Students mostly visit our library to explore the Internet (typically not for educational purposes). The shelves with Dutch novels and juvenile literature did not appeal much to them, but how can library staff make an effort to update collections when most of the attention is drawn to the students using the computers? For years this had concerned us, so we really wanted to make a change. We started by introducing several time saving methods (see section Best Practices... for more detail). Express cataloging is one of these methods. We already had pioneered with the OpenBiblio library system and frequently visit the forums of the very supportive OpenBiblio community. Their expertise guided us through the adaptation and implementation of the Z39.50 MARC Lookup add-on. Now any title which is cataloged by the regional public library network can be added to our OpenBiblio catalog in less than a minute. It was worthwhile to establish these methods:
In just a few weeks we updated our main collection and circulation increased more than 300%.
Quality of new records is much higher, makes catalog more usable.
Type of education: pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO). In The Netherlands 60% of all students in secondary education are enrolled at this type of schools. Marcanti College offers a broad range in education level, from basic vocational program up to theoretical program. The school has approximately 650 students, most of them aged between 12-17.
Is pioneering with OpenBiblio really for you? Currently the software has beta status, it is not a finished product. If you want to join the elite group of libraries that use OpenBiblio in production you need to have the skill and dedication to make it meet your needs, or be able to organize that this is done for you.
Do you know your patrons? When selecting titles for new additions you need to know about the library patrons preferences and indifferences. Fortunately for us many students like to visit the library (for exploring the Internet), so we know them well.
Do you want to start a museum? Our students need a "feel good shelve browsing experience". We moved ugly books and those not circulated for 10 years or more.
Do you have a policy about what titles to purchase? We coordinated with the teachers. One of the results is purchasing titles mentioned as examples in the Dutch language text book used at our school. Works very well, students appreciate it.
Save time in ordering and preparation for circulation
Use the online ordering service of a book supplier. We invested a few working hours to register with the system of our supplier and learn how to use it. Exploring and using the service delivered us plenty of ideas for appealing titles. Working from our library to evaluate and order new books is very practical and efficient.
Order books pre-processed for library use. This minimizes time needed to prepare for shelving and we think it looks better too.
Save time in cataloging - OpenBiblio Z39.50 MARC Lookup Add-on
The OpenBiblio website, section Add-ons, provides links to this additional software. There is a modified version for use with the Dutch server tolk.pica.nl
Prevent adding duplicate titles; separate batches when new materials arrive:
Copies of new titles, to be cataloged through Z39.50 Search.
New copies of titles already in your catalog, only to be added as copies.
Use a barcode scanner. This automates entering a book's ISBN or universal product number in the Z39.50 Search form; just scan the barcode printed on the book's cover. (OpenBiblio also supports barcode input in circulation forms, printing the copy or member barcodes could be done using a word processor for example. Unfortunatelywe did not realize this before the increase in circulation...)
Use a method for automating numbering of copy barcodes.
Patch Autobarco for biblio copies (ID 1240973) can be used as a supplement to Z39.50 MARC Lookup. Speeds up adding copies by automating the numbering of copy barcodes. Will be integrated in the first official release of OpenBiblio newer than 0.5.1.
Or perhaps you can use preprinted barcode labels. Make sure the numbering structure is supported by OpenBiblio.