Frequently Asked Questions about Product Working Groups
What are ELUNA Product Working Groups and Product Working Groups Leaders?
Users of each of Ex Libris’ products may form a group with a product focus within ELUNA. Users of multiple products may choose to form a single product group.
The Product Working Group Leaders are chosen by a product group to be responsible for carrying out its charge.
What is the Charge of an ELUNA Product Working Group?
Each Product Working Group is charged with the following responsibilities:
1. Each Product Working Group is responsible for organizing the enhancement process for that product
2. Each Product Working Group shall develop sessions of interest to their users at the ELUNA conference, coordinating their work with overall conference planning done by the ELUNA Steering Committee.
3. The ELUNA Steering Committee shall seek the advice of Product Working Group Chairs on issues of concern to particular Product Working Groups. Chairs are in turn expected to seek the advice of members of their groups.
4. Each Product Working Group is responsible for updating its page on the ELUNA web site
How are Product Working Groups Organized?
Product Working Groups shall operate informally, i.e., without a constitution or bylaws. Each Product Working Group is free to decide how to choose its leaders and how to structure their roles. At the very least, however, the following responsibilities must be assigned:
Each Product Group shall elect or appoint a Product Working Group Chair. The Chair is responsible for facilitating communication between the ELUNA Steering Committee and the Product Working Group. The Chair is required to submit an annual report on the activities of the Product Working Group at the request of the Steering Committee and at least annually to the ELUNA membership at the annual meeting. The ELUNA Steering Committee will appoint a Steering Committee Liaison to each Product Working Group, who will serve as the Chair’s primary point of contact with the Steering Committee.
Each Product Group shall, in consultation with the ELUNA Steering Committee, elect or appoint someone to establish and shepherd the enhancement process for that product with Ex Libris each year, advising the Steering Committee of its progress and seeking advice of the Steering Committee when necessary.
Finally, each Product Working Group shall elect or appoint someone to be responsible for organizing the program track for its product at the annual ELUNA meeting, and for participating in overall program planning in conjunction with the Program Chair.
How is joint or separate Working Group structure determined?
Below are factors that the ELUNA Steering Committee (SC) takes into consideration when determining if a Working Group (WG) should be a joint ELUNA/IGeLU Working Group or an independent ELUNA Working Group. Seldom is there any single deciding factor, but rather a combination of factors, that help make this decision. Below are the main considerations we take into account:
- Size: We take into account the regional size of customer base in determining if a joint working group best serves the ELUNA community. We find the size of the customer base correlates strongly with the amount of work needed; sharing the work between two working groups can often be in the best interest in furthering initiatives.
- Complexity: The complexity of the issues faced by the working group is also a consideration. Sometimes, due to complexities of the working group’s focus area, ELUNA and IGeLU priorities may be different and each community may be better served by having separate working groups.
- Life Stage: The life-cycle stage of a product may have an impact. Sometimes it makes sense to create a combined working group when a product is new, there are not many customers, and the development engagement with Ex Libris is best served jointly. Also, when a product is superseded by a new solution and declining in institutional usage, it might make sense to combine working groups as the product is receiving less focus from customers.
- Leadership Opportunities: One of the key benefits of ELUNA membership is involvement in various working and interest groups. This includes providing leadership opportunities to our community of users. Professional development of our community of users is enhanced by the opportunity to serve as Working Group and Steering Committee Officers and Chairs. These leadership opportunities are an important part of the development and growth of future leaders in our profession and for the ELUNA community. These leadership opportunities and principles are required to be present in all ELUNA Working Groups, and in joint ELUNA/IGeLU Working Groups as “shared leadership” opportunities.
- Ease of Operations: This is less important than other considerations but simply highlights the difficulty that a working group can have with scheduling. Some institutions/geographical areas may be resistant to scheduling meetings early or late in the day outside of normal working hours which could be disruptive to the work being done by the working group. Different vacation/holiday arrangements could also add to scheduling difficulties. These considerations all need to be weighed against the overall work that the working group is trying to accomplish.
Just as multiple independent laboratories often develop solutions faster than a single large laboratory, two independent groups with distinct visions are sometimes more agile and operate more dynamically than a larger single group. As a result, a two group structure can lead to a faster and more robust examination of ideas.
Examples of how these decision points were applied can be seen in these recent group decisions.
SFX and Voyager (Joint): The main decision point was related to the life stage of the products.
Leganto (Separate): The decision was based on product life stage and trajectory (rapid, increased expansion in North America) as well as ease of working group operations.
Primo (Separate): The main decision points were complexity and size. The existence of two separate groups provides an effective model for working both separately and boosting productivity with collaborative work.
Interoperability (Joint): Size (similar overlapping concerns between ELUNA and IGeLU across multiple products) and the need for common voice with Ex Libris were key factors.
Alma (Joint): Issues of size, complexity, life stage, and working operations may soon require re-evaluation on the working group structure.