A redefined scenario for the future of EAST: Steady Ahead and Gathering Steam

As the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) completes its first three years of work,  the EAST Project Team and Executive Committee undertook a strategic planning exercise focused on defining the future of EAST for the 12-24 months following the completion of the current grant funding (which runs through June 30, 2018).  A scenario approach was taken with the group discussing varying scenarios emphasizing different aspects of the work of EAST: monograph retention, serials/journals retention, operational issues, outreach and community building, and collaboration with other programs to grow and expand shared print.

After discussion, the Executive Committee agreed to a scenario that combines a full steam ahead approach to certain project priorities – serials/journals retention, operational work, collaboration – combined with a slow and steady approach to others – monograph retention and outreach.  This document describes this “Steady Ahead and Gathering Steam” scenario. It is published here on the EAST website in order to facilitate feedback from the EAST member community. We encourage you to read the document and comment below.


A Reminder on 2018 Goals and Objectives

To set the stage for this scenario, below is a high level summary of the major work being completed this year through June of 2018:

  • Cohort 2 – complete collection analysis, allocation and retention commitments for monographs with completed and signed MOU’s for all Cohort 2 libraries and retention commitments updated in local catalogs
  • Complete allocations for the pilot group of serials/journals libraries for the “medium rare” titles
  • Finalize plans for extending the initial serials/journals pilot and increase the number of serials/journals Retention Partners by including those from Cohort 2 and any additional interested Cohort 1
  • Begin to work with the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance
  • Complete planning for and host the Shared Print Monograph Summit in April
  • Follow up on results from April Summit, particularly as relates to EAST future planning and collaboration for a national shared print focus
  • Continue to work with the members and particularly the Operations Committee to develop best practices for operationalizing EAST across the members libraries.


Goals and Objectives of the EAST Future Scenario

The scenario described below is intended to provide an overview of the work that EAST will undertake over the 12-24 months from July, 2018.


Monograph Retentions and Expanding Monograph Retention Partners

EAST has made impressive progress over the last three years in completing work on monograph retention commitments for the original Cohort 1 libraries and is well under way with Cohort 2.  While there may be interest across other academic and research libraries in joining a Cohort 3 for EAST, it is unlikely EAST could subsidize the collection analysis work for a third group of libraries without undertaking work to secure further grant funding.  

This future scenario assumes we do not focus on forming a Cohort 3 in 2018, but take stock mid FY-19 (i.e. by December, 2018) and determine if, based on expressed interest, the EAST Executive Committee should consider approaching funding bodies or consider other options for expanding the EAST membership.  In the interim, EAST will evaluate requests to join on a case-by-case basis. The Executive Committee may, if interest warrants, consider additional membership categories or other approaches to collection analysis which would allow libraries to join EAST outside of a formal cohort while still meeting similar requirements to the current Cohorts in terms of collection analysis and retention commitments.  

The EAST Project Team will continue modest outreach through conferences and other communications to libraries who express interest in EAST and will communicate these regularly to the EC for consideration.


Serials/Journals Retentions

The approach for serials and journals retention over the next 12-24 months is one of full steam ahead. We anticipate having the first set of retention commitments for the Cohort 1 pilot group in place in the spring of 2018, but there is much work still to be done to continue the analysis of both widely held serials/journals and those which are unique or scarcely held across EAST.  The work done to date with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) has demonstrated that they are a feasible partner in collection analysis. The pilot project we completed with them in late 2017, and the lessons learned from that project, have served as a model for accelerated serials and journals work in 2018 and beyond.

The EAST Executive Committee approved funding a second round of serials and journals work with CRL in early 2018 and as of April, 2018 we are working with the 21 Cohort 1  Serials/Journals Retention Partners and an additional 8 new libraries (primarily from Cohort 2) who have agreed to participate. Over the next few months, EAST will work with CRL on data collection and, well into FY19, we expect to finalize a second round of serials/journals retention commitments.  This focus on serials and journals in FY19 will include working closely with CRL and the Serials/Journals Working Group to upload retention commitments into the PAPR (Print Archives and Registration Registry). Should OCLC complete additional work on registration in WorldCat during this period to facilitate recording of serial and journal retention commitments (which currently seems unlikely), EAST would also work with the members to update this registration for serials and journals commitments.

The EAST Project Team will also investigate ways we can centrally support operationalizing the serials/journals commitments, including investigating options for gap filling. The Serials/Journals Working Group will continue into FY19, providing advice not only on collection analysis and retention modeling but also on any needed updates to the retention and reallocation policies of EAST (which were initially developed during the monograph retention process).

With the recent acceptance of EAST as a member of the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance, we also expect that FY19 and beyond will see EAST participating fully in working with our Rosemont partners in expanding serials and journals retention nationally.  Our participation in Rosemont may open up even more opportunities for EAST to play a major role in serials and journal retention in the future.


Further Operational Work

One of the clear messages from the October Member Meeting relates to the importance of supporting the members as they operationalize EAST within their institutions, both from the perspective of ILL as the EAST Lending Network grows and as relates to technical services workflows impacted by participation in shared print. The Project Team believes the following should be the focus over the next 12-24 months:

  • work with the Executive Committee to review governance and major operating policies and procedures as EAST matures
  • continue to work with the Operations Committee on detailing the reallocation of retention commitment requirements
  • work with the Cohort 1 Serials/Journals Retention Partners to register their commitments in WorldCat and develop any appropriate documentation to support this (Note: this requires that OCLC complete the necessary work to support such registration)
  • work with representatives of the various Working Groups to develop a series of short recordings to be used for onboarding new staff at EAST member libraries
  • reconvene the ILL Working Group to consider ways to monitor lending and borrowing across EAST member libraries.


Outreach and Communications

Another important theme, both from the Member Meeting and in discussions with the EAST Executive Committee, relates to focus on outreach and communications, within the EAST community as well as outside it.  While the EAST website has served the work of the initial monograph and journals/serials retention partners, it has been oriented primarily to the academic and research library audience. As the EAST community grows, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that the website and other EAST collateral materials serve a wider spectrum of stakeholders across the institutional members. This is likely to be even more important should EAST’s profile expand further as a result of the April Summit or should EAST engage in other collaborative work, such as the recent expression of interest by the BookTraces project at the University of Virginia.

To that end, EAST anticipates working with members of the Executive Committee and possibly an outside consultant to develop and implement a communications and outreach plan that more directly addresses concerns of academic faculty and administrations as well as those of their institutional member libraries.  This work will require allocation of funds from the existing EAST surplus reserve.


Collaboration with Other Shared Print Initiatives

As EAST looks to the future, collaboration across shared print initiatives is likely to become an increasingly important focus.  Beginning in January, 2018 EAST became active in the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance, whose focus is on serials and journals retention.  This will provide us with further insight into ways in which EAST can act as a major player in furthering and broadening serials and journals retention at a national level.

EAST has taken a leadership role in bringing together the existing shared print monograph programs through the Summit it sponsored in Boston on April 5-6, 2018.  A summary of the Summit and related documents can be found here.  The Summit resulted in the establishment of six Working Groups focused on developing an action agenda for those items considered to be of highest priority to furthering the mission of shared print, particularly monograph shared print.  Over the next few months, the Working Groups will begin to develop their ideas and report back to the larger Summit participants. Susan Stearns of EAST will be reviewing the Summit at the Print Archive Network (PAN) Forum at ALA in late June, 2018 and EAST hopes to be able to bring the Summit participants back together for a follow-up meeting in the fall for further discussions on collaboration and cooperation.  

To better crystalize the details of the future of EAST and finalize specific goals and objectives for the period from June, 2018 forward, the EAST Executive Committee and EAST Project Team are meeting in Boston in late July.  Following this meeting, EAST will update the membership on specific plans for FY19 and include further details in the regular update webinars that are provided to the full EAST membership.