Planning and Implementation

Library Technology Reports, August-September 2008 | Go to article overview

Planning and Implementation


WorldCat Local provides a new service environment to the library user. Because WorldCat Local integrates a number of data sources (local library catalog, consortial library catalog, digital collections, article databases) and library services (local and consortial catalog requesting, interlibrary loan, link resolving, direct full-text linking, and online reference services), it is important to have the functional experts in all of these areas involved in planning and implementation. It is critical to have public service staff involvement from day one to support marketing and training, to provide user feedback, and to provide reference support for the new service. Because these sources and services typically cut across a number of departments, it is useful to have a senior administrator on the implementation group to facilitate any cross-departmental changes in policies and/ or local practices that might be required to best implement WorldCat Local (examples of such practices will be discussed later). OCLC requires the library to identify one person as the official contact, so in addition to the functional areas previously listed, the library should identify a well-organized project coordinator in order to assure timely communication between OCLC and the library and between various members of the implementation team. In smaller libraries, one person might be responsible for a number of these activities, and the planning and implementation group might be relatively small. If WorldCat Local is being implemented as a consortial catalog, different aspects of planning and implementation will happen at the consortial level and within the individual library.

Our approach was to identify the following functional areas and identify an individual responsible for policy and/or management in each of these areas:

* public services

* library systems, including

--link resolver/knowledge base local manager

--ILS manager/coordinator

--consortial/union catalog coordinator

--Web services manager/coordinator

* circulation and resource sharing (interlibrary loan and consortial borrowing)

* cataloging/MARC data, including

--local library's OCLC coordinator and/or service contacts

--local cataloging policy project coordinator/liaison

It is important to identify individuals who have the time to dedicate to this activity. In our case, the project coordinator is a production cataloger with other duties. During implementation, it was made clear to staff that her materials would be cataloged at a greatly reduced rate. Depending on the specific implementation issues encountered by a library, temporary shifting and/or delay of work might be necessary so that individual team members have the time available to support WorldCat Local implementation.

It is very important to establish a group e-mail address, discussion list, wiki, message board, or some other form of rapid group communication that requires the participation of all team members and allows team members to be responsive. Considering the crossfunctional nature of WorldCat Local and corresponding interdepartmental support staffing, it is crucial for all team members to support problem solving, create best practices, and develop new processes (and change existing ones) to best support service provision within the WorldCat Local environment. We found it very useful for all WorldCat Local-related reference queries to be distributed to all members of the team. The result was a more responsive service (as the query was distributed to a number of qualified staff) and a greater awareness of the user experience and system problems on the part of all team members.

Working with OCLC

As UW Libraries staff discuss our WorldCat Local implementation with others in the library community, one of the questions asked most frequently is "How long does it take to implement? …

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