Thursday, 28 June 2012

Playford joins the consortium

Playford has joined the group today.  Their Enterprise site can be found here.  You will note that they have used the panel in the lower middle part of the screen to insert a rolling slide show of pictures taken at various library activities.  I think this is great.  Their photos have been uploaded to Flickr and are being sourced from there.  And being a 2 branch service they've managed to add the opening hours of both branches on the front page.

While it would not be obvious to outside observers Playford's arrival at this point has been a little rocky.  This happened because one of their key staff involved in the project left the organisation at a crucial point in their planning/training/testing.  Hats off to all at Playford who have managed to be resourceful and retrieve the situation and get to this point by their designated date.  It hasn't been easy, but I am sure it was worth perservering to arrive on time.

We will be interested to see the outcome of adding the records of library service number seven to the mix and what this does to the flow it items between libraries.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Data merging and de-duplication

One of the challenges in bringing together bibliographic data from a number of libraries to make a consortium is merging the right records while avoiding incorrect merges.  We're fortunate that we have had an agreed cataloguing standard that our suppliers work to, and most catalogue records are downloaded from P2 - thereby increasing the level of standardisation.

However a combination of libraries making local changes, changes to cataloguing standards over time, libraries adding records for stock not on P2 and other factors does mean that we do have a diversity of records, often for what is essentially the same item.

To resolve as much of this issue as we can in an automated manner we are undertaking a 2 step process.  The first stage is a "match & bump" process that happens as each library's data is added to the system.This has meant that where an exact match can be found then bib records have been merged and all item records are attached to that bib record.  There are many examples of this to be seen now.  And it is this merging that is allowing holds from one library to flow onto the copies from other libraries.

We are aware that this match & bump process can only be used for exact matches using such keys as ISBN.  However we are aware that there are often copies of works which are essentially the same work, but they may have been published in different countries or by different publishers and they will therefore have a different ISBN.  While a match & bump process will not address these issues a more nuanced de-duplication process can be used where a number of match points besides ISBN can be used to identify works that are essentially identical and then merge them.

It has been agreed that once Port Adelaide Enfield goes live (planned for 5 July) that the de-duplication process will occur. This will take a number of days of consulting time by SirsiDynix staff to achieve and will therefore be a billable activity.  We expect to see it completed during July.  Leading up to this event Chris Kennedy (from PLS) and a group of staff from a range of libraries have been working on the de-duplication documentation to ensure that we maximise the benefits of the process.

Once the de-duplication has occurred the number of bibliographic records will be decreased, and customers will find it easier to place holds on bib records with more items attached to them. This will increase the likelihood of the system filling holds even quicker than it does now.

Once the de-duplication process has been run we will report on the outcomes of this - i.e. the success rate at merging records etc.

We are aware that as we add additional libraries after this de-duplication process that we will again have multiple bib records for essentially the same items.  So we will be looking to do further de-duplications at key points during the project.

Unfortunately we are unable to use this process to merge DVD records.  There are several reasons for this - one being that they do not have ISBNs and also the data that distinguishes different versions of a similar work are not as easily distinguishable and able to be resolved by an automated process. 

Therefore the consortium members will need to work at cleaning up the DVD records using a manual process.  While this will be time consuming, it will have real benefits for the customers, so is something that we will all want to pursue over time.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tea Tree Gully publicity materials

Out on North-East Road - 2 banners
As I mentioned yesterday, Tea Tree Gully has undertaken some positive publicity to promote their participation in the One Card project.  Some of you will have seen these pics which were circulating on an email yesterday, but I've got permission to re-post them here for a wider audience.

A couple of very keen staff with a giant card
Melania modelling the apron staff will be wearing

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tea Tree Gully Enterprise

It is planned that Tea Tree Gully will go live tomorrow.  In preparation for that, their Enterprise site is already up and running.  You can find it here.

A couple of points about how they have arranged things:
  1. You'll note that they have used the red from the Council logo as the background colour.  I think this tie in works well.
  2. On the top left hand side they have done what some others have & that is include some buttons that link back into some existing functionality on their existing website.
  3. Being a single branch library service they have been able to put their opening hours on this front page - which I think makes sense.  Some of our other single branch libraries may choose to do this too.
  4. They have loaded almost 1,500 local history photos into the catalogue.  I found these by searching by "Tea Tree Gully" and using the faceted searching to select "other".  I note that they all have an address as being on an Horizon Webpac.  I haven't had time to talk to the TTG staff, but I would expect that over time they will find a way of migrating these into the "Portfolio" digital asset management system that all libraries will have access to.
Of course we're hopeful for a smooth start up for TTG tomorrow, and of course we'll have staff on standby to support them on this part of their transition. We'll also be very interested in the number of items in their "pull list" that they will need to send to other libraries, and the number of TTG reservations that will be automatically places across the growing consortium.

The staff have created some great props for their go-live that they have released on a network email.  I'll ask them if I can reproduce them here, as I think that they're a positive way to get the message out there, while also gently letting customers know that they'll be on their "L" plates with the new system.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ongoing demand & success

When the Salisbury data was loaded yesterday the staff ran their "pull list" - i.e. the list of all the items that had holds on them and needed to be pulled off the shelf to fulfil the holds.  The list had 1,300 items on it!!  So some time over the next few days Salisbury will be shipping these items to their new consortium partners. This will test Toll's capacity!

We don't have any figures on how many items will flow from the other 4 libraries to Salisbury, but will keep an eye on it.

Interestingly, Onkaparinga went live on 10 May & Mitcham and Onkaparinga immediately shipped lots of items to each other.  These items would have been checked out to customers some time around the 14th and 15th of May.  Given that most items had 4 week loan periods (which would have expired earlier this week) it is not surprising to see a major reverse migration of items going back to their base libraries.  Yesterday Mitcham received their 1st pallet delivery (see the picture below) and Onkaparinga received their 1st double pallet delivery. 

Mitcham Pallet Delivery
These "pallet deliveries" need to occur outside the normal courier run, so Toll dispatches a truck with the capacity to handle pallets.  However some libraries - including Mitcham - are not equipped to take deliver of pallets, so this one was delivered outside the library and the boxes had to be carted inside individually.  Not ideal, but this is an exception which we don't expect to see repeated too often.

We will keep track of these flows so that we will hopefully be able to predict possible impacts as each new library comes online.

From this little amount of information we can predict that it is likely that Salisbury will send out their 1,300 items over the next few days, and expect to see a major returning influx in about 5 weeks (allowing for shipping time and 4 week loan periods).

A few bumps along the way

Well we keep learning as we progress!  Salisbury's go live wasn't quite as smooth as we'd anticipated, which led to them going back into "offline" mode for some of yesterday until we could undertake some fixes to their data and set up.  For the set up changes to take effect we needed to perform a "halt & run" - i.e. stop the system, apply the changes and then re-commence operations.  Given that we had 4 other libraries "live" on the system this could only be performed overnight. 

Also there were some data issues that needed fixing.  This took a SirsiDynix staff member until 4am our time to resolve.  So Salisbury is back online, but with still a handful of minor data issues that they are working to fix manually. 

Interestingly we have discovered that while we have been issuing barcodes centrally from PLS, and tracking numbers with the intent that there will be no duplicates this appears not to be 100% foolproof.  While there were no duplicates found in the 1st 4 libraries we are finding handfuls in each of the next few libraries.  We're not sure how this has happened, but now that we're aware of it we will build a task into the project plan to actively test for this and correct it before go live.

I'd like to acknowledge the calm unflappable Salisbury project team & staff while we went through an interesting day yesterday & also the hard working and very clever PLS staff who worked very late yesterday & overnight & were back on deck early this morning to get things happening.  I would also say that the tech support we've had from SirsiDynix has also been exceptional.  With all 3 organisations taking a "whatever it takes" approach Salisbury is back online & functioning well.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Northern Adelaide group commences

Today is the culmination of 6 months hard work for Salisbury Library Service, as they "go live" on the LMS.  Their version of Enterprise can be found here.  When searching on any of the current live Enterprise sites Salisbury's data is now available to view, and their collections are available to fill hold in the other 4 libraries.

Likewise the collections of the first 4 libraries are also available to fulfil Salisbury holds.  So as per my post of 8 June we expect to see a bit of a flurry as the pent up holds which already exist at Salisbury start being assigned to items across the growing network, and a considerable number of items make their way to Salisbury.  And to a lesser extend we expect to see Salisbury items flowing to the other 4 libraries.

Salisbury going live signifies the start of an intense 4 week period where 4 libraries will join the network.  In subsequent weeks we will add Tea Tree Gully, Playford and Port Adelaide Enfield - in that order.  So by 5 July we anticipate that the network of 8 library services will be operating from 26 branches, serving a population of over 770,000 people and providing the service with 1.14M items in their collections.

While we are on track to add 8 libraries in 10 weeks this rate of adding libraries is not sustainable over the longer term.  This is because we need time after adding each library to do some clean up work.  Therefore we will be moving to a more regular pattern of predominantly fortnightly additions.

Also we will need a few clear weeks in July as we will be running a "de-duplication" process at that time.  I will provide more information about this as we get closer to its implementation.

Once we have undertaken the de-duplication we will move to add the libraries of the Karoonda East Murray and Southern Mallee councils onto the system in August and the libraries of the SWAP network in September. (SWAP is only 1 database, but covers the 6 libraries in the 4 councils of Prospect, Walkerville, Campbelltown and Norwood, Payneham & St Peters.)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Unley's LMS Blog

Unley is lining up to go live on the LMS early next year.  But they're proof that it is never to early to start planning.  And I am sure that their early and thorough planning will achieve a great transition for them.  Unley has chosen to run a blog which is open to the public. I think this is great in terms of transparency and also sharing their journey with colleagues and customers.  You can find a link to their blog down on the left hand side of this page under the "my blog list". Its called Uni.Verse.  Or you can find it by clicking here.

I'll be following Unley's blog & perhaps adding comments from time to time as appropriate.

Other libraries may be running closed blogs or using their council's intranet to manage their project and ensure that the messages to all staff are consistent.  If you are then I'd love to hear from you about how it is going. How are you, or have you been communicating with your staff on the project?  Have you got anything that you'd like to share?

Success beyond our expectations!

Well - we've had Mitcham live for over a month & been a really consortium (i.e. more than 1 library on the system) for 4 weeks yesterday.  We're generally delighted with how things have gone, though there are lessons that we've learned that will inform us in how we will change future roll outs.

What has truly amazed us has been a much greater movement of items between libraries than we had predicted.  What we have seen is an initial surge from the backlog of reservations that had been put on items in local collections prior to each library joining the consortium.  For example, if Marion had 2 copies of a book, and 6 reservations on it, then it would take 3 cycles of lending these 2 items to clear the queue.  However once Marion joined the consortium there may have been 3 copies of this book sitting on shelves.  The Marion reservations immediately went to these 3 copies and the items were shipped to Marion.

The impact of this has been a spectacular amount of movement of items between the initial 4 libraries.  This is evidenced by both the photo below and the statistics from Toll.  They recorded an additional 224 black boxes were moved between the 4 libraries last week!

To accommodate this amount of shipping we have had to make additional deliveries to some libraries.  Below is one of the extra deliveries to Onkaparinga.  It contains 17 additional crates (on top of the usual daily delivery of 5). As you can see they needed a forklift to get it there.

The maximum number of additional boxes delivered to one site in one day has been 20!!

We expect that this initial flurry to occur as each new library comes on board, as there will be their existing holds to be filled.  However, after the initial rush we expect this to slow down.  So, with 4 large metro libraries coming online over the next 4 weeks we expect to see another peak, followed by us beginning to discover what the "new normal" will be.

PLS staff will continue to work with TOLL and the libraries to ensure that we will cope with the next peak, and beyond.  And I'll post a few pictures and information about the volume of books being shifted around over next month or more.