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Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 7… finale?

Work with schools, Library for the Blind : visit of blind Bo...

cc lincensed and shared by New York Public Library

It is nearly the end of the school year and I am still going in and checking the Oliver program transition. We can safely say that is is now live and Athena is no longer needed. When I went in last week I spoke with the IT technician about where the link to Oliver is on the system and how visible it is to the school community. Currently, you can access the library beyond the walls of the physical library. Great as this was one of the aims. However, the process is not too straightforward as you need to bring up ‘programs’ and find the link to the OPAC to go into the library management system. Too cumbersome for our current ‘information now’ clientele!

I suggested placing a library icon as the link on the front page of the school website. This will increase accessibility and enable students, parents and teachers to be able to logon from their homes. Being able to ‘see’ the library link on the front page is what we all want after all. This is now on the list and I was informed it is not difficult to achieve. Fantastic!

Through this journey, I have mentioned often that there is no dedicated teacher/librarian at the school and it is an area I have been advocating for incessantly during my time there. The new system has a fantastic and simple newsletter template that only needs an update monthly. It provides links to new items in the library, information about the library, links to websites and featured authors for the month. With the featured author, it provides a wonderful avenue where students can email suggestions for authors thereby increasing student participation. Hopefully this can open up more avenues for student contributions including student publications online. However, unless there is a dedicated teacher that will focus on the library much of this wonderful potential will be difficult to realise. I continued with my constant advocacy in this area and yesterday, Mary informed me that Bec may be provided some allocated time next year to focus on the library. She will be responsible for updating the newsletter and will run PD with the staff about the new system and the importance of the library. Fantastic! Bec has come on board this term and spent a great deal of time familiarising herself with the new system, looking into electronic resources and reading up on all things library. There is still a long way to travel but every step counts in cementing the importance of the library and extending this beyond the library walls and into the school community.

As for the new library management system, Oliver, the interface is fantastic and a perfect choice for a primary school, especially when you click on Olly and access the visual search. Even searching a subject, the box where you type your word is quite large making it easy for little kids to read. None of the other programs researched had such a fantastic interface with this level of accessibility for very young children.

Currently, the library is shut down for lending and only open for returns. This has been instigated to enable the smooth transition and ensure any difficulties are fixed before the next academic year. It will further enable training in the new system for staff. Only last week I was working through part of the training module with Mary and we identified that a key component linking to Word has not been downloaded and set up yet. This enables the printing of labels, letters and reports. Very vital!… This has been forwarded to the IT department and hopefully the situation has been sorted. I am going back in later this week for a final check and hopefully this is the finale in transforming to a Library 2.0.

 

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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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Automate the library ~ cut some jobs?

I woke this morning to the following headline Students protest at library staff cuts in The Age. It appears that Melbourne University Library is moving towards more automated services and one of their spokespeople has been quoted as stating ”The proposed staffing restructure reflects the changes in library use that automation and digitisation have produced in research-intensive, comprehensive universities around the world,”. Furthermore, the article quotes “there had been a 45 per cent drop in ”across-counter loans” between 2008 and 2010, meaning ”staff need to shift from routine processing and lending activities to supporting students seeking help with research tasks and complex database access”. However, the staff are not being shifted to these areas of need, they are in fact being cut altogether.

With automation, as is the case in other industries, the people directly affected tend to be the lower skilled workers and in the case of Melbourne University libraries it is the library assistants and casuals that make up the count of about 30 positions to be cut. However, even if they employ 4.5 higher qualified staff, the question remains will this be enough to service the growing trend of library usage as indicated in other library service areas such as public libraries? Beyond this, why not transfer and retrain the library assistant positions to a similar classification as an Electronic Resources Assistant if this is the area of increased service need? The following job advert for an Electronic Resources Assistant gives an indication of what the job entails. Will the Melbourne University Library skimp in this area of service also?

While they point to a 45 % drop in across the counter loans, this may not be reflective as a statistic of library use overall. Many other library groups are reporting increased library use, as the following fact sheet from the ALA indicates and The Library Council of NSW  (2009) points out in The bookend scenarios: alternative futures for the Public Library Network in NSW, that there has been a “rapid growth in library usage in NSW over the past 5 years.”  Visiting the City Library for the past two weeks has corroborated this trend and the Sate Library of Victoria always seems a hive a activity at any time I visit.

We are definitely experiencing lean times economically and decisions such as the cuts to library services and staff are just another indicator of the mentality that cutting costs appears to be the solution. Well really?… Clearly this just leads to a loss or inadequate provision of essential services. Is this what we really want in the Information Age?

The following video is an interview with Marshall Breeding on Library Automation.

TWIL #43: Marshall Breeding (Library Automation) from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

The article by Marshall Breeding Automation Marketplace 2011: The New Frontier from Library Journal provides further information specific to library automation.

 

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Transforming to a Library 2.0~Part 4

Last week, Mary called me and asked me to come in and have a look at the demonstration disc of Oliver Library Management System that Softlink forwarded to the school. The school is coming closer to making a decision and would like the final assessment of the three systems with a recommendation. They hope to make a decision by the end of term three.

On Tuesday 28th June, Mary and I sat in her office and went through the demonstration disc together. After having a good look at it and discussing the benefits, we determined that Oliver, while more expensive than Destiny and Access-it,  appeared to have the easiest interface to navigate and appeared the most user friendly.

Visually it is the least cluttered, has a very appealing visual search and seems very straightforward to follow and hence easy to utilise. The system needs to cater to Primary school based clientele; Of the three systems Oliver by far seems to be the best able to cater to a younger clientele. It is the only system of the three that has a junior interface with the development of Oliver Jnr. The other two do not have any separately developed interface therefore they are a one size fits all from K-12 and would require greater input from a school to customize.

We determined that ease of use is at the top of the criteria in making a decision. Of the three systems we have looked at Oliver appears to be the easiest to navigate and use. Destiny and Access-it are both great but require more technical know-how; similar to skills required in websites or blogs. Access-it is the least prescriptive in appearance and requires a greater amount of time to set up in appearance. Destiny has a standard appearance that may be utilised but appears quite fiddly. Access-it and Destiny are quite similar in functionality but seem to be geared towards older students. While Access-it and Destiny both have a visual search interface you can choose, it is not as easy or accessible as the visual interface of Oliver. Oliver‘s visual appeal is strongest with the least cluttered appearance and a greater ability to provide access to very young students, including Prep-2. This makes navigation very easy for children who are just learning to read.

The school does not have a teacher librarian and as a result, ease of use as a consideration is further strengthened. The system needs to be easy to use by all patrons including Casual relief teachers, parents, students and teaching staff. A system that is easy to navigate without needing too much direct instruction is necessary. Of the three Oliver fits this criteria the best. During a library session, a CRT can easily step in and provide assistance with a system like Oliver as the interface is quite self explanatory.

Cataloging~In terms of cataloging, Oliver seemed to provide the easiest process. As all programs are web based, they integrate well with SCIS and reduce steps to importing MARC records thereby reducing the overall process. However, Oliver from the demonstration CD seemed the easiest to follow. More follow up is needed with regards to spine label types and suppliers though.

With Destiny we noted that at the High School we visited they were still trying to work out functionality of the program six months after implementation. They received initial training sessions and were awaiting another training session. They have a teacher librarian who can coordinate this and drive the process. This brings us back to absence of a teacher librarian at the school. If a school does not have a teacher librarian, they need a system that will prove very easy to adapt to and Destiny and Access-it may be a bit more difficult than Oliver in this regard. Mary liked the look of Oliver and the ease of use it presented compared to the other two systems.

Of the three systems, Oliver appears to be the one that can be set up and be ready to go without needing too much customisation. The other two systems needed greater customisation and an understanding of web creation tools to enhance the system will be necessary. Unfortunately, the school is very limited in this capacity and unless there is a teacher librarian, as a dedicated person to drive this aspect, then the system will not be able to meet its full potential.

All three systems will provide the ability to be networked beyond the library walls and beyond the school walls. The library can be accessed from homes with passwords connecting with the relevant links and pathfinders, students should be able to come to websites that have been evaluated via the system. Oliver has the added benefit of a built in simple newsletter template that informs patrons of new books/websites, events such as book week or author focus and so forth ~ useful in promoting the library and learning links.

In terms of making a final assessment, we still need to visit a school that is utilising Oliver. We can then see it in action and be able to ask questions of the school about their evaluation. Mary and I plan to organise a visit early next term for this purpose. Stay tuned for Part 5 in transforming to a Library 2.0…

All in all, the absence of a teacher librarian is screaming out loud and it is clear that no matter how hard one tries, a school library cannot meet its potential without a teacher librarian. The school library will always remain under-utilised, not resourced effectively and with core learning such as information literacy missing or misunderstood. It is difficult to thrust a school library to the centre of all learning when there is an absence of a teacher librarian.

On that note a bit of advocacy for Teacher Librarians is more than warranted; especially in our current lean economic climate with regards to schooling in Victoria!

Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools~2011

http://schoollibraries2011.wikispaces.com/

Myschool Library ~ for parents

 

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Pottermore.com ~ The future of Harry Potter books

I found this particularly interesting in light of my exploration of the future of books in recent posts. Below is the article in The Age today and the part I find most interesting is the following quote

” It will allow fans to continue interacting with their favourite books, but more importantly, it will make the series relevant to a new “digital generation” of readers who may not have been as prepared to read printed books in future.”

 

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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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Comic strips are fun!

Sorry about the lack of humour or wit. I just needed to experiment with Bitstrips and then share!

 

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