A 360 View: Essential Steps for a Successful Next-Gen Online Catalog Upgrade (Part 2 – Implementation)

KLEW

Co-authored by Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Knowledge & Research Services, Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP, and Michayla Sullivan, Knowledge & Research Services Specialist, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Congratulations, you’ve selected your online catalog system! After you have decided on a new platform and signed the contract, you will need to implement the new system. The general stages of implementation are:

  • Record migration
  • Library employee training
  • Product customization
  • Promotion of OPAC

The implementation process involves several considerations. Your new vendor should be able to help you bulk import your old library records to your new system. As mentioned in Part 1 of this post, hopefully you’ve made absolutely certain to double-check on this functionality before you signed the contract. The lack of this service is a deal-breaker. Even the smallest law libraries can have thousands of records that are critical for day-to-day operations. An inability to import records in bulk or compatibility issues between the old and new systems could make the migration process difficult, lengthy, and possibly not worth the associated time and cost. Some larger libraries also may have the same consideration for patron records.

The new generation of library catalog systems tend to have far more functionality than older ones, therefore, a surprising amount of training may be needed for your staff. Expect to spend weeks or even months discovering all the new features and how to use them. Be sure that your library staff has at least 10-15 hours over the first several weeks to dedicate to initial training with the vendor, reading manuals, and/or watching training videos. Also, account for extra staff time spent on performing routine tasks in the new system. Allowing for some overtime during the transition period also may be necessary.

After you have mastered the features available in the new system, you will need to spend time customizing it to your needs. Your vendor may be able to help you with some of this, but much of it will be left to you. Depending on which product you go with, the biggest customization may be designing your OPAC. You not only will have to design its overall appearance; you also will need time to determine which features to make available to your patrons. Which search fields will you make available? Will there be links to outside resources? If so, which ones? Will your patrons be allowed to add and remove themselves to serials routing lists? Do you want them to use the OPAC to submit reference requests? After you have answered and implemented all of your customized features, time devoted to testing them is essential.

Build it and they will come? This may hold true in some instances, but no matter what, make a plan to promote the OPAC to the employees at your firm. Every library catalog needs name—one way to get people excited about your new online catalog is to ask for name suggestions or have a naming contest. Next up is announcing the chosen name and arranging demonstrations of the catalog at your firm’s practice group meetings. Also, don’t forget to demonstrate it to the paralegals and secretaries at their meetings. If your firm has an intranet, position the link to the OPAC prominently. Lastly, in the ensuing months make sure to remind people about the OPAC whenever you get the chance. As people call asking where a certain book is kept or if the latest issue of a favorite current awareness journal is in yet, take the opportunity to remind them about your new catalog system.

Advantages abound in moving up to a next-generation online catalog system. Chief among them is the ability to offer attorneys seamless access to the entire universe of resources in your library’s collection. The benefits of doing so far outweigh the time and effort needed to make it happen.

 

Getting Users Out Of Their Seats

By Erik Y. Adams, Electronic Resources Librarian at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Erik Adams’ post below is reposted with permission from the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.  Published by the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries, the RIPS Law Librarian Blog covers “trends in research, instruction, and patron services within today’s law libraries.”  Erik is a member of RIPS-SIS, and also a member of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS).

In law firms we have struggled for years with how to get attorneys to stop relying on books, which are expensive to acquire, store, and maintain, and start using online resources. (Which are also expensive, but at least we aren’t the ones who have to acquire, store, and maintain them.) Recently, however, I had a problem new to my experience: an attorney who didn’t want to get out of his seat and use the print version.

This particular attorney wanted to read a section of the California Code. We offer several different ways to achieve this online via the firm’s intranet, and several of us have walked the attorney through the process multiple times. But in this particular instance, he wanted to look it up in the book. My firm has a complete copy of the California Codes in his location, but recently this office had been remodeled, and the attorney found he is on a different floor than the library. He could walk up one flight of very stylish stairs to the library, but that wasn’t nearly as convenient as when his office had been right next to the library.

Video game companies have wrestled for years with the problem of how to get gamers out of their chairs and into the world and to get more exercise. Nintendo had some success last year with the release of Pokemon Go, where the goals of the game could only be achieved by walking around your city, and by exploring new neighborhoods. Now, as electronic resources are taking over, I’m facing the exact same issue: how can I get attorneys out of their seats? Especially when, generally, that’s the best course of action? Continue reading

A 360 View: Essential Steps for a Successful Next-Gen Online Catalog Upgrade (Part 1 – System Selection)

By Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Knowledge & Research Services, Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP, and Michayla Sullivan, Knowledge & Research Services Specialist, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

OPAC

A mere thirty to forty years ago, albeit light years ago in terms of technology, most law firm libraries were converting from card catalogs to online catalogs. The records contained in those old online catalogs were largely bibliographic records for print titles. However, the balance of records in today’s online catalogs has shifted to primarily records for electronic titles. Due to this change, many law libraries may be contemplating upgrading to next-generation online catalog systems. Doing so entails several considerations and steps. Continue reading

Making Access to Library Resources Seamless

By Ellyssa Kroski, Director of Information Technology, The New York Law Institute

[Editors’ note:  The New York Law Institute (NYLI), the oldest circulating law library in New York City, serves as a full information services organization, and offers its members materials in various formats, including 24/7 availability of electronic databases.  NYLI has an impressive collection of current, unique, historical and hard-to-find materials.   Membership provides access to significant print resources enhanced by remote access to an array of online databases, including eBooks.]

As an information services organization, we’ve always sought to offer our members effortless access to our resources.  To this end, we developed the capability for our members to integrate all of our bibliographic records into their own online catalogs.  At the time, we thought that this would make accessing our 300,000+ title print collection easier, as well as help streamline functions such as interlibrary loans.  After launching the initiative, the Seamless Catalog Module, we also gained an eBook collection boasting over 100,000 titles, making the access to our bibliographic records even more attractive.  The dozen member libraries who are using this application module have been able to instantly add all of those records into their own catalogs for their users.
Continue reading

May/June AALL Spectrum Focuses on Technological Advancements

The May/June AALL Spectrum focuses on artificial intelligence, with a good cover story on “Artificial Intelligence: Legal Research and Law Librarians.” It’s worth a read.

There are also some valuable contributions from members of AALL’s Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section.

Beverly G. Butula, Reference Librarian at Davis & Kuelthau, S.C. teamed up with John Cannan of Drexel University to write an article, “Creating Engaging Digital Media to Promote Library Services.” The article “presents best practices and ideas to develop and implement quality technology-based programs” and recommends several free options to use for planning and delivering professional presentations. A Quick Links box includes links to a Digital Media Toolkit of presentation software, infographic tools, organizational tools, and polling resources; there is also a webinar you can view if you’re interested in learning more from Beverly and John.

– This month’s Ask A Director column focused on Technology Hot Buttons and featured Scott Bailey, Global Director of Research Services at Squire Patton Boggs. For Scott, the most pressing technology issues facing our profession revolve around the perception of what technology can do versus the reality. Scott expands on the concerns surrounding artificial intelligence, questions how real the threat is to current knowledge workers, and discusses how information professionals can use AI to their advantage.

– In Susan Catterall’s Reference Desk column, Susan answers a question about keeping up with and evaluating new resources.  Susan gives some good tips about using checklists and taking your target audience into account and also solicited recommendations from Abby Walters, who’s currently library director at the Minnesota Office of Attorney General, with prior experience in private law firm libraries.  Both Susan and Abby suggest developing and utilizing connections with colleagues and taking advantage of the benefits of AALL membership.