Thursday, 30 August 2012

Progress of sorts

The LMS team here is working on a number of fronts at present & a number of issues are being progressed, however we're impatient about getting some things beyond "progressing" and into completion.

The 1st bit of "completion" news is that East Murray has gone live today.  East Murray is one of our smallest public libraries & it has been quite a challenge for their small staff to get everything done.  But perseverance and hard work, along with support from PLS staff means that they've made it!  Congratulations to them.  As mentioned in earlier posts, they're sharing their discovery layer with other libraries & they can be found here.

While we have nothing to show for it yet we are working on providing ILL access for all non-consortium libraries.  I posted about this on 15 August & Unley has also posted about it on their Blog on 14 and 17 August.  Unley has been trialling this for us. As you will see from their posts - it is working successfully for them - which is great news.  Yesterday we got the "transit slips" working for Staff Web - the product that the non-consortium libraries will use. (This will mean that when a non-consortium library "wands in" the item the system will produce a transit slip with the destination of the owning library showing.)  

James Kemperman is gradually setting up all other libraries on the system so that they will be able to reserve items from the collections of the consortium libraries.  He tells me that each one takes quite a bit of time & he has got 25 done so far - with stacks still to do.  But as soon as the transit slip issue for consortium libraries is resolved (see below) then we will release this to all libraries.

The final hurdle to providing ILL access to consortium collections is the need to get "transit slips" working properly for consortium libraries.  I wrote about this topic (as well as the ILL issues) on 15 August.  Since then we have made unacceptably slow progress - but this has been beyond our control.  However yesterday we did get a transit slip to work as required, but also the system did not print one when it was not required - i.e. between library services it prints, but between local library branches it doesn't!  This did happen in our test system, and there were a whole lot of issues about installing a new "client" on a PC to make it work.  Hooray for this slight progress - but it still not quite there.

We're champing at the bit to get this fixed for the libraries who are still hand writing transit slips.  Hopefully success is days away now!

We're also looking at increasing the number of libraries that the courier will deliver to.  At present we are delivering all items to a council's designated single delivery site.  And then where libraries have multiple branches the library needs to sort the items for their various branches and use their local courier to deliver them.  And the same happens in reverse when items need to be returned.  For some libraries like Mitcham, they may receive 15 or 20 black boxes of items, but half of the items need to then be sorted and sent to their Blackwood branch. This double handling is causing additional stress on the libraries. 

We are therefore working with TOLL (our courier contractor) to evaluate the costs and advantages of setting up deliveries to additional branches in some of the very busy councils.  We will report on the outcomes of our investigations regarding this.

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