Archive for February, 2008

Designing my ideal ILS

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: access, catalog, customers focus, ideas, ILS, library |

Today in our management meeting, our Executive Director, Gina Millsap, made the comment to the effect that much of the talk with open source systems is just using that tool to replicate existing ILS practices. This thought ties into my recent post about the inter-relation between library catalogs and other sources such as bookstores.  All of this makes me think that we should really talk about what we want our ILS to do for us.  What would it look like? I’m going to pretend that I don’t know anything about BI or catalogs or any of that library stuff.  I actually had pretty good BI as a kid, thank you to my school librarians, but I’m pretending a dream system here! When I want to find something – I put whatever comes to my mind into the computer and it tells me where I can find it.  A map of the library pops up on the screen and it leads me to the correct shelf and shows me what the book looks like and exactly where it is.  If the “book” comes in an audiobook format or as a movie it needs to show me those options as well, even if they are not located next to each other.  I don’t want a big list of things.  I somehow want it to understand what I’m looking for and make the necessary decisions to provide that for me.  I’m not a techie person, so have no idea how this would actually happen.  A big Google-like list of things is not helpful in this case.  I want the system to do the work for me. It would provide me the options of finding something else or if what it found was not correct, it would provide some options for me to pursue.  It would also give me connections to other similar items; the “if you like this, you might like..” concept. What do you want to see in a system like this?

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Connecting libraries to bookstores

Posted on February 2, 2008. Filed under: access, administration, barriers, collections, customers focus, service |

I’ve been planning a conference, so most of my time has been hectic, but I’m back! 

Through a post on Librarygeekwoes I read about a post on LibraryThing regarding Tim’s ideas on connecting libraries and bookstores.

 This got me to thinking about how I use libraries and bookstores and the synergy between them, or lack thereof. Even though I have daily access to a well-stocked library with a lot of resources, I find myself going to bookstores and ordering books online on a regular basis.  Is this where I admit to being a bookaholique?   When I’m at a library conference, I will often stop by local bookstores to browse and typically see many people from the conference doing the same thing – they have their name tags on so it makes it easy to spot them.  Typically, the bookstores put up welcome signs for the visiting librarians.  That must mean I’m part of a large group that does the same thing.  If we do that, isn’t it reasonable to expect that, at least some, of our library customers do the same thing? So how can we help make customer frustration, as expressed by Tim at Librarything, go away?   

Our library has reasonably good relations with our local bookstores, which are predominately large national chains.  Administratively, we can encourage interaction and sharing of information, perhaps even signing agreements to cooperate. 

We do reach a point where we need to protect some information.  Libraries are typically required by state law to keep some information confidential.  We have always interpreted this law broadly to include just about everything.  Businesses will share information up to the point that it might infringe on their ability to make money. It would seem that technology is capable of drawing a very fine line between what we can share and what we can’t. We just need to make sure that it does so.  Not to throw this point away casually, because it is absolutely crucial, but I do think the confidentially issue can be resolved fairly easily. The harder part would seem to be developing the relationships and providing access to the appropriate information in all of the right places.   I would love for our catalog to have buttons on each search page that provide our usual options, plus the option to Interlibrary Loan – if not available, to locate the title at a local store or to access a national site for online purchase.  I have a sliding scale for how patient I am based upon my need of the moment.  All of those options would allow me to indulge my impatience in the best available method. Now we need to figure out how to share information so that this can happen.

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