The meeting consisted of discussion of two major upcoming changes to the Request Service: User Initiated Holds, and Web Document Delivery.
This service is currently proposed to begin at the start of the Fall semester.
The members of the group expressed concern about the timeframe for the start of User Initiated Holds. Due to frozen staff lines and early retirement, many RRS staff lines are vacant, or existing RRS staff have taken on additional responsibilities. The beginning of the Fall semester is a busy time, due to the large number of new university students, the need to education new patrons, and the training of new student workers.
A particular concern was the ability to balance these responsibilities and changes with the addition work of Ask a Librarian. It was suggested that RRS staff might be excused from Ask a Librarian duties while adapting to these new procedures.
Prior to adoption of this service, RRS staff at each location (including Camden and Dana) will need documentation and training. Documentation should include a manual, FAQ list, glossary of terms, and guide to the various reports used in this service. These will need to be developed very quickly if we are to meet the proposed start date for this service. The switch to User Initiated Holds will invalidate almost all existing documentation and training. Concerns were expressed regarding our ability to develop this training and documentation in a three or four week time frame.
A major concern is the added task of canceling same-library and same-campus holds that appear on the pull holds list. This may be work-intensive, particularly if the “Remove user hold” command is the only way to remove title level holds. This command, which displays all the holds for a user, allows room for error – for example, the potential to remove the wrong hold.
A major part of any RRS training will be educating staff on the use of reports – viewing, removing, sorting, formatting, printing, etc – particularly in locations that are new to using reports. Very clear and specific terms should be developed for each of the three/four reports used in this service.
Patrons will not receive detailed replies explaining why their holds are unfulfilled (for same-library, same-campus, pulled for reserves, etc.) This may, in turn, lead to more inquiries about unfilled requests via Ask a Librarian.
What will be the limits on the holds queue – that is, how many holds can be placed on the same item? How long will they last? How will we handle copy level holds on lost-paid or lost- replaced items?
How will WorkFlows assign the pull list for items with multiple copies? If it favors certainly locatons (alphabetically, for instance) does that place an unfair burden on specific locations?
Will existing holds, particularly ones that have been in the system for some time, properly carry over to the new service?
Patrons and staff will need advance knowledge of the changes that are taking place in the service, particularly due to the scope of the changes to the service. Returning patrons in particular will need to learn to initiate and track requests differently.
We need to develop standard replies for Ask a Librarian staff regarding the changes to the service. Also, will user-initiated-holds questions be answered by circulation staff or systems staff?
This service, as it is not dependant upon major changes to WorkFlows or additional downtime, is not currently slated to begin at the start of the Fall semester.
This service, as currently proposed, will work as follows: Patrons will request articles using a similar form to the current one (although required fields for deposit account numbers and campus affiliation are being considered). RRS staff may need to verify each request against a master list of deposit account balances before filling the request. If verified, they will scan articles and either post them online, or forward to ILS to be posted online, for patrons to view via the web. The request will be marked filled, and RRS staff will include the number of pages in the “note” field. Imaging services staff will receive a report of all filled requests each day, including the note regarding number of pages. Patron deposit accounts will be deducted by Imaging Services accordingly: $5.00 per article, with an additional 25 cents per page beyond 30.
Concerns about checking/verifying deposit account balances. Do all locations have access to the t: drive? What if time delays occur, resulting in overdrafts of deposit accounts? Will deposit account overdrafts ever be carried over to WorkFlows as bills or notes? Where and when can patrons pay these overdrafts, or add to their deposit accounts, allowing them to request articles again? Will this be a concern on nights and weekends, when copy centers may be closed?
Will there be a way for patrons to set up deposit accounts remotely?
Also many concerns about difference in pricing scheme between NB and other campuses. If this is not made clear, there may be some confusion. If it is made clear, patrons may abuse this to obtain free articles – unless some system for campus verification can be designed. But would that add significantly to RRS workload?
Ask a Librarian AND Circulation staff will need to be prepared with answers to common questions relating to retrieval, charges, etc.
Noted that patrons will be charged merely for having a request filled, rather than picking it up; this is a change from the current system.
Concerns were expressed about the size of scanned articles. Will they need to be broken down into smaller sections, as reserves are now? This is a particular concern if we do away with page limits. Will the servers have enough room for articles, especially during busy times?
Concerns were expressed that occasional or one-time users of the service, particularly undergrads, may be hesitant to set up deposit accounts.
The online RRS manual is now available via the New Brunswick access page (click on “Access Services,” then “RRS,” then “Documentation.”)
Next Meeting - The next meeting of the RRS functional group is currently scheduled for Tuesday, August 13th, at 2:00pm; time and date may change to accommodate additional testing and training sessions for user initiated holds if necessary.