v31#6 Collection Management Matters — BFF: Collaborative Partnerships of Collection Management and Systems Librarians

by | Feb 28, 2020 | 0 comments

by Xuemei Ge  (Systems/Metadata Librarian, Tennessee State University) 

Column Editor:  Glenda Alvin  (Associate Professor, Assistant Director for Collection Management and Administration, Head, Acquisitions and Serials, Brown-Daniel Library, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209;  Phone: 615-963-5230; Fax: 615-963-1368)

Collection Management Librarians and Systems Librarians work together to provide much of the technological functionality required for innovation and enhancement.  Most often, the projects that Collection Management needs to make operational are facilitated with the expertise that comes from the Systems. Collection Management projects and initiatives are supported by the Systems Department.  The two departments have an ongoing partnership to bring about change in resources and delivery of services to the library’s clientele. One cannot advance the mission of the library to provide resources to support the curriculum without the other, therefore they need be Best Friends Forever (BFF).

As the Systems and Metadata Librarian at the Brown-Daniel Library at Tennessee State University, an urban HBCU in Nashville, I supervise the implementation, operation, integration, enhancement, and customization/configuration of Innovative Interfaces’ Sierra ILS and its applications.  This includes introducing new software releases and improvements, revision of work procedures, and training the library staff.  I am the first person to call on to update system settings and tables, to resolve ILS performance issues, and to consult about implementation and utilization of system upgrades and advanced features.  When off campus patrons have issues with access to the databases or ejournals, I debug and repair the URLs, as well as troubleshoot database errors reported by the library staff and patrons. My department of one manages the Electronic Resources Management (ERM) coverage loads and MARC records for e-journals, eBooks, streaming videos, sound recordings, and electronic theses and dissertations.  Other assignments include database clean up with the goal of insuring the integration and web accessibility of all library electronic resources and coordinating assessment and statistical reporting on system operations for circulation, collections, and other requirements.

In collaboration with the Assistant Director for Collection Management, I completed various implementations, hardware upgrades, and enhancements for better user experiences and services.  We worked together to implement the library’s discovery layers, first Encore, and now EBSCO EDS.  We also teamed up on transferring our A-Z list of journals available in databases from Serials Solutions (360 Core and 360 MARC Updates) to EBSCO A-Z and their MARC records service.  Teamwork is needed for making sure the coverage load is functioning properly.  After many failed attempts to link Google Scholar with our link resolver, I linked Google Scholar with EBSCO’s Publication Finder and provided our library patron a one-stop shop for articles. 

When troubleshooting is needed to resolve electronic resources access problems, the Systems Librarian will work closely with vendor technical support and university IT Department to resolve technical and performance issues for cataloging, acquisitions, and serials.  I catalog databases and websites that are selected by the Acquisitions and Serials Department and have a presence on the admin accounts for EBSCO, ProQuest, Elsevier and other database vendors to help resolve problems.

My job plays a pivotal role in bringing new products to the library that enhance and support the delivery of services ordered by Acquisitions and Serials Department such as Get It Now and BrowZine.  I also set up and troubleshoot the vendors for our FTP ordering and receiving of invoices from Sierra. The Acquisitions and Serials department used to count serials check-ins manually, but I came to their aid by creating a way to count the monthly check-in for journals, newspapers and newsletters, and standing orders by using the “Create List” feature in Millennium.  Another innovation was creating a New Books Lists for the library’s homepage, which announces monthly additions to the Sierra catalog, providing the university community with notification of the most-recent content added to our collection. The New Books List categories were recently revised and expanded to align with academic majors, instead of just broad subjects. To promote Tennessee State University authors and faculty research, my department implemented the “Digital Bookplate” which places a permanent link in the OPAC record with biographical information about the TSU author.  Along with the bookplates, I maintain the “Spotlights on Tennessee State University Authors” web page.  Another area of collaboration is inventory projects which require that Circulation, Collection Management and Systems work together and make procedural decisions for the former inventory software Circa and now for the new tool, Mobile Worklists.  I drafted the inventory procedures that we intend to use with Mobile Worklists. The inventory enriches and improves the quality of the database, and provides the library with more accurate records of the library holdings in the online catalog for our users. 

The library’s digital research repository, Digital Scholarship @ Tennessee State University, is one of my major responsibilities and I am working with Collection Management and Special Collections to transfer much of our digitized university archives, such as yearbooks and commencement programs.  The repository provides opportunities for departmental, college/school and university publications, including the University’s journals. I coordinated and finished the set-up, design and customization of the repository, which included producing three electronic journal structures:  The Journal of Tennessee State University, Sketches: The Online Creative Arts Journal of Tennessee State University and Annals of Management Science.  I manage and upload the content for the four divisions of information in the Digital Scholarship: electronic theses and dissertations of the university, research papers for the faculty and students for different departments and units, all available issues for these electronic journals, and university archives.  So far, more than 2,000 items have been uploaded into the repository. The editors of Sketches: The Online Creative Arts Journal of Tennessee State University are planning to bring in more artwork and video and/or audio recordings of spoken-word performances in a multimedia format. 

When university programs undergo reaffirmation for accreditation or academic program reviews, a representative from these areas, usually the Department Chair, customarily requests reports on the library holdings for their programs.  I create reports on print, serial, media and electronic resources in their subject scholarship.

Over the years, in collaboration with the Assistant Director for the Collection Management, I have managed multiple software releases and hardware upgrades, and implementations.  During the 2018/2019 fiscal year, the library went through four major migrations and significant technological changes that improved our delivery of services. We migrated from Innovative Interfaces’ (III) Encore discovery tool to EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) a new discovery layer for our catalog which incorporated BrowZine, Full Text Finder, and our institutional repository into one interface, allowing direct linking to full text articles.  It allows us to make our Research Guides, Institutional Repository, Government Documents and selected databases searchable for from one access point. Along with a “new books” carousel, it also provided a “Research Starters” and Youtube videos that were related to the topic.  We changed from III’s WebBridge to a new link resolver, “Full Text Finder,” which permits users to seamlessly link from an abstract in one databases to the full text article in another database. Additionally, I set up the Sierra Scheduler which is a tool used to update online catalog records in EBSCO EDS. 

Last year,  the library also migrated from Innovative’s IP Web Access Management (WAM) proxy authentication service to OpenAthens (OA) with “single sign-on” capability which offers off-campus users more reliable access to our resources.  Along with myself, the migration team consisted of Assistant Director for Collection Management and the Computer Specialists.  As the primary OpenAthens administrator, I will continue the ongoing maintenance and support.  As we change the databases over to the “Athenized” URLs, we have developed much improved access to our database subscriptions by switching to the Springshare platform.  Instead of having three webpages (Databases by Title, Databases by Subject, and Trial Databases), now the library features all three with annotations on one page.  Innovative Interfaces moved its Sierra System to two new service options and required its customers to purchase one of the following options:  Software Only (Hardware Migration), or Cloud-based hosting. We chose the Software Only with/Hardware Migration option. I facilitated the transition of Sierra from a turnkey to a software only site.  Now the library uses virtual servers located in the Information Technology Center to host Sierra, and continues the management and technical support for Sierra software on those servers. 

When we were advised that ILLIAD was going off into the sunset and being replaced by a new service, Tipasa, the Interlibrary Loan Librarians and I underwent extensive training and finished the migration to the new platform, ensuring that the transition was seamless and glitch free for our main and downtown campus users. 

In many cases at our library, the need to move the library forward technologically is identified by the Collection Management Department, because it is responsible for providing resources in ways that are accessible to the students, faculty and staff in the teaching/learning process.  To make these changes, it must keep a strong and productive relationship with the Systems Department, because that is where the knowledge and expertise is to make new products and innovations viable and effective. Systems and Collection Management are not just best friends because they have to communicate and frequently work together on projects.  Like most true friendships, they get along well because they share the same personal goal: providing the best services to their patrons.  

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