Is it Possible? Is it Worth It? Community Teamwork for the Library Catalog

WMS Southeast Regional Users Gathering

WMS Southeast Regional Users Gathering

On March 8th the library hosted a meeting for users of the (not so) new catalog: Webscale Management Services, better recognized to patrons as Davidson WorldCat Local. When we implemented in Summer 2011 we were pioneers, being among the first seven libraries to do so. In keeping with a pioneering attitude, this was the inaugural WMS Southeast Regional Users Gathering, in fact, the first on-site meeting in the WMS community.

We asked the questions: Is it possible? Is it worth it? And the community had answers!

In keeping with the spirit of the library mission we

  • Collaborated
    • Librarians from 15 libraries in the southeast participated
    • Staff from the system vendor OCLC took questions
  • Put Davidson’s Center for Teaching and Learning through its paces
    • Webcom advanced projection system was used to display presentations
    • Web based conferencing infrastructure allowed remote participation by OCLC Product managers
    • Were able to rearrange furniture to optimize space for changing audience size
    • Held breakout sessions in adjoining spaces
    • Seamlessly provided guest wireless internet access for attendees
  • Demonstrated “many ways to skin a cat” solutions through technology
    • Robin Mize’s (Brenau University) presentation titled “Understanding Search Results in the Catalog”
      • Helped the audience understand how choices made in backend configuration of the catalog by the library staff, and how the meta data about different items described in the catalog, influence the search results that patrons get and how they view them.
      • Suggestions were made on how the system might be changed to enhance user experience.
    • Terry Brandsma and Marcie Burton’s (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro ) titled “Access to Electronic Collections via WorldCat Knowledge Base”
      • Helped users of the system better understand how they might manage access to electronic collections of e-books and other electronic collections.  We learned how to manage data provided by the vendors selling the e-books, manipulate and enter it in the Knowledgebase to enhance access to our electronic collections.
    • Michael Ingram (High Point University ) presented  “Another Workflow for WorldCat Knowledge Base and Statistics with OCLC Reports”
      • Demonstrated alternative ways of managing vendor data in the knowledgebase.
    • John Wilson (Freed-Hardeman University) contributed “Customized Reporting Using OCLC’s Reconciliation Reports”
      • Demonstrated that with some basic programming scripts it is possible to take very basically formatted OCLC system reports, retrieve them, run calculations on the data and produce customize and usefully formatted reports regarding overdue notices, library fines, items coming due and more.
    • Susan Kerr (Davidson College Library) presented “Maintaining the Catalog with OCLC Reports”
      • Davidson College is comparing output of several different available reports in an attempt to identify items/resource that might not be appropriately represented in the catalog for a variety of reasons. Once identified, necessary steps can be taken to make sure the items are represented appropriately and accessible to patrons.

Building the WMS community strengthens the Davidson community. Shared ideas and skills bring solutions forward. Our unified voice steers development. While the catalog remains a work in progress, we have a talented team building bridges to the future.