A number of changes have occurred over the last few months as the California Digital Library has begun to take shape.  I would like to address how some of those changes have affected current operations and alert you to other changes coming in the future.

The Melvyl system is viewed as an integral and foundational component of the CDL.  This perspective has had implications in terms of organization.  The staff of the former Division of Library Automation (DLA) has been incorporated as part of the CDL.  The CDL is administratively part of Academic Initiatives under Vice Provost Carol Tomlinson-Keasey.  In addition to myself as Executive Director and University Librarian of the CDL, the senior staff consists of Beverlee French, Associate Director, Shared Collections and Services (see the announcement about her appointment later in this issue), and four Assistant Directors, including Laine Farley, Assistant Director, System Services (formerly Coordinator, Bibliographic Policy and Services, DLA), and three positions currently under recruitment:

Assistant Director, Business Development; Assistant Director, Education and Communications; and Technical Director.  Laine’s user services staff is now part of the System Services component of the CDL.

The other DLA staff members, consisting primarily of programmers and technical staff, report to Bob Brandriff, Acting Technical Director of the CDL.  As its current name implies, the technical unit is responsible for the technical design and implementation of the CDL.  Bob has a dual reporting relationship to myself and to M. Stuart Lynn, Associate Vice President, Information Resources and Communications.  As new CDL management members are hired and relationships and roles are clarified, some titles may change; as stated in the planning documents, we view the CDL organization as organic, constantly changing and growing in new ways as the CDL develops.

It is a challenge to adjust to these organizational changes and prepare to support the CDL’s goals, while continuing to maintain the existing operations and services upon which the University community relies so heavily.  To aid in the transition to the CDL, we are reviewing and prioritizing tasks and activities related to the Melvyl system.  While continuing our existing commitments to the services the Melvyl system provides, we also want to begin focusing on the use of new technology, the provision of new services, and the potential for leveraging resources for maximum benefit to the UC community.  To allow time for planning and staff training to meet these goals, we will suspend some system tasks and changes.  The University Librarians and the Operations and Planning Advisory Group, or OPAG (which advises the CDL on issues related to policies, procedures and operations of the California Digital Library), have endorsed this approach and recently reviewed and approved a document to guide priorities through the end of the fiscal year.  See Transitional Issues for the California Digital Library and the Melvyl System.

As this document indicates, a great deal of effort currently goes toward maintenance of the Melvyl Catalog database and the various abstracting and indexing databases.  New development during this period will be minimal, consisting primarily of completing the Melvyl Web interface and initial support of the CDL initiatives.  If you have any questions about the kinds of tasks that will continue and those that will be suspended, please contact Laine Farley (laine.farley@ucop.edu) for clarification.

One significant planning activity we will undertake is an assessment of the technical architecture for library systems and services.  This activity is an expansion of the original plan to supplement the recently completed Coordinated Bibliographic Systems report of functional requirements with a technical review of architectural options to support those requirements.  The scope will be broadened to include technology needed to support the full range of CDL and other library and scholarly publishing needs.

This planning activity has had a major impact on a task that is notably absent from the transitional document: the project to regenerate and combine the Catalog and Periodicals databases.  As the functional specifications for that project neared completion and the development timeline came into focus, it seemed unwise to begin such a major project using current technology since the technology was likely to change as soon as the project was finished.  Instead, the project will be set aside while the CDL Technical Unit evaluates database technology over the next six months to find the easiest to use and most efficient technology for building the database, and to assess any gains or tradeoffs in functionality if we switch to new technology.  The work of the Catalog/PE Task Force will culminate shortly in a report on the reasons the regeneration is needed, functional requirements, and any remaining functional issues to be considered.  The thorough work of this group will guide the future implementation, regardless of the technology or architecture used.

I know that another area of concern for many is how the various liaison and advisory groups will function in the new environment.  We expect Provost King to appoint a new Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Committee shortly; it is likely that this new group, chaired by Vice Chancellor Christ from UC Berkeley, will replace Library Council.  While the OPAG now serves as a key advisory body for the CDL, the University Librarians will make final determination regarding an effective advisory and consultative structure that will position the libraries to meet the significant challenges we all face.  All of us are strongly committed to reliance on and benefit from the collective expertise within the UC system.