(to be approved at the next meeting)

March 30, 2023


    The 2023 annual meeting of the Content Advisory Committee of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) was called to order at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 30 by Christine Morris, OPLIN Digital Resources Manager at the OPLIN office. Present were committee members Kaitlin Booth, Renee Hopper, Tamar Kreke, Mary Frances (Francie) Labriola, Joe O'Rourke, and Anne Wachs, as well as ex-officio members Phil Willke, Christine Morris, and Don Yarman. A GoToMeeting link was provided for members unable to attend in person. Randall Fulks, Cathy Mason, and Barb Templeman joined via GoToMeeting. Sara Churchill was unable to attend. Attendees present and online introduced themselves after the approval of agenda and minutes.


    Anne Wachs moved to approve the agenda. Tamar Kreke seconded. The agenda was approved.


    There was no public participation.


    Francie Labriola moved to approve the minutes from March 1, 2022. Joe O’Rourke seconded. The minutes were approved.


    Discuss LCO ITN

    Christine gave background regarding the Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) Intent to Negotiate (ITN) process. The process started with the release of the ITN in September 2022. There was a very large response, and the reviewers had a short amount of time to assess nearly 90 products.

    Don gave an overview of OPLIN’s funding and budget. OPLIN’s budget has not changed substantially in the last 10 years, and our contribution to the LCO package has remained the same ($1 million each year), as have the OhioLINK ($1 million) and INFOhio ($500,000) contributions. The LSTA grant from the State Library of Ohio increased by .5% as a result of a special request by the LCO group.

    Anne said that the results were disappointing this time, while Tamar noted that public libraries did particularly well in the current contract. Francie noted that the EBSCO package takes the “lion’s share” of the funds available. Christine noted that there were discussions about comparable vendor packages and paring down the EBSCO package, but those discussions did not result in changes this time.

    Anne noted that OhioLINK and INFOhio had clear priorities among the resources, while there were no resources available that were attractive to a public library constituency that were priced less than $500,000. That made conversations about new resources difficult.

    There was a general discussion about homework assignments and electronic resources. Tamar noted that another local library system does not get any traditional “homework” questions, as their school district does not assign homework. That did not seem to be a universal trend, but others concurred that some schools in their areas are similar.

    Don asked about reactions to Transparent Languages. Most noted that they had low use of the resource, so they were not intending to seek local contracts. Some are still discussing the change. Many noted patron use of free or freemium resources or a local subscription to Mango. Some noted an interest in ESL resources; Mango does not have ESL, but Transparent did. Barb noted that in-person ESL classes are more popular at her library. Randall shared that Gale Courses has some language learning resources.

    There were some questions about EBSCO’s upcoming change to the Explora platform for all databases. Christine recently met with the EBSCO rep, and she will share more information about that transition to the CAC email list when that becomes available.


    Discuss Genealogy Quotes

    Don said that keeping Ancestry was a given. The question for the group was: if the quotes for renewal are outside of the scope of the budget, would libraries prefer that we keep HeritageQuest or Fold3. African American Heritage seems to be included at no charge in our package, so that is not up for debate.

    Anne found HeritageQuest to be frustrating, as it is composed of separate collections, and users need to know which collection to search for their particular needs. HeritageQuest also includes content that is provided elsewhere, like census records, Freedman's Bank Records, and Find-A-Grave.

    Anne noted that Fold3 has unique and sometimes exclusive content. The Fold3 content is linked out in other resources like FamilySearch and Ancestry, but it is not referenced in HeritageQuest. It has grown to include a number of scanned federal documents beyond military records, like naturalization records and Civil War Widow’s Pensions. These are full, scanned records and not just summaries of the record content.

    Kaitlin would prefer to keep HeritageQuest, but noted that HeritageQuest and Fold3 are “neck and neck” in stats; Randall concurred.

    Francie suggested that while African American Heritage is free with other subscriptions, one way to look at the issue is to ask which resource will cost less for libraries to subscribe on their own.

    Renee said that while Fold3 was specific, HeritageQuest is a general resource, which makes it good for beginners.

    Joe and Cathy indicated a preference for Fold3 over HeritageQuest, and Barb indicated that as long as Ancestry was renewed, the other resources did not matter as much to her community.

    There will likely need to be a 6 month transition period to cover whatever content may be dropped in genealogy to bridge public libraries to the end of their fiscal years and give time to plan for 2024.

    LinkedIn Library

    There was a question about LinkedIn Library from Tamar. She wondered when that resource was up for renewal. Christine answered that the current contract runs through June 30, 2024.

    Don discussed the pricing model for the contract and the expected budget for renewal. There will need to be significant negotiations in the upcoming year. Christine noted that there will be an RFP for that renewal; OPLIN has been able to use the LCO RFP as a starting point for negotiations on genealogy content this year, but online learning will require a new RFP next year. Anne suggested looking into Udemy, and Kaitlin reminded the group about Coursera for government accounts.


    Tamar asked how things were going with Northstar. Christine shared a brief overview of the successes so far: there have been partnerships with libraries and other state, regional, and local organizations, including the Connectivity Champions and the Northeast Ohio Digital Inclusion Alliance. The libraries that are actively using Northstar serve nearly 8 million of the nearly 12 million people in the State of Ohio.

    Funding for Year One was through an ARPA grant, and funding for Year Two is through an LSTA grant. One of the State Library Board members expressed an interest in seeing OPLIN pursue partnerships for funding subsequent years. OPLIN may look into alternative models for continuing the service in the future.

    Tamar mentioned that it is nice to have online learning modules for all of the assessments now.


    There being no further business, Tamar Kreke moved to adjourn the meeting. Renee Hopper seconded. The motion passed, and the meeting was adjourned at 11:32 a.m.