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Minitex History header

The Minnesota Interlibrary Teletype Experiment (MINITEX) 2-year pilot project begins to provide cost, volume, and operational data to develop recommendations for a long-range statewide interlibrary loan service between the University of Minnesota Libraries and 11 Minnesota Academic Libraries.

Minitex is fully funded by the Minnesota Legislature and established at the University of Minnesota with Alice Wilcox as Director. 16 libraries are connected to the Minitex network.

OCLC (called Ohio College Library Center at this time) launches their shared cataloging subsystem.

The MULS (Minnesota Union List of Serials) program begins as Minitex participants agreed to create a machine-readable database containing information about serials owned by the University of Minnesota Libraries and ultimately other libraries in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

The National Union Catalog, New Serial Titles, and MULS were among the tools available to verify and locate holdings for interlibrary loan requests.

The Minitex Serials Exchange program is established and the Minitex Reference Service launches, a back-up reference referral to all types of libraries in Minnesota.

MULS, the Minnesota Union List of Serials, First Edition, is published. It is intended to be used as an aid in locating serial titles throughout Minnesota. See MULS Timeline: 40 Years of a Regional Union List of Serials for more information.

A contract is signed with North Dakota, and Minnesota and North Dakota libraries begin sharing resources.

Minitex publishes the first issue of the newsletter Minitex MESSENGER. 

Minitex begins support of local couriers and overnight delivery of shared resources via commercial buses to libraries in Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Northfield, Rochester, St. Cloud and Winona.

Regional participation in the OCLC online cataloging system begins with 18 Academic Libraries. Their participation was funded by grants from the Bush and Kellogg Foundations. St. Cloud State University Library input the first Minitex OCLC record. Minitex joined OCLC so libraries could begin to more efficiently locate monographs for Resource Sharing, and to reduce costs and improve processing time in cataloging.

Minitex signs contract with the South Dakota State Library to share resources with Minnesota and North Dakota.

The OCLC Interlibrary Loan subsystem goes online. Now 84 OCLC cataloging libraries in the Minitex region. MULS 2nd Edition Revised was distributed on microfiche.

Standards Task Force created by Minitex and the Office of Library Development (now State Library Services).

Only 11 Minitex libraries had more than 2 OCLC terminals.

In June Bill DeJohn becomes Director of Minitex. The Minnesota Program for Automated Library Systems, PALS, becomes operational.

Delivery moves from the Greyhound Bus system to a dedicated courier service. Minitex and PALS staff worked closely together to improve resource sharing.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved ODIN as a project, with a commitment from Bismarck State College, Dickinson State University, Mayville State University, Minot State University, North Dakota State School of Science, the University of North Dakota, and Valley City State University.

The South Dakota Legislature funds the South Dakota Library Network (SDLN), which used the UNISYS/PALS system. 

Minitex works with library staff in using the ILL system to send and receive requests, replacing Teletypewriters.

Minitex staff attend “word processing” training for the first time. 

Minitex begins brokering 3M tattletape and online reference databases (DIALOG, BCR and DataStar).

Minitex, acting as fiscal agent, in partnership with ODIN, SDLN, PALS, and the University of Minnesota contract for access to the IAC databases. This was the 1st consortial contract for the IAC databases in the country. This allowed users to search online catalogs and indices to electronic databases, and some abstracts.

The Minnesota Legislature establishes the Library Planning Task Force which was instrumental in obtaining funding for the following Minitex programs in the coming years: MnLINK Gateway, replacing the ILS for the University of Minnesota and PALS with Ex Libris Aleph), MLAC, and more.

Audiovisual lending and borrowing is opened to all libraries through Minitex.

The August 1996 Library Planning Task Force Report calls for: development of a statewide online library information system, the MnLINK Gateway; expanding purchasing of statewide site licenses for electronic indices and full text articles (Electronic Library for Minnesota, ELM); exploration of options for a statewide reference information referral backup network so citizens have access to quality reference services 24/7 (AskMN).

Minitex negotiates an RFP for a 3-state contract (MN, ND, SD) for electronic resources: IAC. Became Gale, Bell & Howell, and OCLC FirstSearch databases.

The Minnesota Library Access Center (MLAC) opens, already ⅔ full. Minitex Electronic Document Delivery (MEDD) launches. Minitex arranges for NetLibrary ebook collections to be available to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota libraries.

The Library Planning Task Force sunsets on June 30.

Development work completed to allow PALS library users to search the MnLINK Gateway.

MnLINK Gateway goes live for patrons in Minnesota. Minitex negotiates discounted access to 580 scholarly journals from Elsevier for 15 Minnesota libraries. Minnesota Department of Education receives 400,000 for ELM.

A task force of the Minitex Advisory Committee and the MnLINK Policy Advisory Council agrees to integrate MnLINK leadership and management functions into Minitex.

The first ELM Portal launches, providing a single point of access to all of the ELM databases to the people of Minnesota. Minitex and MnPALS exchange requests on Aleph ILL system.

Minitex receives a major increase in funding and Minnesota Department of Education receives 900,000 for ELM.

Minitex funds AskMN: The Librarian is In.

The Minitex Reference Referral Service retires after 38 years of service.

The Minnesota Digital Library is chosen as an early contributor to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Minnesota, along with Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, and Utah will be the first to participate as service hubs. 

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launches, with Minnesota Digital Library as one of the first service hubs.

The first-ever Upper Midwest Digital Collections Conference (UMDCC) takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, jointly organized by Minitex and WiLS.  

Minitex News launches on July 9, a one-stop-shop for library news and updates, including conference and events, from all of Minitex’s units and services. Minitex print publications cease.

Ebooks Minnesota, a statewide ebook collection for readers of all ages, goes live on Leap Day, February 29, with over 3,700 books open to any reader within Minnesota.

Minitex receives a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to enhance SimplyE, an ebook app for users to access ebooks from different sources all in one place.

Minitex pilots and launches a new service, Scan for Keeps, offering for loan two digitization kits to organizations to host their own community scanning events. 

The Minnesota Library Publishing Project (MLPP) is born, a pilot project coordinated by Minitex and Minnesota’s academic and public libraries to provide online publishing tools to independent authors and small publishers.

The inaugural Minitex Technical Service Symposium: Linked Data and the Future takes place on December 6 at Metropolitan State University, St Paul.

A large portion of Minitex operations moves from Andersen Library to the basement of Wilson Library on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus.

MNLINK handles 540,494 interlibrary loan requests and fills more requests (413,361) than in any other single year in the system’s history.

The Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) name changes to eLibrary Minnesota, keeping the initials ELM. 

In April, the new ELM portal launches at with a new logo, color scheme, and new name, eLibrary Minnesota. 

The Electronic Resources Minnesota (ERMN) holds their inaugural conference, a new regional conference to provide opportunities for those who acquire and manage e-resources to network, share best practices, participate in hands-on workshops, and learn from fellow e-resources staff.