT Libraries. Tom Galyean and Linda Abbey are setting many of the elements of the newly articulated program in place, including the formation of an advisory council and the beginnings of an annual fund campaign. They are using the library advancement programs at Berkeley and Michigan as benchmarks for a local comprehensive advancement strategy, including marketing and branding. Mr. Galyearn and Ms. Abbey are working closely with branch librarians and locating people interested in supporting the UT Libraries.

February 14 Meeting (BTL 101)
This meeting was held in Battle Hall, where the Architecture and Planning Library and the Alexander Architectural Archive are located. This was the first meeting at a branch library for the 2005-06 academic year.

The first item of business was the report from the subcommittee considering the size and makeup of the University of Texas Libraries Committee. The recommendation from this subcommittee was approved and will be forwarded to the Faculty Council.

Michael B. Winship was elected chair elect for the 2006-07 session of The University of Texas Libraries Committee.

The main agenda item was a presentation given by Janine Henri, head of the Architecture and Planning Library (APL) and Beth Dodd, head of the Alexander Architectural Archive (AAA). They discussed their collections and services and how APL and AAA support the academic programs of the School of Architecture and researchers from all over the world. The AAA house over ninety collections that contain over one million items, including unprocessed drawings. Fred Heath confirmed that items included in the library catalog are only the tip of the iceberg. Processing of items is done when there is available funding or when someone asks to see materials that have not yet been processed. The APL and AAA acquire items through purchase and gifts. Access is provided through finding aids and subject guides and through exhibits within the APL and AAA and online through UTOPIA.

Desmond Lawler asked what is being done in terms of national outreach and what efforts are being made to reach beyond Texas. Janine Henri outlined activities including presentations at local, national and international conferences; hosting training sessions with national and international reach, and publication. Dennis Dillon stated the libraries Web site is used more often than any other academic Web site in the country, and Beth Dodd confirmed that the libraries make as much material as possible accessible online.

Following the presentations by Janine Henri and Beth Dodd, Tom Galyean and Linda Abbey updated the committee on the Libraries Advancement Program. Tom and Linda have successfully launched their development plan. They established an online giving site, and the Libraries now receives one third of its annual gifts via the Internet. Tom led the formation of Libraries Advisory Council that is actively opening doors for the Libraries and providing helpful insight, and they are working with UTOPIA. A brief tour of the Alexander Architectural Archives and the Architecture and Planning Library was given.

March 10 Meeting (RLM 5.220C)
This meeting was held in the new study lounge of the Physics-Mathematics-Astronomy Library in Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Molly White, head of the Kuehne Physics-Mathematics-Astronomy Library (PMA) gave a presentation about the PMA’s collections and user community. PMA opened in 1972 and the library serves the physics and mathematics needs for the entire campus. Graduate students are the primary users of the library’s resources. Undergraduate research is focused on PMA’s textbook collection. Ms. White stated that mathematicians use the library in a manner similar to the humanities. Mathematicians study older problems and use older literature. They prefer to use printed journals rather than electronic and like to have older issues in the library, not in storage. In physics, there is a lot of national and international collaboration. Physics is a large field with large projects and it produces and uses some of the most expensive science literature. Astronomy is a smaller, more contained field of study. Astronomers do not do much stargazing; instead they analyze the spectral data collected by telescopes. In addition to the resources in PMA, astronomers have their own departmental library and a library at the McDonald Observatory. Getting an article published in the sciences can be a very protracted process. In order to communicate study results to their peers, researchers and scientists submit their papers for publication and then send pre-print copies to colleagues all over the world. Many in these fields are early adopters of information technology and several developed searchable databases that track and store pre-prints. One of the largest and most popular examples is arXiv ( Participation in arXiv and similar databases varies across disciplines and sub-disciplines.

Ms. White also discussed the creation of a study area within PMA. The library originally opened with an open-air balcony, but the balcony became a haven for pigeons and was not used by the library. Four years ago the physics department appropriated some of PMA’s floor space to create a conference room. In exchange, the department helped PMA get permission to convert the balcony into study space. The University Co-op funded the construction. The College of Natural Sciences purchased the furniture, and the Libraries provided the computer equipment. The space is now in constant use.

March 22 Meeting (Tom Lea Room, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)
This special meeting scheduled by Professor Ken Ralls was held in the Tom Lea Room of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, which is not part of The University of Texas Libraries.

The associate director for student services, Damon Jaggars, and project coordinator, Jocelyn Duffy, gave a brief overview of the LibQUAL+ survey and how the University of Texas Libraries uses it. The survey measures users’ perceptions of service quality in three categories: Information Control, Affect of Service and Library as Place. The adequacy gap is the difference between the minimum level of service that a user finds acceptable and the perceived level of service a user receives. The University of Texas Libraries is doing well in terms of gaps scores when compared to the ARL aggregate and to five of our peers. The libraries also analyze the survey results for trends and are especially alert to downward trends that indicate areas that need improvement.

The main agenda item was a presentation by Professor Thomas F. Staley, director of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC). He talked about collection development at the HRC and how the center is intent on making its collections alive and interesting for the community. He also mentioned that in the latest issue of Texas Monthly, the HRC was chosen as one of the “75 Things We Love About Texas.” Dr. Staley pointed out that the collections within the HRC relate to each other and build on each other. The guiding premise for the center is that the published work is not the beginning of the literary study. Notes, early drafts and false starts, cross-outs and marginal notes are all important; they show the provenance and evolution of a work. Correspondence such as letters and postcards also help fill in the collections. The majority of the collections are author-centered, but the HRC is also interested in cultural context and it looks for items that define it for a collection.

Dr. Staley also stated that the balance of the HRC’s holdings is in literature, and the current focus is on authors who were first published post-1950 (over 550 authors). The HRC has tracked the Booker Prize since its beginnings in 1968, purchasing winners and finalists. For most post-1950s authors, the center collects first editions, but for a select number, all published works and manuscripts associated with the author are collected. The center also looks at publisher archives and agent archives and is somewhat active in music, photography, film and theater. For each addition to the HRC, the center considers the form of publication, the genre, mode of writing, and the relation to other collections in the HRC.

Dr. Richard Oram, Associate Director of the HRC, gave a brief tour of parts of the HRC.

April 7 Meeting (ECJ 1.300)
This meeting was held in the Alec Room of the Engineering Library in Cockrell Hall.

Susan Ardis, head librarian of the Engineering Library, gave a PowerPoint presentation to the committee intended to address two questions: “What if there was one science library instead of five?” and “What if this single library was designed to be a science and technology information center?”

Ms. Ardis reviewed the user and staff populations of the current science and technology libraries, collection sizes in square feet and linear feet of shelving, and user seating. She also discussed the various limitations of each library, including 90% full stacks, limited space for users, limited hours, and non-ADA facility compliance.

Ms. Ardis spoke of the various advantages of having one library versus the disadvantages, and the situations that would remain the same regardless. The various faculties and their likely support for such a unified library were outlined, as well as the user instruction needs that are not adequately addressed by the present arrangement. Among the sticking points for such a project is space available at the University and the likely costs, which will of course only increase over time. There was a lively discussion among the committee members and engineering associate dean for academic affairs, David Dolling, about the points of the presentation.

May 3 Meeting (Brown Room, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum)
This special meeting scheduled by Professor Ken Ralls was held in the Brown Room of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Dr. Betty Sue Flowers, director of the LBJ Library and Museum and adjunct professor of English gave a brief overview of the history and administration of the LBJ Library and Museum. The library was dedicated on May 22, 1971, and was the first presidential library to be built on a university campus. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) administers it. Along with NARA, Dr. Flowers also reports to the presidential family and the LBJ Foundation. The LBJ Library and Museum hosts one permanent exhibit and puts on one other major exhibit in alternate years. They are currently preparing for Lyndon Johnson’s centennial birthday celebration in 2008.

Dr. Flowers pointed out that the LBJ Library and Museum is a favorite of researchers. Lyndon Johnson wanted his papers opened and made accessible as quickly as possible. There are over five hundred separate collections within the library; millions of documents, films and tape recordings have been opened and millions more are still classified and waiting to be released. The library also hosts University classes, offers internships to students, and co-sponsors symposia on campus.

The library is currently working with UTOPIA on the Presidential Timeline project involving all eleven Presidential Libraries. Dr. Flowers worked with Paul Resta, Director of the Learning Technology Center at UT Austin, to apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the project. She also put together an interactive demonstration site for the application, available under “Interactive Demo” at <>. The project will highlight events from each president’s time in office using original archival materials from the Presidential Libraries’ collections and teaching materials for K-12 curriculums are being created for each event. The initial site is scheduled for release in Fall 2006.

Professor Ralls thanked everyone on the committee for their participation and wished them a good summer.

Dr. Betty Sue Flowers gave a brief tour of a non-public part of the LBJ Library and Museum. This was the final University of Texas Libraries Committee meeting of 2005-2006.

Ken Ralls, chair

  Updated 2006 August 29
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