The latest news from your partners at OCLS
DEC 2020
Farewell to OCLS's Director of IT, Alexander Eykelhof
As most of you know, at the end of this month Alex will be retiring, ending his tenure as OCLS’s Director of IT after more than 23 years of service to the Ontario college libraries.

Alex has had a long and varied career, which included stints as a factory worker, court reporter, security guard, and in 1977/78 as a peacekeeper and photographer in the Middle East, for which he, along with all other United Nations Peacekeepers, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. 

Alex holds an HBA from Brock University (1976) and an MA (1986) and MLS (1995) from the University of Toronto. Before coming to the Bibliocentre, Alex worked at the U of T Library from 1988 to 1997, becoming the Manager of Library Systems in the early 1990s. He joined the Bibliocentre in 1997 as the Technology Manager, and became Director of IT in 2002. In his time at the Bibliocentre, Alex was involved in the development of the Remote Access and Video on Demand services for the colleges, as well as migrating the colleges to the Sirsi platform and helping support the then-fledgling Sirsi Consortium.

When OCLS was formed in 2009, Alex became not only OCLS’s Director of IT, but OCLS’s first employee and a crucial bridge between OCLS and Bibliocentre services, providing network and system security, service continuity, and support for the colleges during those important early stages. In this role, Alex was responsible for establishing OCLS’s IT systems and services and transitioning the Remote Access service, the Sirsi Consortium, and the Colleges Union Catalogue to OCLS from the Bibliocentre. Over the years, Alex has played a key role in the maintenance and evolution of OCLS’s IT services and systems, including major upgrades to our systems, server migrations from Scarsdale to Gervais and then later from physical to cloud hosting, and upgrades and improvements to the RA service and systems. In addition, Alex has built and mentored a strong team at OCLS with the skills and expertise to support OCLS’s systems and the services that rely on them, and we are confident that with this team, OCLS’s IT services and the Ontario colleges that rely on them will be in excellent hands.
It’s hard to imagine OCLS without Alex. We’ll miss his IT expertise, his dedication to the Ontario colleges, and of course his sense of humour.

Over the past 23 years Alex has built strong relationships with library staff. Here is what some of his colleagues across the Ontario college library system have to say:

I’ve been with Georgian for 35 years and for 27 of those years have known and worked with Alex. We have all been through many trials and tribulations, implementations and so many enormous changes in the library world, but one of the stalwarts through all of these changes has been Alex. I will miss him and in particular his support with the SIRSI consortium. I wish him all the best in retirement. Carol McNabb, Georgian College

There are times in one's professional duties, especially in Ontario college libraries that progress seems somewhat deterred. In the last 2 decades I personally was able to find a subtle blessing who, in times of defeat stepped forward and provided the perfect answers. Alexander has been a guiding light for all colleges, a devoted soldier who saw wrong and made it right. Best wishes Alex. Enjoy the freedom.” John DeCaro, St. Clair College

I'm sad to lose not only our most reliable technology resource, but also the privilege of working with a friend. I know you'll make the most of your new 7-day weekends.” Eva McDonald, Centennial College. 

“Alex has been a rock for us at Sault College. Over my tenure here, and I know before, Alex has gone above and beyond to fix our RA or Sirsi issues, and always in a timely and professional manner. More broadly, his dedication to Ontario college libraries is a testament to our success. Alex, your absence will be sincerely missed across all of our libraries. Thank you for everything you have done for us. We hope you enjoy a well deserved retirement.” Jason Bird, Sault College
OCLS Restructure and Service Lead Framework
In advance of Alex’s retirement, OCLS has taken the opportunity to restructure our organization to align with our mandate as service provider. Several staff have taken on new responsibilities and duties and have been working diligently on knowledge transfer before Alex departs. To ensure the stability of our IT systems, we have increased the responsibility and accountability of our IT Systems Analyst and have engaged OCAS, as our network and systems provider, to provide additional consulting and back up support services.

Additionally, over the past four months, OCLS has implemented a Service Lead Framework across the organization. Each OCLS service now has a designated Service Lead, an OCLS staff member who acts as the key contact and champion of the service. The Service Lead is responsible for the overall delivery and development of the service and for the coordination of customer service, support, and communication with internal and external stakeholders. A number of our services have already had de facto service leads in place but the framework helps us clarify and define the responsibilities, apply consistency across all our service offerings, and communicate more clearly with college library staff.

We’ve also updated the OCLS Staff page of the website to provide additional details about staff roles, and will continue to explore additional methods for college library staff to identify service contacts from the OCLS website.
We’ve got CORe, Now What Do We Do With It? 
By Kent Reynolds, Niagara College
Prior to the pandemic, Niagara College’s Digital Repository was primarily being used as an institutional archive, or a place to put “things that needed a home.” We were starting to populate it with artifacts from Niagara College’s history and other items of significance. We reached out to various departments within the college to offer the repository as a digital showcase solution; although there was great interest in CORe, very little material was coming our way. Our greatest success was a partnership with the GIS program where past student project exemplars, formerly held in the library’s reserve collection, were ingested into CORe to improve student access.

Then everything changed.

Niagara College’s initial response to the COVID 19 Pandemic of 2020 was to shift all courses to online delivery and close all on-campus services, including the libraries. However, with every challenge comes an opportunity for a solution. Since physical library resources were no longer available to lend, we started to think of ways to use CORe to meet the demand for online teaching and learning resources. As a result, we have been able to add some items from our extremely popular reserve collection, including samples of capstone reports for a business course, construction engineering projects, and specific chapters from books needed for assignments. Our newest upcoming project will be to ingest a set of recently purchased case studies for use in our business programs.
Niagara College Libraries is a strong advocate for open educational resources (OER) and CORe has proven to be a very helpful tool to help us increase our OER profile. CORe is now the home to several OER publications created by faculty and library staff and the links have been shared to global repositories like OERCommons and eCampus Ontario.

The access that CORe provides our users is friendly and easy to navigate. The option to add an embargo eliminates outside users from accessing items that are limited due to licensing or copyright restrictions. Working very closely with our copyright team, we ensure that items being added to the repository are in compliance with current Fair Dealing interpretations. The evolution of these new purposes for CORe has provided us with another platform option to help meet the needs of our staff and students during an unusual time.
Update on the Annual CLO Statistical Survey
By Rosanne Renzetti, Ideative Consulting, and Siobán Linnen, OCLS
The annual CLO Library Statistical survey was distributed to the college libraries this spring, opening on Friday, June 2. Due to the ongoing pandemic and the fact that a large number of staff are currently working remotely and may have had challenges retrieving data, as well as changing priorities and work loads, libraries were given an extended period of time to respond. The survey was originally scheduled to close at the end of September, but at the request of several libraries, this date was extended to October 30th.

Rosanne Renzetti has provided support to college library staff throughout this process, the CLO Metrics and Assessment Committee provided input on questions that required additional clarification, and all answers were posted in an FAQ and shared with staff. To date, we have received completed survey responses from 22 of the 24 libraries, and we expect to have 23 responses by the end of the year. A draft statistical report is expected be presented to the CLO Metrics and Assessment Committee in January, and once finalized, will be shared with CLO Executive and the college libraries.

On behalf of the committee, thank you to everyone who has participated in this process.
New Look for askON; Extended Hours, Record Breaking Traffic Continue
By Rebecca LaFrance, Services and Support Associate - Virtual Reference, OCLS
2020 has been a big year for askON. The fall askON term started with a fresh, new look for the service as a new logo and chat buttons were rolled out across the participating college library websites. This logo refresh is the first major change to the look of the service since it launched in 2008.

Following a record-breaking summer, askON’s fall term has seen unprecedented levels of incoming questions. After adding additional service hours this spring, askON extended hours even further this fall to better serve students, staff, and faculty while most classes are being delivered remotely. askON is now open from 6:00 am to midnight, Monday to Friday, in order to better align with the time zones of international student taking classes from their home countries. With these additional 40 hours of service, askON is open for 102 hours per week.
askON has received over 9,000 questions since the beginning of September 2020, an 89% increase over the same period in 2019. One of the most significant findings this fall is that 26% of all weekday chats are coming in during the morning and late night periods. This means that over a quarter of all askON visitors may have missed out on receiving live research and library help without askON’s extended service hours. askON plans to continue with the same extended schedule this winter to continue to support students through the pandemic.

For questions about askON, please contact Rebecca LaFrance.
Staff Profile: Cajetan Fernandes
Cajetan Fernandes has been with OCLS since July 2019 as our Systems Analyst. He has over twenty years' experience in Information Technology Systems in diverse industries, including banking, insurance, shipping, retail, and aviation, where he held numerous roles in development, IT infrastructure, and operations.

His background includes information security, systems management, operations and operational improvements, project management, process assessment and road mapping, organizational change management, IT service management, and solution architecture and deployment.
Staff Profile: Yasmin Alladin
Yasmin Alladin joined OCLS in September 2020 as Finance Associate. She brings extensive finance experience to this role from both profit and not for profit organizations, including the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC), Amicus Attorney/Abacus Data Systems & FACTOR. She attended Centennial College & George Brown College and has a certificate in Business Accounting, Communication & Payroll.

Yasmin enjoys her work and is never afraid of taking on new challenges, both at work and in her personal life. She has climbed Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief (CPAR), and she paddled the Rideau Canal to Ottawa in a dragon boat to raise money for Gilda’s Club.
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