Primo/MetaLib PWG update

Both Primo and MetaLib Product Working Groups have an annual tradition of meeting face to face once every year between conferences, often at the conference venue and usually during February or March. This gives an opportunity for far-flung PWG members to get to know each other and to make quality time for dealing with Group business in detail.

This year was no exception and Primo and MetaLib PWGs met jointly for two days in Zurich in early March in the stunning Main Building of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich (ETH Zurich). Subjects covered included NERS (briefly with the SFX PWG on the first morning and in greater depth later); the Conference in September; the future of MetaLib; and organisation of a newly-merged Primo and MetaLib PWG. We listened to a presentation on Linked Data from Lukas Koster; and on the 2nd day participated in a tele-conference with Ido Peled and Yisrael Kuchar, respectively Ex Libris Primo and MetaLib Product Managers.

Located in the beautiful city of Zurich, ETH Zurich can usually be found towards the top of the various rankings of universities worldwide. Its Library, in the Main Building, follows an European trend of not apparently having any books in it; and on the last evening we were given a tour of some of the accommodation of its approximately 3 million volumes, including their digitising facility and a show of a conveyancing system guaranteed to get any book to any requester within 70 minutes of request.

September Conference in Zurich

The Conference website is well in preparation and a number of presentations and posters have been proposed, including Primo presentations and a poster. More Primo proposals are on their way, as well as at least one more on linked data.

We weren’t expecting to be deluged by MetaLib proposals. However if you have anything to say about MetaLib, or indeed Primo, Primo Central or MetaLib+, we want to know about it!

Whether or not, we certainly look forward to seeing you all in Zurich in September.

Teleconference with Ex Libris

A meeting with Ex Libris during PWG face to face meetings is always an exciting prospect to look forward to, and so it proved in Zurich! Both Ex Libris Primo and MetaLib Product Managers were able to attend, although an unfortunate calendar mix-up meant an early departure by the Primo PM.

Nonetheless significant ground was covered, although as is the case with all such meetings, this meeting left some questions unanswered and raised other questions, all of which are being considered. Nonetheless, Ex Libris were most helpful and clear with the answers they gave; and these help furnish much of what follows below.

Enhancement activities: Primo and MetaLib

A major PWG activity is NERS. We have not hitherto run any software voting rounds in Primo Central or MetaLib+, but activity has been considerable in both Primo and the MetaLib knowledgebase (CKB). Both Primo software enhancements and MetaLib CKB requests may of course be relevant to Primo Central with regard respectively to its interface and the inclusion of new data sources.

a. Primo

A list of Primo enhancements is in preparation for another round of Primo software enhancement voting. There are currently (at time of writing) 58 items on the list: 50 enhancements carried over from the 2010 software enhancements round; and a further 8 requests added to NERS by the Primo community. This list is currently under review with the ELUNA Primo PWG to remove requests that have been added or have been scheduled for addition to Primo after the 2010 voting round in preparation for the final list for voting.

b. MetaLib

Andrew Brown was thanked for the considerable work he has put in on running the MetaLib CKB voting in NERS. We have now completed 9 snapshots, with a 10th due in May; many winning resources have been submitted to Ex Libris with a number now included in the CKB, although we await an update report from Ex Libris on recent CKB prioritisation. It is clear that a number of local resources are now included in the MetaLib CKB that would never have been added were it not for this NERS work.

Along the line, it is to be noted that Ex Libris are using these MetaLib NERS snapshots to help prioritise the inclusion of new data sources in the Primo Central Index.

The Future of MetaLib

Obviously a difficult subject on which I’m sure we’ll hear more from Ex Libris in due course. The MetaLib Advisory Group, convened originally by Ex Libris with the IGeLU and ELUNA MetaLib PWGs to support MetaLib Next Generation development, has been wound up by Ex Libris who will of course, we were assured, continue to release MetaLib CKB updates and occasional MetaLib patch releases.

Primo/MetaLib PWG organisation

You will recall that at the IGeLU conference last September in Haifa, the IGeLU MetaLib and Primo Product Working Groups agreed to merge to form a new, single combined PWG. There was much discussion within IGeLU during 2010/11; but essentially it was felt that a merger was justified by the maturity of the MetaLib product and a common interest in the Primo user interface to Primo Central Index and MetaLib+.

The Zurich meeting emphasised the need for flexibility for the organisation of the new PWG, and proposes a structure to serve as a starting point from next September. An ideal size of the new Group is 6-7 members, comprising a Coordinator to represent the Group, a Deputy Coordinator to act as Coordinator-in-Waiting, and a subgroup of enhancement officers. Product specialists for MetaLib and Primo, who would also be active participants in the Enhancements subgroup, will ensure that these two communities continue both to have a voice in IGeLU and with Ex Libris. A number of other roles were also identified that could be dealt with by the whole Group or by any combination of Group members as the new Group decides.

This item is dealt with more completely elsewhere; and approval for this structure will be sought as part of the formal process of constituting the Group at the IGeLU Zurich September conference later this year.

Jeremy Acland
On behalf of the Primo/MetaLib PWG