A few weeks ago we were visited by John F. Helmer, Executive Director of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. The Alliance includes 37 universities, colleges and community colleges in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. These institutions are both private and public, and serve 260,000 students.
Helmer was invited by the CBUC (Catalan University Library Association) to talk about their plans to change the ILS and other library systems.
The Alliance has decided to move to ExLibris Alma. Its members have to migrate from their own ILS and other tools to Alma. They decided to divide the institutions into four groups for implementation and roll-out ‚Äď one after the other every 6 months. This is a big deal, as some of them are large institutions with lots of information to migrate. The first group had to handle all the major difficulties. With this in mind, it only included six institutions. They had the tough task of blazing a trail and acquiring knowledge that would prove very useful for the rest of the groups.
Helmer’s talk was entitled ‚ÄúRadical Collaboration‚ÄĚ. It focused essentially on collaboration and the importance of consortia, and working together as a way to work more effectively and reduce costs.
Collaboration: marriage, not just dating
Collaboration in the changing of the library system was crucial. Different groups of experts from each of the institutions were organized to work on specific aspects of the systems and data.
It is not just the technological aspects that have to be taken into consideration. You have to work with people and engage them to work on the change. The staff involved in the project have to be prepared to have an open attitude to face up to all the different aspects of the implementation work.
These were some of the highlights from Helmer’s talk. In conclusion, he pointed out that the Alliance’s system change had been hard, but motivating, work. The project is currently on schedule and the second implementation group is about to go live.
Since the UOC Library made its catalogue social and added additional information on documents, some new functionalities have been developed.
LibraryThing for Libraries is now integrated on Facebook and other social networks, some examples include:
- Show off your reviews in Facebook
- Book Display Widgets in Facebook
- Reviews Enhancement with Social Media Integration
- BookPsychic.com: Personal Recommendations at your Library
Goodreads was acquired by Amazon.
This information highlights the importance of this social network for the books industry. Nowadays everybody searches for opinions and reviews online to help them to choose the best option. All the latest generation library software let users enrich document information with ratings and reviews.
All this confirms the close relationship between social networks and libraries.
Marshall Breeding¬†came to Barcelona and during his visit he gave a seminar entitled Global Business and Technology Trends in Library Automation. The seminar was organised by the CBUC, Catalan University Library Association, and held on 2 April. It was open to all of the association‚Äôs members, their collaborators and companies from the sector.
Francesc and I were able to attend and talk to Mr Breeding about which trends are going to define the future of library services in academic libraries.
Of the questions that came up, one of the most important ones was the current transition from integrated library systems to library services platforms ‚Äď a term coined by Breeding to define the evolution of current systems that are still designed to manage collections on paper.
Library services platforms are designed instead for content management, regardless of the format, thus integrating into one single platform the dispersed contents on a range of platforms, as is currently the case at libraries:¬†ILS + Electronic Resource Management + OpenURL Link Resolver + Digital Collections Management platform + Institutional Repository + Discovery-layer services for broader access to library collections + …
One of the main features of these platforms is the flexibility and ability to manage different kinds of library materials, multiple metadata formats and the corresponding workflows.
Openness has been defined as the backbone to the library‚Äôs technology strategies.
One of the issues stressed by Breeding was the need for these new platforms to move away from the ‚Äėblack box‚Äô paradigm and become open systems. Openness has been defined as the backbone to the library‚Äôs technology strategies. Libraries need to do more things with their data and they have to be able to process these data easily. The need for open APIs and interoperability is key in these systems.
The future of these systems depends on easier access to the data held in the their knowledge bases, which are their greatest asset; and in the flexibility to generate and process the growing diversity of data and metadata models.
Encore is a product from Innovative Interfaces.¬†In their words: ‚ÄúThrough a single search box, Encore connects users to all the trusted resources the library collects or selects‚ÄĚ¬†(Encore website).
But we all know that this concept is confusing. Most technologies do not let you discover all of the library‚Äôs resources. Looking a bit more closely, we see that, in fact, Encore is not just one product. Encore is a set of products, where each product is a solution to a specific part of the problem. Thus, one product is never enough, and all the products together can give you a solution for most of your needs. This kind of solution could meet 90% of your needs, if you are lucky.
Encore Discovery is a layer to enrich your OPAC ‚Äď a discovery layer working on top of the ILS (Integrated Library System). That means you must buy another ILS soon…
Encore Synergy provides the user with the catalogue content and the electronic resources content.
As a discovery tool, Encore has a modern and usable interface. Here are the most common features of the discovery tools, and some that are not so common:
Options to refine your search; the possibility to sort results criteria (although only three); indicator of full text availability; navigation and discovery tools, including filter by facets (you can select several at once) and cloud tags; tools to create community, such as adding tags and rankings; sharing tools, including RefWorks or email; and services with social intelligence, such as ‚Äėpeople looking for this may be interested in these recent additions‚Äô.
You can take a look to Encore Synergy:
And Encore Discovery:
- Collective Catalogue of Catalonia universities
- Syracuse University
- Catalogue of the Public Libraries of Catalonia
‚ÄėMaking is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be.‚Äô
and¬†continues: ‚ÄėFor many people, making is critical for survival. For others, it is a chosen vocation: a way of thinking, inventing and innovating.‚Äô
And that‚Äôs true for us. ‘Thinking, inventing and innovating‘ to solve problems. ‘Thinking, inventing and innovating‘ to manage our library collection: knowing what we have and what subjects we cover. ‘Thinking, inventing and innovating‘, using the new technologies that we are learning and reusing all old database systems we own to manage our resources (OPAC and the eResouces we put on the classrooms) and their subject coverage.
Several months ago we started a new Lab project: our main goal? to try to visualize and connect all the data we have about our collection and the virtual classrooms. Now we are proud to announce that we have something to show! a Collection Data Analysis Tool.
An interface to provide access to data and indicators that allow analysis and management of the collection in relation to coverage, from the different dimensions and perspectives arising from the policies of the Library.
‚ÄėAnd for some it [-the power of making-] is simply a delight to be able to shape a material and say ‚ÄėI made that‚Äô. The power of making is that it fulfils each of these human needs and desires.‚Äô