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Notes from the summer WEST Members’ Meeting

WEST hosted its summer Members’ Meeting on June 22, the first Members’ Meeting to be offered entirely virtually. Over 40 individuals from over 35 WEST member institutions were in attendance, hearing program updates as well as targeted presentations on burgeoning collaborations in the shared print community and changes to WEST member fees over the next three fiscal years.

WEST Executive Committee Chair Mark Roosa (Pepperdine University) opened the meeting, providing a welcome to attendees and a reflection on WEST’s activities and accomplishments over the past year. Among these were the program assessment and strategic planning session that were conducted in the second half of 2019 which will shape program activities for the coming years, and the archiving milestones that WEST is swiftly approaching through the strength of member collaborations. As Mark noted,

None of this would have been possible without your involvement and your commitment to preservation and access and your willingness to be part of a community that is dedicated to ensuring long term access to the print journal scholarly record.

The WEST project team then provided WEST program updates, including 

  • an overview of archiving progress during WEST’s first 10 years
  • the status of the current collection analysis that will produce archiving proposals for Cycles 10 and 11
  • a preview of the upcoming AGUA development phase (Phase 5)
  • an update on the WEST working groups whose formation was recommended by WEST governance during the 2019 strategic planning session
  • an unveiling of a new “About WEST” section on the WEST website
  • a progress report on the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance

Additionally, Program Manager Alison Wohlers provided new information about the collaboration between the California Digital Library (CDL), the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), and HathiTrust that was announced in January at ALA Midwinter. This collaboration “take[s] up the threads of the considerable effort that has already been invested” by a number of organizations and federations in the shared print community, including the Rosemont Alliance, and provides leadership “to move toward a more integrated, interconnected, and interoperable infrastructure for shared print” that is community-driven. As she noted, “an infrastructure is more than a tool and it is a set of practices and workflows, how we work together as a community to realize a truly robust system of shared collections.”

The second portion of the meeting was dedicated to reviewing strategic pivots that the WEST program has made in response to the COVID-19 crisis in order to offer “compassionate, responsive, and proactive” support to members during a period of great uncertainty. The Program Manager outlined the multi-year plan the WEST Executive Committee developed to reduce member fees in the short term while still maintaining core services and activities. Among the areas where savings were identified were the travel budget for program staff (typically used to support WEST member meetings at ALA Annual and Midwinter as well as the annual in-person Rosemont Shared Print Alliance Executive Committee meeting), targeted reduction of the archive creation budget,  and the program buffer funds, typically used to mitigate impacts of attrition and which is now being proactively deployed to support member retention.

Due to the sensitive financial content included in this meeting, the recording and presentation slides will be made available to WEST Primary Contacts, and will be available upon request by anyone affiliated with a WEST member institution. If you would like a copy of the recording, transcript, and/or presentation slides, please email Anna Striker at anna.striker@ucop.edu.

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