Minutes — December 9, 2016


The one hundred fifty-ninth meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 10:04 a.m. on Friday, December 9, 2016 by Board Chair Susan Brown at the OPLIN office in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Jill Billman-Royer, Susan Brown, Karen Davis, Jeff Garringer, Joe Greenward, Cindy Lombardo, Chris May, Travis McAfee, Michael Penrod, and Becky Schultz.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges, Karl Jendretzky, Mandy Knapp and Laura Solomon (OPLIN); and Beverly Cain, Stephanie Herriott, Jamie Pardee and Brad Schmidt (State Library).



Jill Billman-Royer motioned to approve the agenda as presented; Chris May seconded. There was no discussion, so Chair Susan Brown called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


The Chair called for public participation.

Beverly Cain reported on the status of hiring staff at the State Library to work on the Ohio Digital Network, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub for Ohio; Jen Johnson has been selected as the ODN Project Coordinator, and the first meeting of committees will be in January. The State Library has also had a number of staff retirements. Beverly also reported that the State Library Board will award a number of LSTA grants to libraries at their December meeting.

4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of October 14 meeting

Karen Davis motioned to approve the minutes of the October 14 meeting as presented; Travis McAfee seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


Jamie Pardee presented budget information as of the end of November 2016. She called attention to the disbursement of about $6,000 to support the DPLA planning grant to Columbus Metropolitan Library. She also noted that almost $808,000 had been added to the budget for purchase of new routers, which has been approved by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), leaving about $120,000 in E-rate funds that have not been allocated for any purpose.

Chris May motioned to accept the Financial Reports; Cindy Lombardo seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


6.1. Decide on SOCC co-location service

Stephen Hedges reminded the Board of discussion at their October meeting about renting rack space at the State of Ohio Computer Center (SOCC) to allow Ohio public libraries to take advantage of the SOCC's hardened infrastructure. As noted at the last Board meeting, the CLEVNET library consortium plans to move the servers that provide services to the CLEVNET libraries to the SOCC because it is such a stable data center. OPLIN could expand this idea and reserve a cage of server racks at the SOCC for public library usage. Stephen provided details of rack capacity and costs.

Stephen suggested that OPLIN could provide free space for servers that provide services to more than one library, to encourage library consortia to use the SOCC for critical servers. For other libraries that want to put their equipment at the SOCC, OPLIN could pass the SOCC costs on to them. Stephen suggested that $360 per year per rack unit used should cover that cost, and he provided the calculations used to arrive at that figure. Stephen also noted that there had been a question at the last meeting about library IT staff access to the racks, and he has confirmed that key cards can be issued to library staff managing their equipment.

In response to a question from Jill Billman-Royer, Karl Jendretzky explained how power usage is monitored by the SOCC. Karl further noted that libraries could also locate their own network headends in this space, installing firewalls and bringing branch connections to the SOCC rather than locating the headend in the library. He has already had a discussion with one metropolitan library about this possibility. Servers located at the SOCC could also be protected against network attacks.

Cindy Lombardo motioned to lease a cage and necessary server racks at the SOCC for public library equipment, charging $360 per year per rack unit to the library for cost recovery, except for equipment in use by more than one library system, in which case there would be no charge; Jill Billman-Royer seconded.

Susan Brown confirmed that OPLIN would only be billed by the SOCC for power used, and also noted that there was no expectation that this service would ever "break even." Stephen and Karl both noted that they feel the SOCC has overestimated the typical amount of power used by a rack of equipment, but billing would indeed be based on actual usage, not the estimate. Karl also noted that OPLIN equipment would be located in the same cage.

Cindy Lombardo expressed her hope that there would be good publicity to the libraries about this service, which she feels would be beneficial for many of them. Michael Penrod asked what the benefit would be for a library like his, and Karl pointed out that any server which was important to the library could be located in an environment that was much more secure and stable than any environment the library could provide. Jill pointed out that OPLIN staff would also be located closer to a library's networked equipment in the event that assistance was needed.

There was no further discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion.

Recorded vote: Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Jeff Garringer, aye; Joe Greenward, aye; Cindy Lombardo, aye; Chris May, aye; Travis McAfee, aye; Michael Penrod, aye; Becky Schultz, aye; and Susan Brown, aye

6.2. Decide on managed security services

Stephen Hedges noted that some aspects of this business item had already been explained in the previous discussion. The appliance OPLIN now uses to protect the network from attacks would not be able to mitigate a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) of the magnitude that is becoming increasingly common on the internet. Larger devices are now available, but the licensing is very expensive and they are still not large enough to mitigate a large attack. Stephen also pointed out that these appliances are actually intended for protecting servers, not an entire network.

Stephen explained that there are Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs) that offer a variety of managed security services including round-the-clock monitoring and management of intrusion detection systems and responding to emergencies. While most of them can detect and identify DDoS attacks, few of them actually offer to mitigate the attacks; more commonly, they just alert their client that an attack is underway. Stephen and Karl Jendretzky have found four services that look like they might be able to mitigate attacks. DAS has issued an RFP for managed security services, but they are not asking for DDoS mitigation service; however, Stephen suspects there are internal discussions happening about DDoS mitigation, since the rest of the state network is currently protected by the same type of appliance OPLIN is using.

If OPLIN were to pursue a contract with an MSSP for DDoS mitigation, Stephen pointed out that no Controlling Board approval would be needed if the annual cost is less than $50,000. Stephen's recommendation would be that the Board approve initiating the process of purchasing managed DDoS mitigation with the stipulation that no more than $50,000 per year can be spent. He noted, however,that this process should start with discussions with DAS before approaching vendors.

Cindy Lombardo motioned to initiate the process of purchasing managed DDoS mitigation with the stipulation that no more than $50,000 per year be spent; Joe Greenward seconded.

Karl Jendretzky pointed out that there is no need to replace the current appliance immediately and agreed that DAS is likely to purchase something for the state network, which might also protect the OPLIN network. Stephen estimated that the current appliance would need to be replaced within a year. Joe Greenward asked if $50,000 per year would be enough, and Karl and Stephen replied that they thought it would be, based on the information they had seen.

There was no further discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion.

Recorded vote: Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Jeff Garringer, aye; Joe Greenward, aye; Cindy Lombardo, aye; Chris May, aye; Travis McAfee, aye; Michael Penrod, aye; Becky Schultz, aye; and Susan Brown, aye


7.1. Decide on copyright reform statement

Stephen Hedges shared a copyright reform statement circulated by the Califa Group, a nonprofit consortium of libraries in California, in the hope that other library organizations will sign on to the statement. The statement addresses proposed changes to current copyright law and their effect on e-publications in libraries. Stephen briefly reviewed the problems libraries have with licensing of e-publications and reminded the Board of past support for the Ohio Library Council (OLC) project that raised awareness of these problems. He also shared information about the opposition of the Library Copyright Alliance to proposed copyright changes.

Stephen noted that he has not been able to find any list of library organizations that have signed the Califa statement, nor any website for this effort. In response to a question from Cindy Lombardo, Stephen said he did not know of any approaching deadlines for copyright reform.

Jill Billman-Royer asked if the State Library or OLC had signed the statement. Beverly Cain reported that the State Library had agreed to sign after receiving a request from Califa, but had not received any further information after they responded to the request. Chris May also reported that he had searched for more information about this initiative and was concerned that there was not more transparency. Beverly Cain provided some background information about Califa and noted that they are going through a transition right now; Mandy Knapp pointed out that the Copyright Office may also be going through a transition.

The Board asked Stephen to contact Califa and request more information about this initiative.

Beverly Cain excused herself from the meeting.

7.2. Decide on semantic search grant

Stephen Hedges asked for permission to open a conference call with Karl Cólon, Director of Greene County Public Library, and Pascal Hitzler, Director for Data Science at Wright State University, to provide background information.

Karl Cólon and Pascal Hitzler joined the meeting by telephone.

Stephen introduced Pascal and Karl and provided a brief overview of his conversations with them since last spring about the possibility of building a software tool that would use the semantic web to assist librarians with answering vaguely-phrased questions from patrons about library materials. The tool would tentatively be called HOLMES, and conversations have been started with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) about applying for a National Leadership Grant to fund research and early development of HOLMES.

Pascal explained that there has been remarkable growth in the last few years of structured data that is available on the web to semantic search tools, data that can be used by a software reference tool for librarians. Stephen said that it looks like the best organization to apply for a National Leadership Grant to build a prototype of such a tool would be OPLIN, rather than Wright State University or Greene County Public Library. There would be no cash match required from OPLIN, just some administrative work.

Karl Cólon provided some examples of how this tool might be used by rural and small libraries. He also clarified that Greene County would provide its MARC records for use in the project and would act as a beta tester. Cindy Lombardo asked Karl to compare the proposed tool to Ask Jeeves, and Karl replied that, while similar, Ask Jeeves relied heavily on keyword searching while the proposed tool would search structured data. Susan Brown asked if there would be any problem with OPLIN being the applicant while Wright State was the primary investigator, and Karl replied that Pascal and Wright State University had prior experience with such arrangements.

Michael Penrod motioned to apply for a National Leadership Grant from IMLS to fund research and early development of a semantic search reference tool for librarians; Jill Billman-Royer seconded.

Travis McAfee asked how the proposed tool would interact with other library software tools. Karl Cólon clarified that the proposed project was intended to test the feasibility of building a tool, and interaction with other tools was a much larger issue that would be addressed in follow-up grants if the project proved feasible. Pascal added, however, that he feels certain something can be made to work, he wants to find out how hard it will be to make it useful.

Karl Jendretzky asked if the project would basically be converting flat MARC files to data that could be searched semantically. Pascal answered that the project should go beyond that by combining the MARC data with structured data from the web that describes the same resource in different ways. Karl explained that his question was whether the MARC data would be added to the tool as flat files or would there be a live connection to the Greene County catalog, and Pascal replied that within the scope of the research project, this would not matter, and would be a question for later development if the tool is feasible.

Stephen reported that Jason Kucsma from Toledo-Lucas County Public Library had also expressed interest in having their digital strategist involved with the project.

There was no further discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion.

Recorded vote: Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Jeff Garringer, aye; Joe Greenward, aye; Cindy Lombardo, aye; Chris May, aye; Travis McAfee, aye; Michael Penrod, aye; Becky Schultz, aye; and Susan Brown, aye



Becky Schultz, Search Committee Chair, reported that the committee has almost completed the process of finalizing the job description and plans to post the Director's position on or about April 17, 2017.


Stephen Hedges reported on his attendance at the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, California and shared some information from a presentation he attended about the Culture in Transit digitization project in New York City. He also reported on this year's RightClick conference, which was well attended; he received positive feedback from several library directors who sent IT staff to the conference. Stephen provided an update on two projects the Board had approved at the last meeting: the 100 Mbps circuits for all libraries, and the purchase of new routers. Both projects are well underway.

Regarding the OPLIN office activities calendar, Stephen highlighted training sessions Laura Solomon had done in Indiana and on the internet, two being webinars about best website practices that the Board had discussed, as well as visits Karl Jendretzky made to Zanesfield and Delaware libraries, and a meeting he and Mandy Knapp had with INFOhio about their iCoaches program to see if something like it could be used for training public librarians to use the databases.

9.1. Library Services Manager report

Laura Solomon noted that the webinars she gave about best practices for websites has renewed interest in the website kits. She reported on the development of the website audit service that the Board discussed at the last meeting and explained that there will be free simplified audits available to website kit customers. The complete, paid audit service is currently in testing. Laura has completed an update of the website kits manual. She has also been investigating Drupal version 8, which will be a nice upgrade but does not yet support all the functions needed by the website kits.

9.2. Digital Resources Manager report

Mandy Knapp noted that this is the end of her second week at OPLIN. She presented database statistics using a graph in a new, more detailed format. Other graphs focused on the less-used databases and showed that while some are continuously increasing in usage, others are continuously declining. She has been working with the Digitization Hubs to publish some information about their experiences, modeled loosely after the Culture in Transit toolkits that Stephen learned about at the Internet Librarian conference. Mandy also noted that she had gathered a lot of useful information from the meeting with INFOhio about iCoaches. Finally, she reported that she is preparing for the Content Advisory Committee meeting in February.

9.3. Technology Projects Manager report

Karl Jendretzky began by providing a little more information about how semantic searches differ from keyword searches. He then reported that the SMS service is still growing at about 30% per year, and also reported on the status of the OpenDNS service and overall bandwidth usage. Since the last meeting, a new component card in the OPLIN core router failed, which disabled the entire network on a holiday weekend; he noted that this is a good example of why it will be nice to have a second core router. The web hosting service that OPLIN has been using for the website kits, thinking it would be more dependable than OPLIN servers, also failed, so he is building a new, more robust OPLIN hosting solution that will use redundant load balancers across redundant servers. Finally, as a result of the 100 Mbps circuit upgrades, the AT&T circuits to the SOCC may soon be moved to a headend direct to OPLIN, rather than passing through OARnet first.


Chair Susan Brown reported that Marty Beets has tendered his resignation from the Board because he is leaving the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to take a job in private industry.

The Chair recognized Joe Greenward to offer the following resolution:

WHEREAS, MARTY BEETS has been a member of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees since June 2014, and

WHEREAS he has freely and unselfishly given of his time and efforts to ensure the success of OPLIN by serving on the Board for two and a half years, and

WHEREAS his service as the Director of Technology Operations at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County gave him an exceptional perspective on OPLIN and its services to libraries, and

WHEREAS his extensive knowledge of technical issues has always been a helpful source of information for the Board, and

WHEREAS he has consistently contributed his valuable opinions to OPLIN Board deliberations, and

WHEREAS he has been a steadfast and active advocate for OPLIN throughout his tenure on the Board,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that on the 9th day of December, Two Thousand and Sixteen, the members of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Public Library Information Network recognize the significant contributions made to public libraries and library service by MARTY BEETS during his outstanding tenure with the Ohio Public Library Information Network, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board extends its most sincere thanks and appreciation to MARTY BEETS for his continued volunteer service as a member of that Board.

Jill Billman-Royer seconded the resolution. All aye.

The Chair noted that this opening on the Board was not expected, and asked Stephen Hedges to talk about the timeline for filling the opening. Stephen explained that the Board usually appoints a committee in February to start the process of soliciting nominations for Board openings created when Board terms end in June, so the State Library Board can complete the appointments in a timely manner. The OPLIN Board could adhere to this timeline and ask the State Library Board to appoint someone to Marty's position along with the other positions that will be opening, or the State Library Board could be asked to appoint one person to start their term on June 1, while the other terms would start July 1. The Board could also start a nominations process now for one position and another nominations process in February for the other positions. Jill Billman-Royer noted that the Board is otherwise at full strength now and there would not be a significant difference between filling Marty's position in June or in July. The consensus of the Board was to wait and fill Marty's position at the same time as the other positions that will be coming open.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 11:40 a.m.