IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: L7/P5

Your WebPac: Not Just a Catalog Anymore

Celeste Feather, Assoc. Librarian for Public Services, Univ. of Connecticut Law Library

Elisabeth Umpleby, Access Services Librarian, Univ. of Connecticut Law Library
Elizabeth Swift, Systems Librarian, Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Birmingham Alabama

Celeste began the session by talking about how automated systems are purchased to support existing systems. The phrase "online card catalog" does an injustice to our Web OPACs. Our "online catalogs" will have to become something else in order to survive. Celeste also noted that we have to change our user's expectations regarding what they will find in the WebPac. Today's "online catalogs" provide access to far more materials and media than books.

Elisabeth Umpleby began her portion of the presentation by giving a brief synopsis of the UC Law Library environment. The Law program currently has about 600 graduate students, and 50 faculty. The Law school/library is geographically isolated from the rest of the campus. The Law Library, which has 30 staff members, began their WebPac about one and a-half years ago. Recently they have turned on "view your own circulation record" and faculty are allowed to use the "request an item" function.

UC Law Library looked at a number of ways to "market" the new services offered by their WebPac. Flyers were produced for the above two services and they are now advertising that items can be renewed via the "view your own circulation record". Other things such as requesting/recalling items, marking and exporting records, email notifications, and saving preferred searches (My Millennium) are being marketed.

Elisabeth noted two key areas:

Identify the Issues:

Identify the target audiences:

For staff UC Law provides demos of new features for all staff and focuses on how the new features will help staff in their jobs. They have found it's necessary to be a cheerleader for the new features and to be ready to offer support. If necessary "browbeat them with a smile".

UC Law used National Library week to provide a splashy introduction of the new features to faculty and students. Colorful advertisements were placed in mailboxes. Presentations were made at a faculty luncheon and in-office training was provided by the library liaisons. With faculty the personal approach works best.

Mass advertising via email "flyers" and web announcements were used for students. Small groups of students were targeted (study carrel students, writing classes, etc.). Librarians incorporated new services into classes. Web pages were modified/updated, user documentation was created, and staff were on the lookout for teachable moments at the service desks.

Elisabeth reported that overall staff like the new features. Faculty like the current awareness and new acquisition lists. Students like the renewal and recall features the best.

Elisabeth summarized by stating there needs to be administration support for the marketing program. Staff need to "buy into" the new features/services. It's imperative that the library identify the target audience(s) and the library and staff must be willing to continue the commitment to training and educating the target audience(s).

Elizabeth gave a brief synopsis of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) environment. The JCLC is comprised of twenty-two entities including 20 municipal public libraries, 45 physical locations, one high school library and one special library. They have 584283 bib records, 118,806 authority records, 1,763,269 item records and 334,029 patron records.

At present they are still debating whether to allow patrons to change/update their own patron records (address, phone, e-mail address, etc.). The My Millennium "staff mode" has been turned on for staff so they can see the staff web mode for bib and item records. Patrons are allowed to save 10 preferred searches via My Millennium.

JCLC does not have a marketing program at this time. Patrons are discovering new features/services on their own. Thus far patrons like having email notification and being able to renew items online. Online renewals have grown from about 1,000 renewals in October 1997 to over 7,000 in April 2001.

Keven Riggle, Marquette University Libraries