Category Archives: Conferences Notes

Attracting Digital Users with Easy Access: Online User Registration for Electronic Resources

Melissa Carle & David LeCrone, KCPL

Previous Process

  • Hard-clunky
  • Online web form — that reflected the paper form — sent to circ staff via email
  • staff creates card & sends by mail to verify user’s address
  • a time-consuming, manual process
  • Sirsi had an online registration mechanism, but it was clunky & didn’t work well in e-library, the previous generation OPAC
  • Mailing, up to 10-day process to get a card in user’s hand

Different Concepts — based on Policies

  • “Taster card” <– didn’t work
    • valid for a limited time
    • limited privileges
    • move patrons eventually to traditional cards
    • all electronic things access, could later be physical
  • Online signup for the traditional library card
    • same account privileges as everyone else
    • adjust workflow to verify addresses, etc
  • Digital Card <– their solution
    • Focus on immediate access to digital resources
  • Thought of lots of ways to make this expensive

Focusing on Digital = “eCard”

  • Marketing person came up with this concept
  • No need to verify mailing address
  • No need for extensive physical borrowing privileges
  • No need to provide a physical card
  • If they do visit us in person, we can issue a traditional card
  • When you remove the policies related to physical items, it becomes much easier


  • Users have immediate presence in the ILS
  • Users can be authenticated immediately by Online Services
  • No staff mediation
  • Focus on ultimate service and not the software mechanism


  • Online form to fill out; certain fields required (email address; PIN; zip code
  • Form is submitted; immediate account in ILS and email sent to patron’s email account with activation link, includes account number & PIN
  • After the confirmation, and clicking on library link, it takes you to eresources page.
  • Second email — confirms activation
  • Welcome email — Third email sent a day later, including all the things you can do with the eCard

Access restrictions

  • Over 13 only — board policy; path of least resistance & also being done in a very quick timeframe
  • Library doesn’t verify the street addresses
  • Restrict by Zip Code to metro area: Closer to “one metro library card” concept
  • Cannot duplicate name already in the ILS

Emphasizing access over ownership and remove barriers — cope with a few bad seeds

Collection development — all for access to digital resources; increasing circ. More access –> more stuff getting bought.


  • Messy Data
    • abbreviations, misspellings, capitalization
    • NCOA data scrub from Unique Management
  • Cheaters
    • false emails, name, age, address
  • Poor customer experience
    • eligible for eCard, but prevented from self-registering
  • Little appeal/traction among users

Staff Training

  • Recognizing eCard profiles in the ILS
  • Moving account from eCard to traditional card
  • Manually signing patrons up for eCard
  • Troubleshooting online registration issues

Getting physical stuff

  • the online cards are allowed to place up to three holds in the ILS
  • when the user comes in, their card is converted to a physical library card after their address is verified with their ID
  • Most of our database vendors seamlessly accept the new physical card User ID, with the noted exception of Overdrive


  • In the eight months since we went live, over 2500 accounts activated — 260 a month
  • Only 4.5% of these accounts have been transformd into full collection access cards
  • Have we become a daily part of their lives? A weekly part? How many people were just in the moment?

12pm-4pm heavy use; 9-10pm as well

Photos of data around usage

Consider this to be a very successful launch in the 9 months since it was launched — lots of promotion online — because audience isn’t going to be coming into library.

Birthday verification question — gold standard — but capability not in their ILS yet

Outreach to users — broadening library service — is where the marketing needs to happen to push e-resources.

Expired Cards? 

  • NCOA database scrub — solution….
  • Public services doesn’t want to delete cards anymore

Discovery systems as convergence: blurring the boundaries between public and tech services

Jenny Bossaller & Heather Lea Moulaison, SISLT, iSchool @ UM

Tech as driving force of change in libraries

Discovery systems as an emerging case study

  • How are librarians talking about it, in general
  • Front of house vs back of house concerns, and how they approach change
  • Discovery system: driving dept convergence or still a point of separation?
  • Evolving inquiry abt discovery systems

About Discovery Systems

Dedicated systems that provide access to a variety of library resources thru a single search interface

  • Central index
  • Single search box
  • relevancy ranking
  • facets
  • Koha doesn’t do deduping on searches (I know Evergreen does) but it does all these other things

Major Discovery Systems

  • Ebsco Discovery Service (EDS) (EBSCO)
  • Primo (Ex Libris)
  • Summon (ProQuest)
  • WorldCat Discovery (OCLC)
  • BiblioCore (BiblioCommons)
  • AquaBrowser Library (ProQuest)

Some discovery systems pull in data from other systems and users.

Data pulled into discovery systems — databases, other collections, repository, econtent, and others….

What is innovation? 

(vs technology — hardware (pencil) software (knew how to use eraser))

  • Def — the act of introducing something new; something newly introduced
  • there is a connotation that an innovation, unlike something that is only “new” is also an improvement or is somehow incremental in its advancement over prior options
  • Discovery systems are a technology that represents a major innovation over previous models for access

Diffusion of Innovation

  • Not everyone is going to adopt a new tech right away
  • To adopt/not to adopt: appeal; cost; perceived benefits; ability to prioritize, etc

Roger’s innovation adoption curve

  • Innovators
  • Early adopters
  • Early majority
  • Late majority
  • Laggards

Professional literature

Each library community has its journals

  • Kind of library: academic, special
  • Kind of librarianship: systems librarians/technologists; tech services/cataloging; public services/reference; library admin

Librarian publications

  • research article in scholarly journal; white paper; conference; internal circulation
  • Scholarly journals arduous/writers probably have external motivation (tenure requirements)

Peer reviewed journals

  • vetted end product
  • gets the research out to a wider audience over time
  • audience predetermined audience due to aims and scope of journal/expertise

Building library silos? 

  • Specialization yields task-based depts: public/user services; tech services; systems; hierarchically on size, mission, budget
  • Leads to divisions


  • Reflects a need for holistic understanding of the library as a single unit
  • Capitalize on strengths
    • Staff reference with some tech services employees (Makinen, 1997)
    • Place public service librarians in services (vanDuinkerden, 2009)
    • Place reference librarians in cataloging (Kennan, 2014)
  • Why isn’t there more cross-pollination

“This growing dichotomy of public service vs tech service is a very disturbing element pervading libs. the truth that there is no division bw ref and tech services….” –Boone? (2000, p. 34)

Systematic reviews

Used in scientific domains — social/psychologicla/medical research

Synthesis: defined by purpose or research question; methods, theories, perspective; “….attempts to aggregate empirical research for the purpose of creating generalizations” (Cooper and Harris, p. 6)


  • Problem definition: what to include? Exclude
  • Collect research evidence: evaluate for inclusion
  • Coding procedures
  • Analyze
  • Present synthesis methods and results


Research of discovery systems

  • 2 studies in public libraries
  • a few that were general
  • 85% were in academic libraries
  • Community of librarians, by year
  • Lots of academic libraries; very, very little in public libraries

Journal types: most often: reference/public services; systems (most of this group); academic; general — very little in other; management; medical; cataloging/tech services

Trend — 2012 — lots of articles (20) in academic journals — lots of case studies in 2012

Research methods: log analysis; usability; theory; survey; literature review; single library/case study; comparative — systems; tech services; access people

Methods used in papers — many had multiple methods used: case study + usability + survey

Many, many case studies in academic libraries. None in public libraries.

Convergence literature? And what is missing

  • Everyone loves talking about discovery systems
  • But they’re not writing about them — public librarians and children’s interests

What does this mean? Academic librarians have a captive audience, need tenure, so write about captive audience.

The open discovery initiative — a model by which content providers work w discovery service vendors via fair and unbiased and indexing and linking

JISC Discovery Open Metadata Principles — librarians partnering with vendors and content providers

2014 — rec’d practice document

The problem with discovery

What’s going on under the hood? Differences in interface features are clear, search algorithm and search details are proprietary

ODI’s proposed solution — guidelines and rec’d best practices for both discovery system providers and for content providers; rank results objectively; adequate metadata provided

Templates filled out by content providers



Conclusions: we have a solid foundation to move forward. Librarians should: Work with vendors and content providers; be assertive; work together; identify problems and promote solutions — convergence?

Let’s Make a Game Out of It: Building Connections, Constructing Community, Thinking Strategically

Lauren Hays, @Lib_Lauren, Instructional and Research Librarian, Mid-America Nazarene University

Mark Hayse, PhD, Director, Honors Program, Mid-America Nazarene University

Center for Games & Learning” at Mid-America Nazarene University

Faculty and Librarian Collaboration, Relationships

IMLS Sparks Ignite Grant

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E-Resources Bootcamp Preconference

I’m attending the KLA-MLA joint conference this week in Kansas City. Any blog posts, please be forgiving of spelling/grammar mistakes, as I’m live blogging. 

Sarah Sutton, ESU; Mary Bailey, K-State; Christina Geuther, K-State; Nancy Haag, KCKPL; Erich Kessler, KCKPL; Angela Rathmel, KU

1. Introduction to the NASIG Core Competencies for Electronic Resources Librarians — Sarah Sutton

When looking at the competencies, there’s no way to be competent in all of the competencies. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the competencies and what they’re asking for…

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Coverflow in the OPAC: Making your catalog more dynamic

Chris Brannon, IT Coordinator, Couer D’Alene Public Library

His slides will be on the wiki

CIN’s catalog

Kyle’s coverflow instructions [back-end setup need in webserver, Apache]

4 coverflow widgets, based on reports for new Adult materials, new childrens materials, recently checked out materials, recently returned materials reports

Hasn’t seen many performance issues with this set up; report doesn’t reload/rerun unless you refresh your page; doesn’t have many people landing on catalog homepage — could be an issue if you have lots of computers that land on the catalog homepage

Dynamic content for the catalog

  • install the coverlow plugin (may need assistance from support vendor)
  • Configure the plugin in the Tool Plugins
  • Place your elements somewhere in the catalog page
    • <span id='coverlow'>=Loading </span>

Instructions walk you through the necessary steps; to

4 coverflows set up with unique span id and unique report id

will be also sharing the SQL on the reports used to build the coverflows — reports need to be public in order for this to work.

Plugin does the heavy lifting for CoverFlow — javscript code, etc., more, built through plugin, and is added to your opacuserjs sys pref. Can tweak/manipulate the js code then.

One tweak: added canned searches link to the new items cover flows to find more materials.

Some reports are load slower than others.

Suggestions for improvement

  • Reports that are run once a day or on a schedule, and the results stored where Coverflow can utilize those results, resulting in faster loading <– should be be available in a future version of Koha, thanks to Bug #13578
  • Working on applying the results in Digital Displays around the library that can be automatically rotated thru.

Could you pull the data from a list? Write a report that pulls data from a static list