Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Work the System: A Report from the 2nd Annual Southeast WMS Users Group Meeting

A year ago the University Libraries migrated to a new library system, OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS).  We’ve all been learning constantly through webinars, online training, conversations with colleagues, and reading documentation. Gathering with peer institutions is another way to share what we know and learn from other users. The second Southeast WMS Users Group Meeting was held at Brenau University on June 2 & 3, 2014. I joined three colleagues – Terry Brandsma (Information Technology Librarian), Mary Jane Conger (Head of Cataloging), Cathy Griffith (Head of Access Services) – and traveled to Gainesville, Georgia, for this event that drew librarians from seven states along with representatives from OCLC. Some of the more than twenty participating institutions were early adopters that have been live for several years, others migrated more recently, and a number of the libraries were preparing to go live over the next several months. Being a cloud-based system, WMS is a single version for all users; everyone is working from the same release. That makes conversations at user group meetings much easier.

After the welcoming remarks, Andrew Pace of OCLC gave a WMS update. Attendees were particularly interested in hearing about new reporting options expected with releases over the summer. Pace noted that the system had started with only circulation and acquisitions; it has broadened to include analytics, license manager (we don’t have this add-on), interlibrary loan, and metadata. It is more complex, and installation downtimes have gotten too lengthy. OCLC is working on smaller and more focused development cycles.

Terry represented UNCG on a panel, Realizing Results. It provided librarians from three different institutions an opportunity to talk about their implementations.

During the first breakout session I joined others to talk about acquisitions issues. I took the opportunity to ask about closing out the budget, since we will be doing that for the first time in WMS on July 1. The process sounds relatively clear cut, but it helps to clean up the database and review open orders. I was able to share information on setting up fund codes and creating order templates.

Bill Forgette of OCLC discussed WorldCat Discovery Services, which libraries will transition to by spring 2015. The new mobile interface automatically adjusts to the device being used. Enhancements include known item searching and “did you mean?” [Note: Terry & Mary Jane are on the WorldCat Discovery Services Advisory Group. There is no date set for the University Libraries to make the transition; ILSC will be monitoring the status of the transition.]

OCLC hosted a reception at Brenau’s Downtown Center, which gave attendees a chance to talk informally and discuss topics of the day.

Two breakout sessions were offered Tuesday morning. I attended the discussion on serials. Some libraries do not receive print issues, while others feel that it is important to continue that activity for auditing purposes. The number of print title subscriptions is going down at all libraries, as is expected. OCLC will not develop a full-blown binding module, but they will likely incorporate some new options such as making it possible to collapse issues to create a volume in summary holdings. Claiming features are a focus of the June upgrade. The second session focused on acquisitions procedures and solutions to particular challenges.

A reports and analytics demonstration was offered by Sara Randall of OCLC via WebEx. The goal is to offer a single place – a data warehouse of statistics – to run predefined and user authored reports. Additional circulation stats will be available this summer, and additional acquisitions reports will be included in the subsequent release. OCLC is developing pricing for the report authoring tool, which will use a drag and drop interface for creating reports.

The third breakout session I attended was focused on cataloging and Records Manager. A librarian from an early adopter institution suggested that an audit of workflows would be helpful. There are multiple updates each year, and early workarounds may still be in use. He thought it would be helpful for OCLC or some other external auditors to review library workflows to recommend how new features from interim updates could be incorporated. A general suggestion was for staff to review release notes for each update cycle and be willing to change workflows to take advantage of improvements. OCLC encouraged staff to provide feedback to the User Support Center, explaining what problem a change to the system will help to solve, describing how it will save staff time, and outlining the problem without stating exactly what the solution is.

The conversation with other WMS users and with OCLC staff made this a valuable meeting. The library staff of Brenau University were wonderful hosts.

1 comment:

Steve Cramer said...

Christine, thank you for this summary. Very interesting. I'm glad to hear that OCLC is sponsoring regional users groups like this one.