ILTA White Papers

The New Librarian

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I also wanted to change the classification system from Dewey Decimal to KF Modified. We also spent a good amount of time tracking down materials. Loans were tracked manually, so users had to contact the library about the availability of a particular resource if it wasn't on the shelf. The most time-consuming aspects occurred when the book was missing from the shelf and there was no sign-out card or the previous borrower did not have it anymore. This inevitably led to a mass email query and some scrambling around to find the title. Despite the limitation of the card system, I decided to keep the sign-out cards as a backup in case the online catalog went down. However, this will no longer be the primary way to check out and track books. In addition, we had a separate spreadsheet for each library process, such as checking in loose-leafs and serials, invoicing, and keeping track of materials that were placed in storage or missing. I wanted to consolidate everything in one place so we would only need to access the online library catalog to figure out the status of our materials, to track updates and to check whether a book had been ordered and paid for. I also wanted to change the classification system from Dewey Decimal to KF Modified. Some of our Dewey Decimal call numbers were so lengthy that users would have difficulty remembering them, and it was very easy to shelve materials incorrectly. I did like the Dewey concept of grouping materials based on subject matter, but the classification system was not granular enough for a 88 AALL/ILTA White Paper predominantly legal collection. Changing to KF Modified would make cataloging faster because we could replicate catalog information from the libraries of Ontario's Law Society of Upper Canada and the Osgoode Hall Law School — both of which use KF Modified. With this change, we could also introduce controlled vocabulary and authority records; the Word documents in our DMS lacked these functions. We did not have any records to migrate in the transition. We created our online catalog from scratch, so reclassification did not take much extra work. And the Winner Is… RBC went with a relatively new player in the Canadian market called Soutron — the longest-serving software supplier to special libraries in the U.K. The acquisition of the Soutron product was a collaborative decision involving three RBC libraries. Since each RBC library wanted to keep its library catalog separate, each chose to go with SoutronSOLO instead of their other product, SoutronGLOBAL. When I first saw the software in a demonstration, I was impressed with its user-friendly interface, navigation and searching. It was a step in the right direction to making the law library collection more accessible and transparent.

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