It was noted that the transition to PC Reservation has not gone smoothly at LSM. All user populations with the exception of itinerant users have complained. The many unhappy users include numerous alumni, doctors, and outside researchers such as faculty and students from other institutions. It was noted that it has created embarrassing situations for the library when patrons are told that they must complete all of their research in an hour, even if they travelled a long way to get to the library or if they were referred to LSM from their own institution's library. Telling outside faculty or visiting researchers that they have only 1 hour per day is especially problematic. As a result, LSM has changed the general public access time limit to 90 minutes.
LSM would like to make sure that PC Reservation has the ability to create user accounts with varying levels of privileges, given the variety of patrons who use the library. For example, there is a class of community users who pay an annual fee for borrowing privileges. It was noted that perhaps the $100 fee for this class of privileges is too low. Myoung noted that increasing the fee could become an income source for adding additional terminals. The next version of PC Reservation may allow us to create different classes of users regardless of which specific public computer they use.
Joe Abraham noted that the new catalog-only computer in Alex has reduced demand for the PC Reservation computers. This terminal allows users to search IRIS and view the library website, but not use databases. The terminal is a different color from the other computers in order to aid visibility and emphasize that it is different from the other terminals requiring a login. If other libraries would like to install a catalog-only terminal, they should make a request to Systems for a similar setup ASAP in order to have it completed during the coming intersession. The library would need to give up one of its existing terminals to be used as the catalog-only computer.
It was suggested that we do not know if an increase in time limit privileges for different groups of public users can be supported by the number of available PCs at various libraries. Currently if we create different categories of users, a specific bank of computers would have to be designated for each category. It was emphasized that any increase in time-limits for non-Rutgers users must not reduce the number of available terminals for Rutgers users.
It was moved that we institute a policy to extend time limits to 2 hours with the exception of UMDNJ users, who will have unlimited access. A separate bank of computers at LSM has been designated for UMDNY users. It was also moved that override exceptions to this policy should be made only in the event of technical issues. The motion passed unanimously.
It was noted at the beginning of this discussion that these are system-wide questions, but that we can discuss and make suggestions, or implement some services locally.
The results of a previous Phone Reference Task Force were discussed. It was noted that technical issues involving the phone bank proved insurmountable in the past. Making changes in the current system was cost prohibitive. Before reconsidering this suggestion, it was suggested that phone reference statistics be collected, and Tom G agreed to provide these. However, it was noted that at LSM many callers are senior faculty, and reference librarians would not want non-LSM librarians answering their calls. Jim concurred that many phone calls are questions specific to a particular library.
Improvements to chat reference were discussed. It was noted that we could increase coverage if we could have more than one librarian work each shift. It was agreed that a more sophisticated chat service would be nice so that we could learn more about our users. Different software for chat reference has been looked at by a past task force, however the other options were given bad reviews. Joe A saw a presentation about QuestionPoint, and said that the interface looked good.
It was noted that text reference was being discussed in a USC task force, so ISG did not take up discussion of this particular service.
Several people expressed concerns about current workload and the addition of more services without making sure that we have the manpower to maintain them. Myoung suggested an "open enrollment" period for Meebo and AAL services.