The Technical Services Core Working Group (TSCWG) agreed on some basic principles that define distributed technical services and a working principle so that the services can be evaluated for their effectiveness and efficiency.
TSCWG will consider Distributed Technical Services as services requiring technical applications that flow from one location to another to be completed. These services require a full understanding of one operation which leads to the next and they require an established communication that allows for the workflow to have a continuum to completion.
The distribution can be from campus to campus, from department to department or be intradepartmental. Where the same technical services are performed in two locations, the process and the standards for that process should be consistent and be documented. The standards and the process should take into consideration necessary unique requirements of the locale for which the work is being done.
TSCWG has begun to evaluate technical services performed in all locales. They are determining what triggers the need for the service and the subsequent steps required for the process to be completed. As each service is evaluated a set of questions are being asked to appraise the process. Is the workflow the most efficient? Are standards established and applied? What are the expectations for this service in terms of time and completion? Can responsibilities be shifted to improve the process? What training and documentation would be required?
Members of TSCWG were advised to look at the newly established distributed technical services of the MARCIVE record processing and Serials Team order processing as models of effective and efficient workflows.
-Example of a service being evaluated:
Serial title changes require a distributed technical services sequence of actions. An evaluation of the process provoked the following considerations: How are changes detected and how is the change processed? What departments interact to note the change, modify the records and correct the holdings? Are all records simultaneously updated for all libraries holding that title? The completion of the task currently requires work from Serials Receiving staff, from Bibliographic Record Management staff, Holdings Record Management staff, Binding staff, Serial Cataloging and Acquisitions.
The recommendation: Processes for ceased publications are performed by one staff member system- wide. Upon notification of a ceased publication, that individual will electronically request holdings information from each library, they will submit one form to Serials Cataloging and they will close all holdings on the record and all purchase orders at one time. They will record the title and the holding libraries in a spreadsheet for the fiscal year and if the title is a paid subscription they will indicate monetary changes for all fund codes and inform selectors of the changes.
The advantages: This workflow streamlines ceased publication management and makes it a complete process. The staff will work with the Serials Cataloging department to comply with the necessary standards. It is possible in the future for the bibliographic work required for a ceased publication to be performed by the same staff under the guidance of the Serials Cataloging Department so that no paperwork is exchanged and there is no delay in closing holdings and orders. The advantages of this process are that a bibliographic record that has multiple library holdings will have consistent holding statements and all order records will be closed simultaneously.
-Another example of a service being evaluated: During a weeding, recon or transfer project, records are evaluated by Holdings Record Management staff at the library to perform transfers, last copy evaluation and withdrawals. Often duplicate records are uncovered. The practice had been to send copies of the duplicate records to the Database Management Department to perform record merges. In many instances the material could not be acted upon until the merge took place.
The recommendation: This process was evaluated and changes have been implemented. The Holdings Record Management staff has been given the criteria for simple merges and is performing many at the time of transfer.
The advantage: The process is completed more accurately and efficiently and the integrity of the information in IRIS is maintained.
NOTE: It took a considerable amount of time to arrive at this point.
Some categories that have been considered so far in the TSCWG evaluations are:
Some general recommendations have resulted from our initial evaluations:
Representatives of the Bibliographic Record Management and Holdings Record Management Groups at the libraries will receive routine informational communications that are sent to the Cataloging Department staff. They will also receive agendas for Cataloging Department meetings and are invited to attend any meetings that are relevant to their work. They will participate in training programs that impact their work. In addition, they will share minutes of their focus group meetings with members of TSCWG and with the Cataloging Department.
There are many more processes to be considered. Each evaluation of a process will take into consideration communication, understanding of workflow and procedures and standards. TSCWG committee members will be reaching out to all departments to participate in these evaluations.