Tag Archives: Library Management System

Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 6

J.J. Eller wins 120 yd. Hurdle 1911 (LOC)

J.J. Eller wins 120 yd. Hurdle 1911 (LOC)-cc licensed Library of Congress

Oliver conversion data and trial phase ~ Hurdles and What a Day!

Just over two weeks ago, Softlink informed the school that the conversion was set to begin and provided a timeline of what was involved. I went in one morning to compile a report that included screenshots of the various screens in Athena relating to records, patrons, loans and other items and emailed it to the Softlink conversion team. The data from the Athena LMS was sent via the Web to Softlink for conversion to Oliver.

In response to the report sent, the Conversion team at Softlink sent back an analysis of the data with detailed descriptions of how the data was to appear in Oliver. From this point we were provided with two weeks as a trial phase within which we were to analyse the data; both in the written conversion report and online. This was to determine if any anomalies existed and to provide an avenue for feedback to ensure the data is converted correctly during this trial stage. It was understood that anything new we added to Oliver during this stage would be lost once Oliver went live. The trial stage was purely a stage to iron out any problems, missing data and so forth before we went live. This stage is critical for if we fail to detect any anomalies and inform the conversion team, when we go live the problems will continue to exist. Furthermore, they are much harder to rectify once live.

The Information Technology coordinator has been working closely with me in the process of the upgrade to a new LMS. During this trial process we organised a day where Mary; the Library technician, Bec a teacher who is taking on library responsibilities, the Information Technology coordinator and myself could spend the day working with Oliver analysing the data.

Whilst we spent a great deal of time working through modules, speaking to technical support at Softlink and finding our way around Oliver, it became apparent that there was something missing. The actual data!

It was not until 3pm that we contacted technical support to discuss some of our concerns and it was affirmed that the data does was not there. We then contacted the Conversion team- who happened to be in a meeting… an email was sent and messages left…

Two weeks later we have received an email from Softlink stating that they have had problems with the data conversion and have now set a new date for this to occur… Ho hum.

While we learnt a great deal about the new program, enjoyed the company and learnt a great deal about navigating around Oliver, it is difficult to coordinate four different members to be able to take time away from other duties and provide focus to one task in a school setting. One extra hurdle but hopefully the next date, when coordinated, will run smoothly. Stay tuned for part 7…


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Transforming to a library 2.0 ~ Part 5.

Search Help

Search Help cc licensed and shared by mister bisson

Another exciting journey is about to begin as the decision on a Library Management System has been finalised and it is Oliver Junior, (for the various reasons outlined in the earlier posts).

Next week, Oliver Junior will be installed remotely to the network. Then the process of transferring from Athena to Oliver will take approximately a term to complete this transformation.

In the meantime, we are embroiled with the other logistics. For instance do we already have z-cataloging with SCIS and do we want the Syndetics module included.

Mary was a little concerned about the jargon, however after a couple of phonecalls to SCIS and Oliver support, we discovered yes we do have the z-cataloging and now have been enabled by SCIS for integration via Oliver. I understand there are a few more configuration details and hopefully Oliver support can help with the troubleshooting when the time comes to set it all up. Here are the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry.

Oliver’s support end calls the integration Z-39.50. In my speak, all this means is that you can search the bibliographic details via Oliver without needing to go to SCIS and import the MARC records directly. As a result, a more streamlined and efficient approach.

As for Syndetics, confusion set in as SCIS offers a module and we are not subscribed to this. When I spoke to SCIS, I discovered that this module does not integrate with Library Management Systems and was informed that Oliver has their own Syndetic module that can be integrated. Did we need this? was the question all were asking.

After looking up the benefit of Syndetics it is clear that it would enhance the system significantly. Not only does it allow the importation of book covers, but also other relevant information such as awards and author information. Clearly, this provides a better experience for the students and teachers. As a result, we chose to add this module via Oliver.

Where to now? Installation is next week and we are keying in some training sessions. It is starting to feel exciting but the road is still a way off and not too clear just yet… Mary has some trepidations at present but the playing is about to begin!

Visions of fall

Visions of fall cc licensed and shared by Kaitlin M


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Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ part 2

Last week on the university forum postings another person, studying our course while working as a TL, posted a request about information on Library Management systems as her school is embarking on an upgrade from Athena.  This is the  same system that is currently in operation at the school where I am helping out. From this request, a few more evaluations were posted regarding Oliver and Access-it. Interestingly, most limitations for both systems seem to keep coming back to reporting functions and formats. This was the same limitation that was presented from the High School we visited regarding Access-it.

One person posted a recommendation for Destiny. This was initially on our list as Mary, pointed to this system being the one that supersedes Athena. As a result, I looked into Destiny at their website and was able to find some clips from youtube as posted below. It happens to be a system that has been rolled out across 350 plus schools in New York.

As a result, I have forwarded this additional information to the IT coordinator including the youtube clips for both Access-it and Destiny. We looked at this information with Mary and she also shared an email she had received from the TL at her other school, sharing his notes from the Access-it evaluation after visiting the school. This too has been forwarded to the IT coordinator.

Mary has been signed up to OZTLnet and now she can post questions for help and suggestions.

At this stage, part of the criteria for the system that will be chosen relates to schools around us also utilising the same system as this will enable a local support network for troubleshooting and sharing ideas.

I posted another call for help on OZTLnet towards the end of last week regarding Destiny. I was interested in finding schools in Melbourne that had this system and organising a time to visit for evaluation purposes. The response I received was great. A few schools locally responded and we are attending a school tomorrow for a visit. Mary, myself and the TL from the other local school will be attending. The TL from the other local school has had all the information forwarded to him and I have forwarded the link to OZTLnet explaining how useful it is for TL’s to be part of this listserv.

Furthermore, I received evaluations from schools in other states and discovered you could visit their library website and navigate. The support for Destiny is Melbourne based and I have been in touch with them this week. They forwarded fantastic information regarding sites that have Destiny around the world and many have links to the site where you can visit. I had a browse around some sites and found Destiny very user friendly and easy to manipulate. It also has many of the functions and features our school is interested in.

I have included the following two links. The first link is to the New York city schools. It includes an integrated list of school libraries. If you click on any of the schools it takes you to that specific school library search facility. The second link is for Harpeth Hall School with an interesting visual  search facility that has links to podcasts and blogs.

Below are videos about Destiny. The videos are designed for students of New Canaan High School and it is the TL demonstrating how to search with Destiny and how to find ebooks with the Destiny Library Management System. The videos would be embedded in the library management system as tutorials for patrons.


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Transforming to a library 2.0 ~ A Journey Part 1

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto -

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto - licensed and shared by Anna Stina

While completing my studies, I am helping out a local primary school in the library. The library as I mentioned in my post Where is the teacher librarian?, is without a teacher librarian. They do have Mary, who works there 3 days a week ,carrying out the administrative tasks of cataloguing, shelving and arranging the library, ordering new books. The weeding of the library is carried out in cooperation with a teacher who is a trained teacher librarian but does not work in the library at the school.

This term, we have two points of focus. The first is weeding the teacher resource area, as it seems quite cluttered and not effectively utilised. Mary has asked for my help in this area as I do have a teaching background. This area seems full with resources that appear incredibly old and hardly touched. It will be interesting to make an assessment of how often certain resources have been used over recent years and whether they are effective for the purpose of being a useful resource for the teachers now at the school.

The other point of focus is quite a large task as it involves a major transformation of the library systems with a view to moving towards 21 century library 2.0. The IT coordinator at the school asked for my assistance in this area and I have been glad to assist with my resources and learning.

The timeframe for researching the new system to implementation is terms 2, 3 and 4 of this year. They would like to purchase the new system and set it up in time for 2011. As I view this to be an important process in my learning, I will be charting the progress and steps to this transformation beginning with this first post.

Step 1 ~ initiation via informal discussion in Term 1

Informal discussions with the IT coordinator of the school, about libraries in the 21 century learning environment, capabilities and trends led to realising there is a shared understanding and desire to travel down this path. He spoke about wanting the library to be the centre of all learning at the school, wanting it not only as the hub but having an ability to extend beyond the walls into classrooms and beyond. We assessed the current library management system at the school and it is definitely dated, with many outmoded practices and steps. Not efficient and incapable of being networked to accommodate the changes the school would like to see. The IT coordinator mentions they want to upgrade the system in time for 2011 and asks whether I would be interested in helping with this process.

(Even though, I am not able to transfer this process into direct learning outcomes related to my course, I can see the journey will be beneficial. I can help the school with my learning and at the same time, I am undertaking a project that will enable me to learn steps in how to transform a library)

Step 2 ~ Assess the context

The school has a website and has undergone a great deal of transformation in the past 10 years regarding technology and effective use of technology in teaching and learning. There are links to learning levels and to classes including class blogs, student blogs, podcasts, videos and curriculum. There is a MAC lab both in the library and a portable MAClab on a trolley. They are utilised for creative and Web 2.0 tools in curriculum outcomes. The school operates across two platforms; PC and MAC. The library system is not able to be integrated across the platforms and is too dated to be capable of library 2.0 capabilities. Currently, the library is an under-utilsed resource. Classes have a lesson 1 hour per week and it is a very simple read a book and borrow session run by their classroom teacher. They also have a 1 hour a week MAC lab session run by the IT coordinator. The library is open most lunchtimes and staffed by teachers. There is a room dedicated to teacher resources that appears overflowing and in need of a tidy up and assessment.

Step 3 ~ Networks of information.

After conducting an initial research process both on the net (pretty futile with the lists of management systems I found) and speaking to a couple of high schools, I managed to limit the focus to about three different library management systems. I knew of Biblioteque as Mary at the primary school  had a real opposition to it. I spoke to a couple of high schools, who were utilising Biblioteque, and I discovered they too were in a process of upgrading and suggested Oliver as one they were interested in. It was pointed out that there is Oliver Jnr as a primary school interface. Contact details of the company in QLD that distributes Oliver were shared. I looked up the website and forwarded the details to the IT coordinator and the Principal at the primary school. Subsequently a CD rom as an evaluative tool has been sent to the primary school from the company softlink.

A local High school implemented Access-it recently. Mary organised a time for her and I to visit the library at this school and have a run through of how it is being utilised.

I had heard of OZTLnet through my course, but did not fully understand the benefits. I subscribed and silently read the correspondence for a while before I realised, it was a useful network resource where information can be sought or given. Armed with the information I had gathered, I needed further information. I needed evaluation of these systems and further advice. As a result, I posted an email on OZTLnet requesting help and advice on Oliver from schools who have implemented this system. I outlined the manner within which the primary school was interested in utilising the system and would love some information about it in practice. Within a day, I received a few responses, some critical and some positive. I even received a response from the person that coordinates this system for an educational region near us. This information was discussed and shared with the IT coordinator at the primary school. We determined that a visit to one of these schools would prove beneficial for further evaluation.

Interestingly, my OZTLnet email resulted in an email from the distributor of ‘Access-it‘ who identified two local schools that were currently utilising the system. One is the High school, which we had planned to visit and the other is a local primary school. It was also mentioned that they can visit the primary school and provide a demonstration. Again, all information has been shared with the IT coordinator as well as the Principal.

As part of this process I need to point out that Mary also works as a library technician at another local primary school and they have a TL working in the library two days a week. This school is embarking on a transformation being driven by a teacher that trained as a TL many years ago. Mary in working with him and attending the meetings at his school has been sharing the information of our journey. As a result, this teacher is keen to link up and share the information journey towards transformation.

Step 3~ School Visits.

We attended our first evaluative school visit at the local high school that implemented ‘Access it‘ only last Friday. In attendance was Mary, the TL from the other primary school and myself. What did we learn? At this high school they too did not have a TL employed. They have a Librarian that works 4 days a week. She was very helpful and was able to walk through the system and demonstrate capabilities. Even though the system was not being utilised to its full potential (limited time and resources), It clearly has capabilities of being implemented in the manner required. It has an interface that can be highly personalised and in terms of content management, it is very user-friendly (almost like a blog). I asked a great deal of questions and again shared them with the IT coordinator. The next step is to visit the local primary school that is operating this system and evaluate the application to a younger audience. Some questions that need answering revolve around visual search and curriculum links, intuitive language as a search strategy (ie tags),  pathfinders, integration of the web. Interactivity of the library Management system/Library with the students and teachers. We worked out you can add blogs, link it to the school website, there was an online ‘ask a librarian’ capability and permissions could be set for different purposes. Mary also found the system seemed so much easier than what she is currently using and felt enthusiastic.

This week I am hoping to sign Mary up to OZTLnet. I demonstrated this to her a couple of weeks ago by logging in and showing her the nature of the listserv and how helpful it is but also how helpful she could be with information she has. She read through some of the digests and realised, there was plenty she could share with other librarians and Teacher Librarians as she had certain resources or ideas that others were seeking.

Where to now?

We are organising the visits to the schools that have Access-it at a primary school level and ‘Oliver‘. At this stage we have narrowed the focus to these two systems. Once the school visits are complete, we will be calling the distributors and coordinators for a site visit where they can demonstrate the programs to the school and be able to provide a specific focus to the needs and questions of the application required within this school context.

I will keep you posted…

… in the meantime here are some related videos for Access-it. Unfortunately, I have not found any similar clips for Oliver


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