Thursday, 31 March 2011

"Tech Services" in a new 1 LMS environment

I've been asked to comment on what moving to a shared LMS may mean to "tech services" work.  I am no expert on the intricacies of some of the dark arts of cataloguing etc, so I have sought some advice from a range of people who I know are better qualified to comment.

I will provide a few examples of some changes we have identified below.  However I don't think it would be too wild an exaggeration to say that  every aspect of Tech Services will be impacted in some way by the LMS project. Cataloguing, receiving new items, debiting and processing will all be impacted - as will related areas such as selection / collection management decision making.

And while we have identified a few changes below, I am sure that we will discover ongoing changes which at this stage we have not even contemplated.  So take a look & provide this post with your comments & questions.

Of course there will be some obvious changes - such as all sharing one bibliographic database.  And as soon as this happens we will need to have agreed standards on what each record needs to contain & the form that information will take. 

However I would expect that the LMS will have the facility for customers to add "tags" and reviews to records.  So the total information attached to a record will be a combination of information from both librarians and customers.

As well as using the "wisdom of the crowds" we could also take "feeds" from various sources to identify award nominated items or items which have appeared in the NY Times best seller list etc.  (But I am moving away from the tech services aspects - so will not pursue other customer service features - but save that for another time.)

It is likely that our suppliers will catalogue directly onto our LMS, so there will be no record downloads.  And in the longer term we want to have barcodes and/or RFID tags put on the items by the suppliers.  This will mean that each "holdings" record will already be in place on the LMS as a library unpacks its deliveries from suppliers. 

And it may be that we get the suppliers to set the status of each item to "available" a couple of days after items are dispatched.  This would mean that libraries would just "wand" items through their circulation system to identify new items with reservations on them, and to allocate them to separate branches. But there would be no P2 downloads, no P2 debits, less time spent getting items from boxes to customers.

We will be able to create dynamic links to Libraries Australia, allowing for accurate reporting of what is held in SA public libraries.  (I know that some are concerned about what this could mean for ILL traffic, but you can list your holdings without making them available if that is an individual library's choice.) These links to Libraries Australia may also allow for dynamic updating of our Authority files taken from changes instituted within the Libraries Australia database.

Of course our Community Languages material will come catalogued and our LMS will be able to properly display non-roman scripts, and customers will be able to search for all items.  It may be that rather than "stock rotating" our community languages materials we will only use ILL to make them available.  And there will be the capacity to make this collection a "floating" collection.  This means that rather than the system requiring you to send items back to a base library they will remain on the shelves of the last library which lent the item to the public. This is a "maybe" and would need to be thought through.  But it will be possible.

What is normal in larger multi-branch libraries where there are specialist selectors selecting for a whole library service will be a feature available to groups of libraries within a council area which currently work in isolation.  So "whole of council" collection management could become more prevalent - saving time and avoiding over purchasing of some titles. (I may say more about this in another post).

Someone will need to catalogue local purchase items.  But only one library will need to do this.  As soon as one library has catalogued it, this record is available for all to use.

And the list goes on .....

Over to you for further thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. What a very exciting opportunity for us all to be involved in the gradual transformation of the way we deliver excellence through our public libraries. By being more efficient with these backend functions we should free up more money to be used on greater direct value adds to our customers, e.g. 1 LMS snap on products like Aquabrowser, 360 Search, ChiliFresh, et al; RFID; Mobility apps; ....Awesome!