We have recently applied for the Knight News Challenge grant. We are very excited about this.
We invite you to review our submission and provide feedback.
Liberty Project 2015 and beyond ~ The project might need to become a non-profit organization once it begins to expand in the future.
One of the next phases of the project includes finding and purchasing DRM (digital rights management) eBooks. A standard agreement needs to be created between libraries and publishers to purchase eBooks. The cost of eBooks will be initially rather large once the project begins to acquire DRM titles. Incorporating eBooks into KOHA will take substantial time. Liberty will have to integrate the Adobe DRM software into KOHA and we are estimating it will take one programmer approximately three months to complete.
It will take a significant amount of time to add more eBooks. Some of the steps needed will be to contact the publishers and authors to acquire eBooks using a standard contract, they will need to be cataloged and uploaded onto the server. The Liberty Committee would like to hire a cataloger to edit the MARC records of the books.
DRM eBooks are the popular titles found on the best seller lists. Depending on the vendor, libraries typically pay anywhere from $9.99 to $89.99 for one eBook title. There are restrictions involved with these titles such as only one checkout at a time or a limited number of checkouts until the title must be repurchased. The popularity of the author/title will need to be weighed against the amount of people using the system for eBooks. Liberty will need to make sure that there is a sufficient number of each title available to prevent long waiting lists for eBooks. The DRM titles will be costly and the Liberty team is looking into other grant opportunities to secure funding for the initial purchasing of these materials.
A universal index (discovery layer) needs to be created of both the paid and free eBooks, integrating an eBook indexing solution so that patrons can complete searches on any term or word within the eBook database. Patrons would be able to view the source within the book itself. This provides the user with a great new ability not generally available in the print world, a compendium of a large collection of easy-to-search books. This new ability would allow improved resource sharing of libraries with unique collections to leverage their collections with other libraries’ unique collections. In essence, Liberty will be able to trade rights for certain materials to gain access to others.
The last part of the project will consist of analyzing system use and developing a Liberty 2.0 update. Marketing and promotion of Liberty will be completed at this point. Librarians participating in the project will be provided with training opportunities on using the project.
Once the project is fully implemented, it will be made available to the seventy-one libraries in the Northwest Pennsylvania Region to access eBooks and digital content. Other libraries in Pennsylvania will be able to participate in the project after the initial implementation.
The Liberty Committee is currently evaluating a fee structure for the future. Adobe will charge Liberty a fee for the DRM titles so some cost recovery basis has to be built into the Liberty fee. We are investigating a system similar to our Interlibrary Loan Delivery System (IDS) in which libraries are charged a yearly membership fee based on their usage using a step approach. The more usage the higher the step and the higher the fee. Another option would be to charge for usage on a monthly subscription basis.
Liberty Project 2014 ~
The beginning phase of the Liberty project has been completed with needed equipment purchased and installed. The Mengle Foundation Grant funds have been utilized to implement this part of the project. Working with a number of libraries Liberty has written a collection development policy.
The content management system is being hosted and maintained at the Crawford County Federated Library System located in the Meadville Public Library by System Administrator John Brice and technology staff. Meadville has purchased, with Liberty funds, two servers one for production and a second to work as a backup. KOHA has been installed onto the servers. (KOHA is the most advanced open-source Integrated Library System in use today by thousands of libraries worldwide.) The content server and the KOHA catalog is available at http://catalog.paliberty.net. This is a demo website that was distributed to the Liberty core meeting group. Meadville has also setup a separate server for non-DRM content hosted by Liberty.
Currently in the catalog are 500 cleaned up MARC records from Project Gutenberg, and two local history content samples from Meadville. We are currently adding book covers for the 500 selected books and will begin downloading the eBook files into Liberty within the next couple of weeks.
A plugin was created for the KOHA catalog that allows Liberty to spotlight various eBook selections on the main catalog page. It displays the eBooks’ covers with links to them in the catalog. Liberty will have the ability to feature different rows with the title covers such as new arrivals, most popular, mysteries, etc. Pictures of each individual title will be uploaded and saved onto a server to prevent broken links from occurring.
Mantis software was set up that will be used to track issues and provide formal feedback. It is a project management software and is also a bug tracker. Issues will go into a holding queue to have records fixed or duplicates deleted. Once items are completed they will be marked as done. A blog has been set up to keep the core meeting group updated on the progress of the project.
The Liberty Committee found that the MARC records will need thoroughly reviewed even when we utilize free eBooks. It was decided at the June meeting to start hiring staff to coordinate and implement the project. A Project Manager has been identified to oversee the project.
A logo for the project has been created, a tag (slogan) was developed and bookmarks are being created.
Liberty Staffing ~ The Liberty Committee has been working hard to implement this project. It was decided at our last meeting in June that we needed a project manager. We are pleased to announce our first staff member is Tamra Herring, Liberty Project Manager.
Tamra Herring recently joined the Liberty project in August 2014. She has 28 years of customer service experience. Tamra provided support as well as leadership to customer service over the course of her career that began in 1999. In 2007, she was assigned to lead staff that were merged from two separate organizations providing customer support. She assisted in cross-training to continue support coverage for both projects’ customers. Tamra was responsible for customer training both one-on-one training and group sessions to teach the software capabilities. Another duty she provided was technical support for in-house data repositories and also later for authentication software. She was the liaison between developers and customers to trouble-shoot customer issues and to provide usable feedback to developers. Also, Tamra worked with management and developers to schedule routine maintenance and new feature roll-outs to assist in minimal customer impact, helping to identify potential errors which would minimize wide-spread problems. Since joining the project on August 23, 2014, our Project Manager Tamra Herring has been working on the following tasks:
- Attended Liberty project training provided by Meadville Public Library
- Added content and fine tuned the Liberty website — paliberty.net
- Loaded book cover content
- Established a Facebook page for the Liberty project
- Reviewed MARC systems both desktop and web-based
- Learned the cataloging process
- Compiled and reviewed Liberty documentation
- Began research on grants earmarked for possible application in 2014 and 2015
- Proofread grant applications and assisted in filing grants
- Created a transparent logo image
- Reviewed marketing projects and developed bookmarks
- Researched and reviewed other eBook projects
Following the Douglas County Model (Colorado based eBook system), Liberty has begun development of the system, http://catalog.paliberty.net, to distribute free eBooks to patrons. Free eBooks are currently being uploaded for use. The authorization technology of opening up the system to other libraries and their patrons is being built.