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Member stories

Viterbo University reduces clicks in new workflow with OCLC WorldShare™ Management Services

Located in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Viterbo is a Catholic Franciscan institution. Viterbo University's Todd Wehr Memorial Library has 9.125 FTE managing its resources and serving the student population.

Viterbo University Library

When I started at Viterbo University in late March 2010, we began exploring ways we could better organize the library to continue moving forward and meeting our patrons' needs. We have a small staff and we wear many hats, so that means we are always looking for ways to increase efficiencies. We assessed all of our resources, services and processes, and then created the library's first strategic plan. In that plan was evaluating our options for enhancing the organization and discovery of our resources.

Gretel Stock-Kupperman

Gretel Stock-Kupperman
Director, Todd Wehr
Memorial Library,
Viterbo University

Beginning with the basics

In early 2011, I attended an OCLC WorldShare Management Services event at the ALA Midwinter conference, which included a demo. What really blew me away was that finding an item through WorldShare Management Services—which uses WorldCat as its foundation—selecting it, ordering it, receiving it and cataloging it, took a matter of three or four clicks. The speed of work in OCLC WorldShare Management Services versus our existing system was staggering in comparison. The fact that our cataloging backlog was the equivalent of two years of work for one staff member made it that much more appealing.

Back at the library, our team had a long, tough, but good conversation about what it would mean to be an early adopter of evolving, cutting-edge technology, and the incredible opportunity and responsibility this would afford. We were truly impressed by what we discovered during our selection process of OCLC WorldShare Management Services. We put it through the paces, and cost, features and support stood out more strongly than alternative systems.

Dealing with data

When we began the cohort process—learning and sharing with other libraries that were in the same phase of implementation—our greatest barrier during the migration was our data. We had three systems’ worth of data that had never been systematically addressed. With WorldShare Management Services, you will know exactly what your data looks like, and it will be squeaky clean by the time you migrate. While this set us back about a month, looking back, the fact that the migration process began in mid-May 2011 and ended October 1, 2011 is amazing.

Going with the workflow

Taking advantage of WorldShare Management Services’ new workflows is where the most fundamental shifts have occurred for our team. We had thousands of items backlogged, because we didn’t have the staff resources to keep up with our purchases and grant-funded items. Because WorldShare Management Services’ acquisitions and discovery increased efficiencies, we found that we were working through this backlog and adding items to our catalog much more quickly. We were adding holdings to the record on the fly with four or five steps fewer than our previous process. Our reference librarians, who also serve as our collection development specialists, are now making selections using WorldCat instead of an acquisitions staff member interpreting spreadsheets, notes, and emails. This has reduced a number of steps and ensures that the correct item, format and price are ordered.

We have cut our cataloging time to about a quarter of what it was, and our selection process has been cut easily in half. Also, as a result, our cataloger and acquisitions specialist have been able to bring their expertise forward to the front desk and to users. It has been amazing to have those folks at the front desk, since they have the most detailed knowledge of our collections and how they are organized.

The biggest gift that OCLC WorldShare Management Services has given us is that it saved us time in a staff-constrained environment.

A seamless experience for our users

When we went “live” in October 2011, our students weren’t prepared for having the power to search our print holdings, article databases and electronic holdings all in one place. That’s where the end-user transformation began. At the reference desk, we began teaching students how to discern the value of the search results, versus where to click and which silo to search. This opened their eyes to the extent of materials we have and how they could conduct their research more effectively. We also literally moved from 1996 to 2012 in our public view, and we now have a search interface that looks like a modern search engine.  Needless to say, our users have whole-heartedly embraced this change.

Overall, our team now plays a more consultative role with our faculty and students. It has been so exciting to see strengths and skills in individuals expressed in new and valuable ways. With WorldShare, we are now driving the workflow—we are making decisions about how we’d like to operate.

Are you ready?

The three most important questions that I would like librarians who are currently considering WorldShare Management Services to think about are:

  • Are you ready to live in an environment of change? This is an important mindset, because you will be engaged and vocal about what you want and need. Instead of being driven by a system, you will be driving the system based on your unique needs. We have shared our feedback in order to make this the best service it can be, and roughly 30 to 40 percent of the changes made to WorldCat Management Services have resulted from member feedback. 
  • Are you ready for your collection to be discovered? While this has proven to be a great thing for our users, we have also realized the extent to which some of our outdated materials, such as our medical journals, need to be weeded. They just weren’t being discovered previously, and we didn’t have a process in place to conduct this level of weeding.
  • Are you ready to question everything? Are you ready to ask the tough questions about why your library does things in certain ways? And are you willing to review all your processes and start at a point of asking questions, as opposed to starting from the point of what does this system make us do?

About Gretel Stock-Kupperman

Gretel is currently the Director of the Todd Wehr Memorial Library at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She received her Masters in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and her Masters in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University.  Prior to Viterbo, she was the Director of Member Services at the Metropolitan Library System in Illinois, consulting with libraries in corporate, academic, special and school libraries.

(2012 07 18)


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