The logistics of an ILS rollout
We got a green light to use Evergreen as our ILS. Smiles, happiness, excitement! We are so happy!! We will be able to do so much more!!! And then…someone asked, “do we all use the same call numbers?” Oh…. well, geez. Yeah, what are we going to do about that? And then of course once someone asked that a whole bunch of other questions just kept coming out of the woodwork. “Which MARC record is used for searching in the OPAC, the one created by campus A or the one created campus B?” “How do we combine barcode numbers from campus A and campus B?” “What if the faculty at my campus can circulate material for 3 months and at your campus they circulate for 3 weeks?” As you can see this really great thing that everyone was really excited about has suddenly gotten more complicated. What do you do with that right? We did what was logical, we got a group of librarians together with an IT guy and had a meeting. Several meetings actually. We talked on the phone and did some training with the system and made some decisions. Below is a list of a few concepts we needed to define as we were preparing to roll out Evergreen to our 42 campuses.
1. Are we sharing a database – logistically (and this is going to get a little technical) an OPAC works based on the metadata assigned in the MARC record. If we are sharing a database and we can’t have duplicate records then we need to decide which MARC record will be searchable in the OPAC and then add another library’s holdings to that record. If we are going to share a database was an important question because not all of our libraries are run by professionally training librarians that know how to use MARC. We run the risk of making the IR of the OPAC less effective if we include records that doesn’t have good metadata assigned to it. Seeing the implication. Of course choosing to have a shared database opened up its own set of challenges.
2. What’s a book? – Defining circulation rules happen based on the format of the item being circulated. A book circulates 3 weeks, a periodical doesn’t circulate at all. So what’s a book, who decides? In Evergreen this is call a circulation modifier. These are defined at the global level and then each library can decide what the circulation rules are for that item. So we needed to decide what was a “book”, “reference”, “periodical”, “kit”, etc. We can’t have one library say that Time Magazine is a “periodical” and another one saying that Time Magazine is a “magazine”. Creates problems.
3. Who are the users? – Are they a student, faculty, or are we calling them patrons and staff? Are the circulation rules different for each user type? Again, since we made the decision to share a database we needed to define who all are users were from the global level.
4. What about access? – In the Evergreen system the users are split into two types; patrons and staff. The patrons are anyone that uses the library simply to use resources. A math instructor, as defined by us, would be a “faculty” patron user type. A student, again as defined by us, would be a “student” patron user. The “staff” type is any user that needs some sort of administrative rights to the database. For example a student worker, as defined by us, would be a staff user type that has circulation privileges within Evergreen. So what we did was define three patron user types; “student”, “faculty” and “staff” and three staff user types; “library assistant”, “library coordinator” and “librarian”. The idea behind the staff user types was that each type would have permission with Evergreen to more and more administrative access. The “library assistant” has access to circulate material and that’s about it. The “library coordinator” will have more permission but might not be able to react an original bib record within the database as they are not, by our definition, professionally trained librarians. The beautiful part about Evergreen as you can define the users to be whatever you need them to be.
This was a long post. And these weren’t all the questions that we needed to answer. My next post I’ll look at call numbers and barcodes which proved to be the more challenging questions within our system to really get an understanding of. They will be the areas that will need to have the most training associated with them, we think.
Did I miss anything? Have you had a similar or different experience? Do you have a question that maybe I can be more specific about in how we handled it? Looking forward to your thoughts!