Start of Message :

The Newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group

April 2005 2004-- no. 98
Supplement: Proposal Dec.27, 2004


Motion to MLA from HSOCLCUG 

From: Health Sciences OCLC Users Group

and MLA/TSS Ad Hoc Task Force on HSOCLCUG 

To: Medical Library Association Section Council Chair Norma Funkhouser 

Cc: Neil Rambo, MLA Treasurer

Cc: Raymond Naegele, MLA Director of Financial and Adminstrative Services

Cc: Judy Wilkerson, MLA/TSS Chair, and Jan Cox, MLA/TSS Chair Elect 


Date: December 27, 2004


(a) HSOCLCUG leaders propose that MLA appoint an MLA representative to OCLC for a three-year term, with a maximum of two terms if the person is willing.  Three years is the same as OCLC's Members Council terms.  (b) To fund the representative's activities, HSOCLCUG seeks the MLA Board's approval, by May 31, 2005, for HSOCLCUG to donate the funds remaining in HSOCLCUG's account to MLA at the time of disbandment, expected to be June 30, 2005. 

The MLA representative should attend an OCLC Members Council meeting at the start of the representative's term in order to make connections and meet people, then after that, only go if and when there is something particularly relevant.  Email and phone calls should be used to present our positions or recommendations to key people on the OCLC staff and the OCLC Members Council in advance of a visit to a Council meeting and sometimes instead of a visit.   The Council meets three times a year with a specific agenda but a representative is only required when specific issues are defined for consideration at Members Council and its committees.  The MLA rep would be a lobbyist or promoter of sorts for medical librarians' issues and concerns, and also would keep MLA/TSS members and others informed of OCLC decisions on those issues. 

In conjunction with an official MLA representative to OCLC, HSOCLCUG proposes the formation of either a new MLA special interest group (health sciences OCLC users) or a new MLA/TSS standing committee to work with the representative. 

Statement of problem or need : 

HSOCLCUG is approaching its thirtieth anniversary in 2005.  It is the determination of the HSOCLCUG Executive Board that the Users Group cannot continue in its present form as a volunteer membership organization with elected and appointed officers, with annual membership dues, and with bylaws.  HSOCLCUG does not have enough active membership to continue to be a viable, stand-alone organization.  HSOCLCUG is proposing that MLA carry on HSOCLCUG's historic roles providing liaison and representation to OCLC Members Council.   

The HSOCLCUG Board has already abandoned election for a President-elect this Fall and will discontinue collection of annual membership dues on July 1, 2005 for the 2005/2006 year. 

Past relevant MLA action or policy:  

The MLA Section Council Procedures Manual describes the procedure to be followed for donations to MLA from outside sources above the amount of $2,000.  (


There are still issues of interest to medical librarians that need to be pursued, such as the necessary implementation of medical subject authorities in OCLC's authority linking system (Connexion).  There is a long laundry list of unique issues for medical libraries in OCLC's global collaborative.  This is a time of change and health sciences librarians need to continue in their support of the OCLC collaborative and work to make the most of the changing environment and play a role in the future of OCLC. 

Who will take action (e.g. Board, Councils, Section, etc.)  

It is expected that MLA will be able to administer the funds to allow reimbursement for travel expenses for the official representative from the Association to OCLC Members Council meetings.  The Council meets three times a year with a specific agenda but a representative is only required when specific issues are defined for consideration at Members Council and its committees.    

What would MLA/TSS's role be in this?   MLA/TSS would probably provide guidance to the MLA representative to OCLC, such as what issues to focus on or pursue, whether the expense of any particular trip to OCLC is a good idea, whether incidental costs such as photocopying charges should be paid for out of the contributed HSOCLCUG funds or MLA funds, etc. 

What are the costs involved, and what will be the source of funding?  

The cost for a representative's trip to an OCLC Members Council meeting in Dublin , Ohio , could be as high as $650.  The cost of the last HSOCLCUG member to go to a Council meeting (in Oct. 2002) was $425 ($309 for three nights stay at nearby hotel (Marriott) + $116 for airfare between Chicago and Columbus).  Food expenses are minimal because most food all day long, every day during the meetings, is provided by OCLC at no charge to attendees.  A plan of meetings is available on the OCLC website at:  

HSOCLCUG funds transferred to MLA in 2005 would be somewhere between $5,500 and $6,000.  They would be the source of funding for the representative's activities. .   Once the funding is expended, it will be up to MLA/TSS to determine if continued funding of travel expenses for a representative to OCLC Members Council is required.    

What would be MLA's responsibilities or obligations, other than paying the travel expenses mentioned above?  Probably nothing financial, but one responsibility would likely be accommodating a meeting at MLA annual where OCLC issues could be discussed and where OCLC representatives could come and make presentations and field questions and gather input.  OCLC does not charge for having representatives go to present at annual library meetings on a national level.  It would be good to have meeting space that MLA would not charge for, if possible .    This meeting could be done as part of a SIG if one is approved or as a part of the function of a Standing Committee of MLA/TSS.  Both of these options will require input and approval of the appropriate MLA bodies.

HSOCLCUG is seeking an MLA decision and approval of this motion by May 31, 2005 in advance of HSOCLCUG's planned disbandment by June 30. 

HSOCLCUG believes that no MLA bylaws changes will be necessary to allow the proposed action.  Gin Lingle, the MLA/TSS bylaws chair for 2004/2005 and a member of the MLA/TSS Ad Hoc Task Force on HSOCLCUG, considers the objectives from the HSOCLCUG bylaws to be compatible with the bylaws of both MLA and MLA/TSS.  She considers the possible solution #3 of forming an MLA/TSS standing committee to be in harmony with Article VIII, Sections 1 to 3.  HSOCLCUG historic objectives, which the Ad Hoc Task Force would like to see as the guiding objectives for any of the four solutions above (MLA representative, etc.), are: 

1. To establish and maintain at OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as OCLC) a voice that will be heard and recognized as that of a group of users with specific needs; to be in contact with OCLC operations staff.

2. To provide means for the exchange of information among the members of the MLA, from MLA to OCLC, and from OCLC to the MLA.

3. To act as a liaison in relations between the National Library of Medicine and OCLC.  To encourage research and development at OCLC into issues that may benefit the access and distribution of scientific and medical information.

4. To provide awareness of standards, national and international, that impact OCLC and its users, and advocate issues and standards specifically of special interest to the medical and scientific community. 

Supporting article in MLA/TSS Technical Trends:  

HSOCLCUG has submitted a background article in mid December to appear in the next issue of Technical Trends, to publicize the work of the MLA/TSS Ad Hoc Task Force on HSOCLCUG. 

Health Sciences OCLC Users Group 2004/2005 elected officers:

Janice J. Powell Muller, President                              

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences        

Bethesda , Maryland 20814-4799                                   



Judith Dzierba, Past President

Library of Rush University ; Chicago , IL



Other members of the HSOCLCUG Executive Board:

Dan Kniesner, Administrative Secretary and Archivist,

Charlie Lackey, Start of Message Editor,

Mary Holt, Web Coordinator,

Karleen Darr, MEDCAT list manager,  


MLA/TSS Ad Hoc Committee on HSOCLCUG:

Mary Holt, chair

Dan Kniesner

Charlie Lackey

Janice J. Powell Muller

Gin Lingle

Junie Janzen 


Contact Information

Dan Kniesner, HSOCLCUG Administration Secretary, 2004-2005 and the Groups' Archivist. Contact Information:


HSOCLCUG Homepage:

Start of Message is the newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group, an independent group composed of health sciences libraries and individuals who either use or are interested in the use of the services of OCLC, Inc. in health sciences libraries.

Created April 10, 2005
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