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.

Example of a record showing the holdings of a specific law firm library plus the NYLI holdings:

Libraryholdings

We began to see that many firm libraries were moving from an ownership to an access model due to space and cost considerations, and had been steadily downsizing their print collections in favor of only purchasing and housing essential materials.  A major goal of our Seamless Catalog Module initiative was to free up our member libraries from the burden of holding on to so many materials, especially marginally used print volumes such as treatises and other serials.

In order to develop the needed functionality, we financed a custom feature development with EOS International which became our Seamless Catalog Module.  This free module enables New York Law Institute member libraries that use EOS.Web® to directly integrate NYLI’s entire collection, seamlessly within their own catalog.

The NYLI Seamless Catalog Module adds functionality that in essence transforms a member’s online public access catalog (OPAC) into a one-way union catalog in which a library can view all of NYLI’s holdings while keeping their own holdings private.   [A union catalog displays the holdings of a number of libraries.]

Aside from benefiting our members, we hoped that this project would encourage others in the field to develop similar functionality for other integrated library systems (ILS) and eventually offer platform-independent functionality.  We thought that this could be the first step to a new generation of collaborative efforts to share holdings while respecting the privacy of participants.

For those members who don’t use EOS, we also wanted to make accessing our resources as seamless as possible.  To that end, we also had EOS develop SharePoint widgets and Web parts for easy access to our resources via widgets.

Example of a widget for easy search of NYLI circulating collection from a law firm library portal/webpage:

widget

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