background image
for computers, barcode scanners, barcodes, and other hardware. Additional budgeting had
to be carried out due to the fact that, as is standard among ASPs, SIRSI.net charges
annually by user, with the Library paying a base annual fee and then a fee for each of the
three user licences.These three licences are spread among three full-time and one part-
time members of staff, and ten student workers and interns, each of whom dedicated one
day per week to the project over two full semesters. Distinct staff roles were kept to a
minimum for the development and rollout of the automation system. Essentially Covert
acted as the Library contact/systems librarian and as the IT database person, with a
lawyer being drafted in to look over the contract before it was signed, as well as a con-
sultant from Sirsi who guided the staff through the initial phases of the rollout. A staff
trainer came in to the Library for a week-long training course, and after that the staff were
able to call Sirsi's helpdesk with issues as they arose. Help manuals were provided in
paper and online formats, and divided by subject area. As this was the Library's first auto-
mated system, its impact on the staff was significant, but difficulties were minimised by
learning from the experiences of other comparable libraries.
Since the first professional librarian was hired to run the Library in 1981, the Library
has catalogued using OCLC, therefore all modern records were available electronically.
Prior to this, all records remained in paper format.The staff found some difficulties
adjusting to format differences between the OCLC system and that of the ASP. Many
records had an unnecessary double bar in the title field, and, while this did not affect
searching, it was considered unsightly. A report was run which detailed the offending
records, and the staff were able to fix it. Diacritics were also not displaying correctly, and
since the Library has many foreign-language publications fixing this was considered
very high priority.The problem was solved using a special overlay from the vendor.
Another problem arose once the records were loaded.The staff realised that stack locations
had not been included on the OCLC records, but using the computerised system they
were then able to run reports for where books were located, and correct these records
manually.
Overall, the implementation of ASP technologies has been very successful in the work
of the Library. Rollout has set an example for colleagues both inside and outside the instit-
ution, and administrators indicating how fast the staff were able to get the system up and
running, and how cost efficient it is.With the benefit of hindsight, Covert feels that she
would have hired people to do the barcoding so that it could have been done in teams and
faster with fewer mistakes, less training, and with the ability to correct records. More pre-
paratory and ongoing training for the staff is something that may also have been beneficial.
In terms of cost benefits, it will take many years of renting to equal the cost of buying
a system outright.The biggest cost savings is in staff, and no additional Library or IT staff
have been required although a stable Internet connection must be maintained! While the
introduction of ASP did mean new responsibilities for the Library staff, there was no addi-
tional pressure placed on IT people.
Future plans for technological development,
specifically in relation to the ASP, include moving
away from slides and towards digital images.To
this end, the staff are looking into the possibility
of renting digital imaging software to search and
project these images. No formal evaluation has
been carried out on the new system, but infor-
mal evaluation has been positive.The staff main-
The Application
Service Model
31
Staff software at the Corcoran
Cor
cor
an
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