Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Busy understanding the LMS functionality

On my Tuesday post I mentioned that amongst other activities we have been looking at the LMS software’s capability in greater detail.  We’re doing this so that we can understand what the consortium’s options are regarding rules governing library operations.  PLS staff have worked with technical experts from some of the early adopting libraries and staff from the vendor this week.  We’ve spent over 8 hours across the last 3 days in the PLS meeting room working through details with a vendor representative who was on the phone, and managing the image that was on our screen.

We have worked our way through how to establish and manage the rules around collections, borrowers, serials and acquisitions and how these sets of rules interact to produce the permissions for who can borrow what, for how long & what happens when items are due back (fines, no fines, notices etc.).  This has included how to set up permissions to manage and fulfil reservations across the consortium, notifications re reservations etc.

We are now much more confident that we understand how the system works, what our options are and what decisions we will need to make regarding system set up.  We have identified that in almost all situations there are opportunities for flexibility and variable options for each library.  So we’re comfortable about how the system works and that it has the flexibility to accommodate considerable diversity amongst consortium partners if this is what we want to do. 

We’ve also discovered some additional features and more options that we were not totally aware of during the evaluation period.

We are also pleased to note that there is virtually nothing that will be done in the initial set up that cannot be changed over time.  This will allow us to both modify the system as additional libraries join, or as the consortium chooses to alter its practices over time.

However as a consortium we still have lots of decisions to make regarding overarching policies related to how we want the customer experience to be.  From some of my earlier posts, and the comments that they attracted it is obvious that we may all have slightly different views in these areas.  While we can all agree on statements such as “we will deliver outstanding customer service” how this is translated into policies and procedures that govern outcomes for customers may be slightly different depending on our own personal or organisational perspectives.

So – how do we progress this?  Well we now have the key parts of the decision making structure in place & I will talk more about the details of this in a forthcoming post.

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