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Sandy Westall, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
Nancy Nathanson, Orbis
Brian Moore, San Diego State University

The first part of this two-part INN-Reach presentation covered the features and capabilities of the system. This part was a panel presentation on INN-Reach implementation and usage patterns at different sites. The INN-Reach program allows multiple sites to build a common database and patrons to request items with the software transferring the information to the local site.

Brian Moore reported that San Diego State University belongs to two separate INN-Reach systems, The Circuit (San Diego Library Consortium) and CSUlink, (six other California universities). Adoption of a logo was the most important part of the implementation plan. This excites interest and is useful for publicity. It is important to focus on answering questions, such as why, who, what, where, how, when, how long, how many, how much, access, and pick-up information. For CSUlink there was limited state-wide publicity, with the emphasis on each campus handling the local publicity. The approach was intentionally low-key. The Circuit, because of the close proximity of the libraries, used local print and radio media for publicity. This publicity stressed the advantages of The Circuit and the slogan “In by 10:00 out by 3:00”.

It took 32 weeks to bring up the Orbis system, with adoption of a logo one of the first actions according to Nancy Nathanson. The implementation challenge was to design something new, to look at libraries in a different way. It began simultaneously at seven sites in an intentionally quiet manner. The first public announcement came about seven days later. It now includes two states with a possibility of one more joining.

After implementation, the challenge was to meet the expectations of a very popular system. A three-week loan period for all patron types is offered with a 48-hour turnaround.

There are two overarching themes of operating a system like this. First, some conformity and uniformity is required, whether by general agreement or mandates. Each individual library’s experience will differ depending on the location situation (staff, size, programs, etc.) Second, being part of this type of system does change the existing decision-making procedures and communication lines and makes it difficult to use local work-arounds. At the same time, it opens new opportunities for staff and patrons.

Sandy Westall reported there are currently four INN-Reach systems. Implementation typically starts with a core group of libraries, then adds new members as time goes on. Training of staff and patrons is an important component of implementation. The interlibrary loan feature is turned on soon after loading records to the central site, with training involving an experienced site and the new site. A new site will typically lend more than it borrows. The staffing and space needed must be considered. Early in the implementation phase basic decisions need to be made by all sites regarding the loan period and fines.

The size of the combined catalog is difficult to predict because the diversity of the contributions will determine how many unique titles are included. The advantage to patrons is the vastly increased number of items available to them. The statistics for “fill rates” for items requested run at 80%-90% because only “available” items may be requested. It is important to have each library make the commitment to a quick turnaround time for the loans in order to fulfill the patrons’ expectations.

Recorded by: Jill Williams, Cleveland State University

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