Library Management Systems (LMS) are constantly impacted by the rapidly evolving digital revolution that we are all in the thick of. It is essential that libraries keep up to stay relevant to their communities. This will probably mean that patching, updating and upgrading of older LMS will eventually not be enough and libraries will need to invest in a whole new system. The gamble here is what is going to work? What is going to remain relevant at least for a decent amount of time?
Beta video tapes anyone? Blackberry smart phone maybe?
Because a changing to a whole new system will be a big investment most libraries will hold off on this until it’s clear what will be the best way forward. It will be up to innovative, well funded libraries to lead the way. But ultimately it comes down to ease of access. Everyone, whatever their relationship with a library is, needs and wants to find and access what they are looking for in the shortest amount of time in the most convenient way possible. Providing various ways for customers and clients to access is essential. Library staff will need to be constantly reviewing their knowledge, training and retraining as LMS and libraries evolve.
It’s important that lessons of the past have influence on the future. Use the best of what we already have to develop new systems that will be better able to respond to the ever changing library environment and adaptable to all various types of libraries. There are new terms surfacing such as Cloud Computing and SaaS as well as various ideas on what the next stages of LMS will be.
Pass me my crystal ball and I might be able to give you a definitive answer. But in the meantime we all can be assured that LMS is changing and we will all benefit from that.
Job title: Library Development Assistant
Organisation advertising: Camberwell Girls Grammar School
Qualifications required: Working with Children Check. National Criminal Record Check
Desirable qualifications: Further training or qualifications in Literature and/or Library Services. First Aid qualification.
Skills required: Professional, strong and effective communication skills. High level computer literacy – the ability to use email, word processing and spreadsheet programs. Ability to interact proactively with staff at all levels, including management. Conceptual, analytical and problem solving skills. Well-developed organisational and administrative skills, including strong attention to detail, demonstrated ability to set priorities and meet deadlines. Demonstrated effectiveness in contributing to a small team, including the ability to review and improve workplace practices. Proactive, self-starting, able to initiate action and influence events. Adaptable and receptive to new ideas, not bound by old ways of operating.
Advertised on: Camberwell Girls Grammar School website
Other: Experience in a library or education environment will be highly regarded. Part time position, 36 hours per week averaged over each 4 week period, starting immediately. Hours of work will only be during term times.
Job title: Library Officer
Organisation advertising: City of Stonnington
Qualifications required: Currently completing, or recently completed, the Diploma of Library Studies or similar. Police check where applicable.
Skills required: Significant experience in a customer service role. Broad knowledge of computer applications, digital resources and the internet. Good written and verbal communication skills. Demonstrated ability to work a team environment and positively contribute to the team.
Advertised on: cityofstonnington.mercury.com.au
Other: Knowledge of books, general reading interests and current affairs is necessary for assisting customers. An ability and willingness to continuously develop this knowledge is essential. Basic administrative and computer skills to assist in the operation of the library and service delivery including practical knowledge of windows-based computer applications and the Internet. Bi-lingual skills an advantage. Primarily working on the circulation desk or shelving. Casual position, Salary: $37.46 per hour (inclusive of casual loading) plus superannuation.
A Discovery Layer is a software addition for libraries that provides a search interface for users to find information in the library’s catalogue and beyond. It “sits” over the database to allow a broad, all-encompassing search and can include additional features that allow a library to customise the search results. It means that a searcher does not need to conduct searches in each different section, category or collection. One search covers all.
Most Discovery Layer systems fall somewhere in between a traditional catalogue search and web search engine but a Discovery Layer provides a more structured view of results than a web search engine. There will be an expectation that data underpinning the service is richer and more tailored for the user’s needs rather than bringing up a vast array of results that are not necessarily relevant as with a web search.
The Discovery Layer is capable of covering a far greater scope than a traditional search of a library catalogue. It is possible for a Discovery Layer to index data that lies outside the library’s immediate catalogue; for example, web based content stored remotely, metadata for copyrighted works not in the library catalogue, or content stored in other libraries.
I visited the Melbourne Library Service website and tried out their OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue). You can find “search the library catalogue” in the “I want to…” list on the left of the home page. So it is easy to find the search tool but I would have thought it would have been better placed top center rather than third down on this list. Once you click on this link it takes you to a “Catalogue Search” where you can simply type in what you are looking for or use the “Advanced Search” option. There is also a list of FAQ’s under the Catalogue Search field.
I entered “Pride and Prejudice” into the search field. As with most OPAC systems the obvious is not always listed first. Nine other items were listed before a eBook of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was listed.
The Advanced Search option is a better option, it allows you to narrow down your search by selecting smaller categories rather than a broad search. You can also filter by language, location and collections. There is a help tab for those having difficulties as well a “Can’t Find It?” section allowing you to access the following: