Sunday, 31 January 2016

A (very brief) introduction to library management systems for people who've never worked in a library

For one reason or another we're doing quite a lot of knowledge-sharing in our team at the moment. In my case I'm doing a lot of preparation for handing over the support for the library management systems. The first big step in this was a session introducing a "vanilla" LMS and the business that it's trying to support. Given that I'm the only person in our team who's ever worked in a library I thought it important to begin by mapping out the landscape of what our customers are doing so that when we're looking at specific functions there's an operational, rather than just technical, context.

A (very brief) introduction to library management systems from Steven Heywood

Pretty good response to it. We had a useful discussion of where the key support loads are:
  • Acquisitions is always disproportionately problematic, even when it's fully-automated. And the road to fully-automating a vendor's EDI stream can be very rocky indeed.
  • Given the huge volume of transactional traffic involved in Circulation functions it doesn't generate a lot of support work.
  • The workload generated by management information requirements is caused, with a few exceptions, by the ad-hoc nature of the requirements, 
  • The end of the financial year is busy but that's largely because that's when changes to parameters such as fines and charges, budgets, etc. need to be made.
Rochdale's part of a consortium but for the purposes of this and the next couple of sessions we're pretending that it's a stand-alone operation so that people can get their heads around the principles of the system. My thinking is that, Acquisitions aside, supporting a stand-alone LMS these days is pretty straight sailing and this is the feedback I got from my colleagues. Moving into consortium working is a lot more tricky and generates a lot of work due to the need to co-ordinate efforts and align both processes and parameters. So one of the sessions I'm planning will involve my walking through the steps we've taken this far — and the systemic work involved — and the roadmap for the immediate future.

No comments:

Post a Comment