John F. Helmer
Orbis Cascade Alliance
541.246.2470 ext 205
2288 Oakmont Way
Eugene, OR 97401
Orbis Cascade Alliance
Orbis Cascade Alliance is a consortium of private and public colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The Alliance was formed in 2003 through the merger of Orbis and Cascade, two academic library consortia founded in the early 1990's. The Alliance incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2010.
The Alliance serves the equivalent of more than 258,000 full-time students at 37 member institutions. Membership includes most independent colleges in the region, several community colleges, and all public universities in Oregon and Washington. In addition to its members, the Alliance extends selected services to
more than 280 libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in
seven western states. The consortium has a staff of eight and an annual budget of $12 million.
The Executive Director is responsible for consortium leadership, strategic planning, budgeting, staff supervision, representing the consortium in professional and public meetings, and fostering collaborative relationships among member libraries and consortium partners. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and advises the Board and Council, comprised of the library director from each member institution.
- Member institutions: Oregon, Washington, & Idaho; private & public; community colleges, colleges, and universities.
- Mission, Vision and Strategic Agenda
Orbis Cascade Alliance member libraries consider their combined
collections as one collection and seek to act as a single entity
wherever that approach better serves faculty and students, achieves
financial savings, or enables the reallocation of resources to
concentrate on the unique and local needs and services of each member.
- Shared ILS
- Partnering with OCLC on the development of WorldCat Navigator.
- Union catalog: 9 million unique titles representing 28 million items.
- Summit Borrowing: more than 400,000 loans per year.
- Courier service: 450,000 packages per year; delivery between 280 libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
- Electronic resources: 100+ resources (databases, ejournals, ebooks, etc.) licensed or purchased. Cost savings of approximately $8.2 million annually.
- Northwest Digital Archives
- Libraries, museums, historical societies and archives in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska
- Enhanced access to archival and manuscript materials
- Union database of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids and digital content
- Digital Services: institutional repositories, cloud computing, digital preservations, etc.
- Conferences & workshops: Code4Lib Northwest, ARL/ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication, WorldCat Discovery Day, Acquisitions Institute at Timberline Lodge, Swimming Upstream
preservation conference, Millennium Technical Forum, 11th
meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, and various annual events focusing on resource sharing, collection development, instruction, copyright, digital reference, and electronic resource management systems.
- Grants: NHPRC (2010, Supporting and Building Emergent Archival Programs in the Northwest Project), IMLS (2009, Collaborative Planning Grant), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
1999 - 2003
Participated in securing a founding grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust in 1993. Supervised project staff, implemented INN-Reach union catalog, and assisted Council of directors in the creation of budgets, governance, legal documents, committee structure, etc. Created electronic resource purchasing program and courier system serving three states. Over the course of 10 years, Orbis grew from five Oregon public universities to a membership of 21 institutions in two states: eleven private colleges and universities, eight public universities, and a community college. Played a central role in combining electronic resource programs of Orbis and PORTALS and the merger of Orbis and Cascade.
|University of Oregon Libraries System
1988 - 1999
Held various positions over 12 years: Head, Library Systems and Automation Department; Head, Authorities Section; Principal Cataloger; Rare Book Cataloger; Head, Copy Cataloging Section; Head, Processing Section; and Catalog Librarian.
Supervised nine staff positions. Responsible for leadership in the evaluation and implementation of information technology for enhanced patron service and staff productivity. In this role, supervised administration of INNOPAC public access catalog, 300 staff and public microcomputers, and a wide variety of servers; approved information technology purchases; negotiated major contracts; and implemented a variety of systems and services (e.g., design and administration of electronic classroom, seminar facilities, computer labs, multimedia production facilities). Collaborated on information technology initiatives with campus computing administrators. From 19941999, served as supervisor and project manager for Orbis consortium, prior to creation of the Executive Director position.
|Head, Library Systems and Automation
1992 - 1999
Supervised three staff positions in the Authority Section, Catalog Department. Created new authority control unit, hired staff, developed routines and methodologies to exploit post-downloading authority control features of INNOPAC. Responsible for name, subject, and series authority policies. Principle author of Report on Subject Authority in the Library Catalog at the University of Oregon, 1990. As Principal Cataloger, served as resource for catalogers, solved unusual cataloging problems, analyzed and improved workflows, trained faculty catalogers. As Rare Books Cataloger, worked in a team environment cataloging rare books, Oregon materials, artists' books, photo-archive collections, and broadsides.
|Head, Authorities Section
Rare Book Cataloger
1990 - 1992
Supervised seven staff positions, served as resource for cataloging problems, planned workflows, assigned work, represented the section in Management Team and Catalogers' meetings.
|Head, Copy Cataloging Section
1989 - 1990
In an acting capacity, supervised eight staff positions, developed quality control procedures in the discharge and preservation of library materials, conducted training sessions in database concepts, administered binding contract and budget.
|Head, Processing Section
Performed original and difficult monographic cataloging. Developed routines for retrospective conversion, artists' books cataloging, bound-with cataloging, analytics, subject authority and various projects.
1988 - 1990
Major University of Oregon Library Assignments
- Chair, Administration/Systems meeting
- Presiding Officer, Library Faculty
- Co-Chair, Digital Library Initiatives Group
- Principal author, American Memories grant request
- Chair, Catalogers' Meeting
- Chair, Subject Authority Committee
- Chair, Library Staff Association
- Chair, LAN Implementation Working Group
- Chair, Library Network Manager Search Committee
- Task Force on New Instruction Programs
- Host & Supervisor to visiting librarian from Beijing University, China
- Knight Library Expansion Committee
- Public Services Self-Study, Technology Task force
- Electronic Formats Committee
- Retrocon Planning Group
- Catalog Department Management Team
- Library Publications Committee
- Database Coordination Group
- Technical Services Self-Study
- UNIX/Darkwing Taskforce
- University Computing System Administrator search committee
- Academic Requirements Committee
- Several faculty search committees
Cataloged monographs in Special Collections and Catalog Department: English language fiction in the Ira Wolff Collection, Spanish civil war pamphlets for an OCLC Major Microform Project, Dissertation retrospective conversion for the University Archive, Broadsides in the Archive for New Poetry.
University of California, San Diego Library
1986 - 1988
Researched literature for a National Science Foundation grant proposal to study gender differences in information retrieval. Performed bibliographic instruction, assisted in the writing and grading of exams and papers, wrote and delivered lecture on controlled vocabularies.
|Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant
University of California, Los Angeles
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Master of Library Science
University of California, Los Angeles
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Specialization: Cataloging, Classification
Advisor: Elaine Svenonius
Masters thesis: Cataloging, Economics, and the Experience of Works
1986 - 1988
|Bachelor of Arts
University of California, San Diego
Majors: Applied Mathematics, Economics
Specializations: Probability and Statistics, Econometrics
1976 - 1981
|Additional graduate course work
Princeton University, Department of Economics, Ph. D. program.
Specialization: Econometrics, Mathematical economics
1981 - 1982
Highlights of Professional Activity
- OCLC Global Council Delegate, FY09-11
- Chair, Global Council Cost Sharing Models Task Force, 2010-2011
- Chair, Global Council Task Force on Cost Sharing and Pricing Strategy, 2009-2010. Final report.
- WEST: Toward a Western Regional Storage Trust.
- Member, Steering Committee, 2009 - 2011
- Member, Business Model and Organizational Structure Working Group, 2009 - 2011
- OCLC Web-scale Management Services Library Advisory Council, member, 2009 - 2011
- American Library Association, 1988-
- Association of College and Research Libraries, Oregon Chapter, Director-at-Large, Executive Committee, 1996-1998.
- College & Research Libraries (C&RL), Editorial Board, 2008-2011
- International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), 1997-
- Information Technology & Libraries (ITAL), Editorial Board, 1996-1998
- Northwest Innovative Users Group, Founding Chair, 1995-1997
- "Strategic Initiatives of the Orbis Cascade Alliance," OhioLINK Directors Meeting, May, 2013.
- Montana Academic Library Symposium, April 2013. Three roles
- "Regional Collaboration: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," keynote address delivered with Jodi Allison-Bunnell.
- Moderation of directors panel, "Visions of Statewide Collaboration."
- Symposium closing and summary thoughts.
- "Adventures in Sharing: Consortial Challenges of a Shared ILS," Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), Universal Resource Management Summit, Toronto, February 2013.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance and Ex Libris: Unlocking Opportunities for Collaboration," ALA Midwinter, Seattle, January 2013.
- "Adventures in ILS Sharing," Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference, September 2012.
- Strategic planning presentation to Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL) Board, September 2012.
- Shared ILS presentation to (Minnesota) Cooperating Libraries In Consortium (CLIC), September 2012.
- "Shared Library Management Service," International Coalition of Library Consortia, April 2012.
- "ICOLC Assessment Survey," International Coalition of Library Consortia, April 2012.
- "Shared ILS: implications for Technical Services & Collaborative Technical Services," Collaborative Technical Services Symposium, December 2011.
- "Beyond Navigator: or, everything you didn't know about the Orbis Cascade Alliance," Northwest ILL and Resource Sharing Conference (NWILL), September 2011.
- "Envisioning our Future: Restructuring the Academic Library through Radical Collaboration," Library Leadership and Management Association, Library Organization and Management Section, ALA Annual, New Orleans, June 2011.
- Final Report of the OCLC Global Council Cost Sharing Models Task Force, presentations at
- OCLC Global Council Meeting, June 2011.
- OCLC Americas Regional Council Meeting, New Orleans, June 2011.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance: a case study in cooperative storage," presentation at What's In Store? Collaborative Strategies for Managing CIC Print Collections, CIC Center for Library Initiatives Annual Meeting, Michigan State University, May 2011.
- "Funding OCLC: Interim Report of the Cost Sharing Models Task Force," OCLC Global Council meeting, April 2011.
- "OCLC Cost Sharing," OCLC Americas Regional Council Meeting, ALA Midwinter, January 2011.
- "Adventures in Collaboration: Orbis Cascade Alliance, NWDA, and WEST," Leadership Through Collaboration, Smithsonian Institution, September 2010.
- "Cost Sharing Models Task Force: Charge, Timeline and Membership, OCLC Global Council, October 2010.
- "Pricing OCLC Services," Americas Regional Council Meeting, ALA Annual, June 2010.
- "Final Report of the Cost Sharing and Pricing Strategies Task Force," OCLC Global Council, June 2010
- "Preliminary findings of the Cost Sharing and Pricing Strategies Task Force," OCLC Global Council, April 2010.
- "Ten Years! Celebrating COCC and the Orbis Cascade Alliance," Central Oregon Community College Faculty Retreat, September 2009.
- "Collaboration and Opportunity," Pacific Northwest Library Association, August 2009.
- "Library Consortia: Moving to the Next Level," New Mexico Library Association, April 2009.
- "WorldCat Navigator & the future of library services on the Web," Association of College and Research Libraries, March 2009.
- "A New Alternative for Resource Sharing: OCLC WorldCat Navigator and the Orbis Cascade Alliance Model," Fourth annual SCELC Colloquium, Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, Loyola Marymount University, March 2009.
- "WorldCat Navigator & the future of library services on the Web," American Library Association, January 2009.
- "Reaching a Higher Summit: elevating discovery and resource sharing," Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference, Portland, Oregon, September 2008.
- "Reaching a Higher Summit: elevating discovery and resource sharing," American Library Association, OCLC VDX Users Group Meeting, Anaheim, California, June 2008.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance Update," WIN / INLAN Board Meeting, Spokane, Washington, May 2008.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance and OCLC consortial borrowing solution," International Coalition of Library Consortia, San Francisco, California, April, 2008.
- "Next Generation Systems," chair of a group that organized a half-day session of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, San Francisco, California, April, 2008.
- "From Proposal to Program: Seven Years of the Northwest Digital Archives," Online NorthWest 2008, Corvallis, Oregon, February 2008.
- "Regional Library Services Center," presentation as part of "Off-Site But Not Out of Reach: the Shared High Density Storage Solution," a Library Administration and Management Association, Buildings and Equipment Section (LAMA-BES) Preconference to the American Library Association's 2007 Annual Conference, Washington Research Library Consortium, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, June 22, 2007.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance," presentation at the 2005 Northwest Academic Computing Consortium Conference on the occasion of the Orbis Cascade Alliance's receipt of the Joanne R. Hugi Excellence Award for Regional Leadership.
- "Consortial Collaboration: a perspective from the US," International Coalition of Library Consortia, Barcelona, Spain, October 2004.
- "Sharing Resources: a Consortial Perspective," Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference, Portland Community College, September 2004.
- "Achieving Innovation and Collaboration: University Libraries in the Digital Age," 2004 Northwest Academic Forum Annual Meeting, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, University of Nevada, Reno, April 2004
- "Summit union catalog and the Orbis Cascade Alliance," 2004 Academic Library Directors' Symposium, Innovative Interfaces Inc., February 2004.
- "Orbis Cascade Alliance," Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc., Fall 2003 Members Meeting, November 2003.
- The Changing Face of Service," fifth annual Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture, Lewis & Clark College, October 2003.
- "Consortial Cooperation: Key to the Future," Oregon/Washington ACRL Fall Conference, 2000.
- "Selling/promoting consortium benefits to administrators/legislators," speaker & facilitator at the seventh meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, April 2000.
- "El modelo norte americano, Consorcio Orbis de Bibliotecas de Oregon y Washington." Seminario de consorcios de Bibliotecas, Cadiz, Spain, 1998.
- "Five Year Vision," speaker & facilitator at the third meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, 1998.
- "Orbis Consortium," Oregon/Washington ACRL Fall Conference, 1997.
- "The Changing Nature of Post Secondary Education," PASS Conference, University of Oregon, 1997.
- "Resource Sharing Systems: Orion, Orbis, and WSCLP," Northwest Innovative Users Group, 1997.
- "Orbis Borrowing," Northwest Innovative Users Group, 1996.
- "Grass Roots Union Catalog," Innovative Users Group Meeting, 1995.
- "Oregon Information Highway," Online Northwest, 1996.
- "Introduction to Orbis," Online Northwest, 1995.
- "Authority Control in the Online Environment," Oregon Library Association annual meeting, 1992.
- Numerous other Orbis Cascade Alliance, Orbis, and CORE overview presentations for librarians and campus administrators.
Awards, service, teaching, etc.
- Innovation through Collaboration – The Orbis Cascade Alliance Shared Library Management Services Experience: An Interview with John F. Helmer. Collaborative Librarianship 4(4):183-185 (2012)
- Consortium Makes Radical Shift Away From ILS, Library Journal--The Digital Shift, December 19, 2012
- Compiler & Editor, Library Consortia in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. http://www.orbiscascade.org/index/library-consortia-in-oregon-washington
- Progress Along the Road to Statewide Database Licensing, Oregon Library Association Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 4/vol. 10, no. 1, Spring 2004.
- Orbis: Questioning Foundations in the Midst of Success. Moveable Type, vol. 9, no. 1, Fall 2001.
- Planning Amid a Multitude of Projects: A Consortial Perspective. Oregon Library Association Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 3, Fall 2000
- Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 19, no. 2, June 2000. Guest editor of special issue: Library Consortia Around the World, Part Two. Editorial: "I Inhaled."
- Orbis Courier Service: The Resurrection of a Collaborative Success. Oregon Library Association Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 1 [sic], Winter 1999
- Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 18, no. 3, September 1999. Guest editor of special issue: Library Consortia Around the World. Editorial: Epidemiology of the Consortial Spore.
- Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 17, no. 1, March 1998. Guest editor of special issue: Library Consortia. Editorial: Inhaling the Spore.
- Orbis: a Virtual Library in the Real World. Moveable Type, vol. 4, no. 1, Fall 1996.
- Orbis Debuts. Moveable Type, vol. 2, no. 2, Spring 1995.
- Art and Architecture Thesaurus. Art Documentation, v. 10, No. 1, Spring 1991.
- Report on Subject Authority in the Library Catalog at the University of Oregon, 1990.
- Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award, 2012
- Chair, Governance Task Force, IMLS grant exploring the creation of a Western Archival Network.
- Award for Excellence, Association of College and Research Libraries, Oregon, 2010.
- Moderator, plenary discussion during Leadership in Higher Education: a Role for the 21st Century Librarian?, the 2nd Northwest Academic Library Directors Symposium, November 2008.
- Participant, OCLC Focus Group, June 2008.
- New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI): Facilitator, 2006 Board Retreat.
- Wills, Eric. "Book by Book, College Libraries Pool Their Collected Wisdom." The Chronicle of Higher Education 52.21 (2006): B5-B6.
- Hoffert, Barbara. "The United Way." Library Journal (1 May 2006).
- Excellence Award for Regional Leadership awarded to Orbis Cascade Alliance by the NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium, 2005.
- Connect New York (CNY): Facilitator, 2006 Board Retreat. Consultant on issues related to funding and governance of library consortia, 2001 2005.
- Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA): Member, Advisory Board, 2002
- Profiled in Teresa L. Jacobsen's cover article for Library Journal, The Class of 1988, July 2004, p. 3841.
- "Consortia: The Structure and Economics of Sharing," professional development lecture for Washington Library and Media Directors Council, Yakima Community College, April 2003.
- Library Consortia, LIS 559 graduate class, Information School, University of Washington, April 2002.
- Connect Oregon (CORE), 2001, an effort that sought to create a statewide multi-type library consortium. As a member of the steering committee, involvement included development of concept; name, governance, and budget; presentations to library organizations; production & funding of a promotional videotape & postcard; creation of a Web site & email list; and lobbying for Oregon Senate Bill 202.
- Orbis Courier Service. Speaker and chair of membership meetings at Oregon Library Association and Washington Library Association annual meetings, 2001.
- Northwest Academic netLibrary Collection (NANC), 20002003. One of three project managers developing an ebook collection for 45 colleges and universities.
- Oregon State Library Award: Library Cooperation Champion, 2001.
- Library Courier Stakeholders Meeting, convener, presenter and discussion facilitator, 1998
- Consultant to Marylhurst College, Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology, and Pacific University, 1998.
- Information Technology Certificate Focus Group, Marylhurst College, 1998.
- Consultant to Meyer Memorial Trust, 1997.
- Consultant to Oregon State University, 1997.
- Orbis Exhibitor at the Oregon Telecommunications Forum, Idea Marketplace, Portland, Oregon, 1995.
- Books Tagging Workshop, OCLC, 1991.
Other Community Service
- Guide, Willamette Confluence Project, The Nature Conservancy and Friends of Buford Park, 2010-
- Member, Board of Directors, Mount Pisgah Arboretum, 19901991, 20022005
- Vice President, Board of Directors, Mount Pisgah Arboretum, 19921993
- Member, Advisory Board, Vivian Olum Child Development Center, 20022003