Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Ambitions 1998

Another bit of archaeology. In 1998 — back when we had only five libraries networked and on the library management system and before the reality of The People's Network — I was asked why the library service didn't have an IT strategy so I drafted one. This is some of the working-out.

Rochdale Library Service
Information/Communications Strategy — suggested bullet points

1         Factors informing the strategy
a)       Operational needs
i)        Lending
·         Stock management & control
  Making stock work harder
  Audit requirements
·         Borrower management & control
  Accessibility to library services across the Borough
  Fines/charges control
  Market analysis
·         Reservations management & control
  Reaching performance targets
  Managing costs of interlibrary loans
ii)      Reference
·         Increasing access to electronic information resources
  Access to new forms of material
  Access to wider ranges of material
  Making existing materials more widely available
  Increasing the accessibility of Council information
iii)    Access to Library information
·         Access to the Library Catalogue
·         Access to local history materials
  Digital formats
  Local history collections
  Local newspapers
·         Accessibility
  Within libraries
  Mobile library provision
  Meeting special needs
  Telematic access
iv)    Management information
·         Stock management information
  Stock use analysis
  Stock age analysis
·         Statutory statistical requirements
  Audit Commission
·         Performance indicator measurement
·         Financial information & control
  Stock ordering management
  Book fund analysis
  Budget monitoring
v)      Administrative requirements
·         Word–processing
·         Contact management — shared resources
  Council telephone numbers
  Emergency numbers
  Professional contacts
·         Bibliographical information (all formats)
  Records for requests
  Bibliographical records
b)      Staffing/support issues
i)        Training
·         Designing systems to minimise training needs
·         Commitment to empowering staff — enabling local problem–solving
·         Resources for delivery
  Staff time
  Cover for staff being trained
  Opportunity and resources for preparation
ii)      Support
·         Ownership issues
  Enabling local problem–solving
  Spreading skills widely
  Agreeing what can be expected of staff locally
  Support structures within the Library Service
  Professional Librarians taking responsibility for library systems
  Other staff
  Third–party support
  Within the Council
  Cost implications
·         Providing support at the front line
  For staff
  For the public
c)       External pressures
i)        National issues
·         New Library: People’s Network
·         National Grid for Learning
·         Audit Commission: Due for Renewal
·         Information for All
ii)      International perspectives
·         European information issues
  Information 2000
  IRISA–LAPSA & successor organisations
·         Internet access
d)      Technological possibilities
i)        Dynix library system
·         OPACs
  Graphical interfaces
  Web PACs
  OPACs for special needs (e.g. Libris Envisage)
  Off–line PACs (“OffPACs”)
·         Cash management
·         Acquisitions
  Order management
  Supplier performance monitoring
·         Community Resources
  Community organisations
  Newspaper indices
·         Internet publishing
ii)      PC–based systems
·         Word–processing
·         Spreadsheets
·         Custom databases
·         SQL–compliant systems
·         Electronic reference materials
·         Tutorial materials
·         Web browsers
·         Windows NT networks
·         Intranet systems
iii)    Unix–based systems
·         Electoral roll
·         Corporate financial data
iv)    Self–service opportunities
·         Reservations
  Web–based telematic systems
·         Circulation
e)       Restraints
i)        Funding for projects
·         Capital funding
·         Revenue funding for maintenance, etc.
·         Staffing costs
ii)      Expertise
·         Within the Library Service
·         Within the Council
  Knowledge of library systems
iii)    Staff time
iv)    Support issues (see above)
v)      Corporate policies

2         Suggested outcomes
a)       Dynix Library System
i)        Aim to stay with Dynix for the period of this strategy provided the development and support of the system meets the needs of the Library Service.
·         Join forces with other Dynix users to lobby for enhancements to the system to meet outstanding needs
·         Keep a watching brief as to the development of the product as a graphical system based on PCs 
·         Pending proper reassurance on the life expectancy of the Dynix system, add remaining libraries to the system
·         Implement procedures to automate parts of the stock editing system
  Transfers of some fiction collections
  Flagging up “tired” or “under–used” stock
  Collection inventory systems
·         Implement the Acquisitions module — automating the order process; book fund monitoring; supplier performance monitoring
·         Developing the use of Community Resources
  Making the Community Organisations database available
  On Council intranet via WebPAC technology
  On World–Wide Web via WebPAC technology
  Making local newspaper indices (currently in card format) available on OPAC
  Could be made available on the World–Wide Web and Council intranet via WebPAC technology
·         Investigating the effectiveness & viability of the Dynix Cash Management system
·         Develop new OPAC functions
  Kids’ Catalogue
  Graphical interfaces
  Publishing the Library Catalogue on the World Wide Web, including allowing “WebPAC” access to search for particular items
  Requires web access to the processor housing the library system
 Allows the possibility of allowing self–service reservation via the WWW
·         Telephone access
  Investigate the effectiveness and viability of potential options
  Automated telephone renewals
  Automated telephoned messages — overdues/charges/reservations notices
ii)      Where possible, create interfaces between the Dynix Library System and PC–based software
·         Management information
  Collating data between Dynix and proprietary software (e.g. for spreadsheet analysis)
  This would require a third piece of software to act as an interface between the two
  Investigating the effectiveness & viability of the Dynix “Executive Information System” — data warehousing/reporting system
·         Catalogue information
  Envisage — OPACs for visually–impaired
  Off–line copies of the Catalogue on CD–ROM (using the data conversions already taking place for Envisage)
  Replacing microfiche at off–line libraries
  Replacing microfiches as “back up” at on–line libraries
  Could be available on laptop on Mobile Library
  Could be available on laptop on Housebound Service
·         Using WWW technology (especially Java) to enable telematic delivery of library services (available from Dynix release 162E)
  Access to the Library Catalogue
  Potentially including placing reservations
  Access to library information
  Community Organisations
  Newspaper indices
  Requires a change in Council policy on web access to networked data
  Requires web access to the processor housing the library system
b)      Workstation access to other information systems
i)        PC–based information
·         Access to PC–based electronic references
  Networked electronic references based on a Windows NT server
  Allows resources to be shared between libraries
  Expensive references kept secure centrally
  CD–ROMs cached to hard disk to improve speed of access
  Using existing networks where feasible
  Networking dependent on licensing regimes — some material may not be networked; some networked licences may be prohibitively expensive
  May be able to derive use statistics for individual references
  Potential for differential access — different reference materials for different client groups
  Intranet connection with the rest of the Council
  Council information
  Statutory papers/minutes
·         Library intranet
  Staff manuals in hypertext format
  Staff notices
  Staff training materials
  Contact information
  Shared bookmarks for WWW
ii)      The Internet (more probably, just the WWW)
·         Staff workstations
  Including email
  Access to appropriate lists
·         Public workstations
  See below
iii)    Other systems
·         Reference Enquiry Desk workstations access to Electoral Roll
·         Administrative/management systems
Financial systems
 Suppliers database
c)       PC–based services to the public
i)        Extension of Open for Learning facilities
ii)      Maintenance of text–reading and Brailling facilities
iii)    Word–processing facilities
·         Support?
·         Cost of consumables?
iv)    Computers Don’t Bite and successors
d)      Public Internet access
i)        Controlled access
·         ?Timed out by software on PC
·         ?Time booked and issued to “borrower”
·         Use of Net Nanny et al. To prevent inappropriate access
·         ?Users registered, including disclaimers
  Promise not to look for illegal/immoral materials (how defined?)
  Promise not to hack machines
  Accept responsibility for own actions
  Agree that Library Service not responsible for anything the customer does during their time on the Internet
  Accept that service may be withdrawn from the customer if they break the rules
·         Costs
  To Library Service
  Service provider subscriptions
  Line costs
  To the customer
  ?How to be as inclusive as possible
  ?How nominal is a nominal charge
  ?Charge period — session or season
e)       Local history collections
i)        Access to the Local History Catalogue
·         Staff at Heywood and Middleton need access to the Catalogue at Rochdale
  Training load
  Is there OPAC access?
  Why not Dynix at Local Studies?
  Training load
  Why not both in both places?
  The Library Catalogue on Dynix will be searchable from a Web browser with 162E. If both catalogues Z39.50 compliant, both could be searched from a Web browser (as per draft Telematics strategy)
·         Practical issues
  Large cataloguing task
  May require some modification of the Dynix Catalogue record to include additional MARC fields (e.g. additional media fields; URL tags; image data)
  Would need to look at how other libraries/museums approach the job
ii)      Digitising local history materials
·         Security of primary materials
·         Making materials more widely accessible
  PAC–style picture catalogues
  Intranet/WWW access
·         Pictures
  Scanned into JPEG format
  ?Dynix (how catalogued?)
  ?Proprietary database system
  PAC access
  ?Proprietary system
  Electronic watermarking for copyright purposes
·         Documents
  Copyright issues
  Investigate routes taken corporately through Document Imaging Working Group
  Investigate effectiveness/viability of scanning and OCR (optical character recognition) systems
f)        Office applications at main libraries
i)        Word–processing facilities — MS Word
ii)      Use of MS Word and MS PowerPoint for DTP/notices
iii)    MS Excel for spreadsheet analyses
iv)    MS Access for local databases (created by Systems Manager for local use — e.g. for enquiry desk statistics)

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