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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Out with the Old, In with the New (KLC Closing Keynote)

Awful Library Books @awfullibbooks


Holly Hiber and Mary Kelly, authors of Making a collection count : a holistic approach to library collection management

People come to libraries to get the materials that meet their needs. We need to have the right info for them, that is correct.

Continue reading “Out with the Old, In with the New (KLC Closing Keynote)”