Recently in Circulation Category

Aleph Testing in Israel

For one week, last November, Chris Rose was in Israel to conduct quality control testing for Aleph version 19. Chris, the Ex Libris Users North America (ELUNA) chair, was selected by the ELUNA steering committee. They believed that the software developers would benefit from working with actual Aleph users. While there he mainly focused on course reserves, but was also able to do some circulation testing. Additionally, Chris taught the developers about North American reserve workflow.

Of course, Chris was not working every minute of the day while in Israel, he did do some sightseeing. Chris said his most interesting experience was floating in the warm Dead Sea, "while everyone in Minnesota was experiencing single digit weather." We're glad he was thinking of us.

Chris at ExLibris Israel Office
Chris at ExLibris' Israel Office - Feb 2008

Dead Sea 
Flora and fauna in Israel - Feb 2008

~Submitted by Emily Riha, Feb. 8, 2008

Aleph Booking May be the Ticket

Library staff are currently busy testing Booking features in Aleph. Booking allows for materials to be reserved in advance for future use. For high use items like Reserve readings, rooms, and equipment, Aleph Booking can be an ideal way to ensure that these items are available for use when our patrons need to use them. While not yet available to our users in production, plans are underway to enable booking for our users in the very near future.

How does Booking work? For an example, say a faculty member wants to Reserve a video for class use during the 6th week of the semester. Library staff can book the request for the faculty member, but it is also possible for the faculty member to make the booking request directly within MNCAT. When booking an item, Aleph provides a schedule that allows users to view time slots that are already booked as well as ones that are still available. The booking can be for the full length of the normal loan period, but can be shortened as well. Once a booking request is in place, the video can continue to be loaned to other users, but as the 6th week approaches, any loan that would overlap with the booking period is automatically shortened by Aleph so that the faculty member will be able to have the video to show in class. As the date of the request approaches, staff at the owning library receive a report of the upcoming request from Aleph so that it can be delivered to the faculty member in time for the classroom showing. Reminders can even be sent to patrons letting them know that their requested date is approaching.

While our staff are testing Aleph Booking, the Duluth campus has been using Aleph Booking in production for the past six months. Their assistance and advice has been invaluable during our testing.

If you have items and/or equipment in your collection that you believe could benefit by being available for booking, please contact Chris Rose.

~Submitted by Chris Rose, IADS Aleph Coordinator

Branches of IADS: The Plant Pathology Library

There's no denying that the Plant Pathology Library is tiny. We do as much circulation all year as Wilson can do in two days. And as many people visit Plant Path in one month as Wilson sees in 1.5 days. Even compared to other branch libraries we are small; generally doing a quarter of the business of the other branches. Our collection consists of books and journals on only one topic: plant diseases.*

The benefits of being small are many, including an intimate understanding of the collection and user needs, and a streamlined experience for the library user--the same person helps them use MNCAT, find the book and checks them out. Obviously some economy of scale is lost, but because the Plant Pathology Department pays the staffing costs, the end result is that the Libraries gain another entry point with which to serve students, staff, faculty and the public. While our stats do not compare to the larger libraries, we provide the same levels and types of services to our users. Savvy library users expect comparable service, but just as many casual users are delighted to discover they can conduct their library research and receive assistance with circulation issues at this location. We provide full reference service, circulation service (except for fines & billing), and course reserves (except for e-reserves). Behind the scenes you will find the same staff activities as at the larger libraries; binding, stack maintenance, student training, basic technical services (cataloging is done at Magrath) and other non-IADS activities. The only difference is one person, myself, fills all of these functions; and even though I do all of this IADS work, my position and the library are actually positioned in AP (Academic Programs).

~ Submitted by Laura Wiegand, Library Assistant III, Head of Plant Pathology Library, May 2006

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Circulation category.

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