Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Projects update

At the Public Libraries SA Quarterly meeting last week I had an opportunity to provide an update on 13 projects.  Given that not everyone can attend the quarterly meetings I thought it would be useful to provide an abbreviated update to all in our network.  

If you're interested in a slightly more expanded update on any of the following topics you can catch up with your manager to see the paper that I provided to all managers yesterday.

Topics covered were:

Vision for the future of the Public Library Network:  May of you will have participated in a range of groups late last year as part of a process to gather local information, as well as look at Australian and global trends in public libraries.  This process was designed to assist the funding parties for public libraries to design a plan for the next 5 or so years.  The contents of the consultants' work has been signed off by representatives from the Minister for the Arts, the Local Government Association and the Libraries Board.  We are now awaiting formal Ministerial approval before we can then release the report.  We're hopeful that it will be available next month.

The paper I have provided to library managers gives a little more information about the key directions of the report.

Network RFID project:  This Libraries Board sponsored project is designed to retrospectively tag all items in libraries which circulate under the One Card system.  A project document was released earlier this year, which elicited a number of questions and comments.  Most of these have then been answered in an FAQ document which was released last week.

Project status is that there is a request for proposal in the market at present which closes next week.  From there we need to go through an acquisition process, which will include negotiating a project plan with the supplier/s.  We hope to have the 1st libraries tagging by September, with the project then running into 2017.

Option to digitise local collections using the expertise and equipment of the State Library:  We are about to release a survey to libraries to determine whether they want to utilise the skills of the State Library staff to digitise locally held collections of photos and other objects which could be digitised.  These digital objects will then be loaded into Portfolio, and be discoverable by customers through Enterprise.

BlueCloud Acquisitions:  This is the name for the P2 replacement product being co-designed by SirsiDynix (SD) and PLS - along with input from library staff.  SD has completed the 1st section of the module, related to funds and vendor management.  Three SD developers spent a week at PLS in January to scope out the processes required to build the "selection" part of the system.  They met with library staff as well as vendors.

We hope to be able to demonstrate some of the functionality & the way the user interfaces at the next quarterly meeting.

End of Year Statistics / Bibliostat:  You will be pleased to know that many of the stats we used to ask you for are now all available for us directly out of the One Card system.  We have also reviewed all of the other data that we need for national and Libraries Board reporting.

As a result of these two changes, this year's EOY statistical return will be considerably shorter and simpler.

Changes to database purchasing:  For a number of reasons PLS believes that it is more useful for libraries to purchase their locally owned databases directly from the suppliers.  Therefore PLS will no longer be offering the ability to purchase databases using funds on P2.  Libraries will need to take this into account when requesting the amount of funds they wish to use as "local purchase" funds.

Digital Content Expansion:  PLS and key library staff have been working with our existing print materials suppliers to potentially add their "e" content (e-books & digital audio) to our system.  We can do this legally under our existing contracts with these suppliers. It is anticipated that we will be able to display the e-content from a range of suppliers in Enterprise once the selection process has been complete.

Network Online resources:  PLS is working with key library staff to review the online resources which are available across the network.  This is occurring because of changes in the product offerings and prices for existing products and the emergence of new products which libraries are interested in using.  The results of this process will be communicated to libraries in the near future.

LMS - consolidation phase:  Having completed the roll out of the system 6 months ago we are now looking at some "continuous improvement" incremental steps to maximise the efficiency of the system and its various work flows.  The User Group is also completing work it started some time ago, to publish a Fair Use policy and a memo on privacy of customer information. We have the customer and bibliographic records de-duplication projects underway as well as a review of the policy and operations guides - to ensure that they reflect current agreed practice.

We are also looking to make some changes to how the system works - particularly how Enterprise displays items - i.e. the ranking order of what is on the 1st few screens etc. 

We are testing how the "home" and "pick up" library functions work in the allocation of Holds - with the aim to ensure a streamlined and most efficient process - minimising transferring items between libraries.

And we have commissioned SD to write some customised reports which we believe will resolve the billing issues we are currently facing.

We will keep you posted on all of these minor changes as they progress.

School Community Libraries - community led planning:  We have commenced a Libraries Board funded pilot with four councils (10 SCLs) to look at their community's expectations of their libraries, with the aim that each council and its SCL/s will develop a local plan of action is in place which will ensure that a sustainable and appropriately funded service, which responds to local needs.

Courier: We continue to have periodic shortages of black boxes, so we're asking that libraries keep sending any empty ones back with your courier.  We are aware of some anomalies in our delivery system, so are working to see how we can iron out a few kinks.  We will be discussing some further options for change once we have analysed the data we have been collecting.

Network Communications & Information - a "one stop shop:" PLS is working with a group of library staff to investigate a platform which will replace a number of our existing systems. 

Our big picture aim is to roll the ASK email lists, the current Intranet and Basecamp and this Blog all into a single platform.  Imagine not being bombarded with all those emails!  The system should also provide collaborative work spaces for various groups as well as discussion threads and so much more. 

The product under active consideration is Microsoft's SharePoint.  It is probably known to many of you already. Given the complexity of the software we will be developing some "user stories" to test how the system will meet our diverse needs, and then hopefully moving into a "building" phase.

We don't think that there will be much to show to the network until late this year, but I just wanted you to know that there is real progress in this space.

Comments / Questions:  If you want any more information please check out the slightly longer document I provided to library managers.  If you want further information or want to provide feedback please do so either via this blog post or directly to me.

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