Re: [ACAT] Do I need an ILS?

Posting to Autocat

On 11/03/2013 11:36, Marybeth wrote:

I am shortly to become the librarian for a new college that will have its first intake of students in August. My superiors-to-be have requested that to the extent possible, all of the library’s holdings be e-books, e-journals, licensed streaming video, etc. So I am wondering if it is necessary to invest in an ILS. Since the print titles in reference and the odd print journal will not be items that can be checked out, I could throw together a database to manage the details on those few print items and that users could access in read-only mode to locate by subject heading, call number, title, author, etc. (The library, which was designed and constructed before I was hired, has very little space for anything but the tiniest print reference collection.)

I guess it’s important to try to figure out what the ILS would be for. If your print collection is really small, browsing a well-arranged collection may be the best way of “access” for those materials, especially if it is primarily a reference collection. It has been my experience that browsing the smallest collections is where you see the real power of classification. If you consider it important to share, basic cataloging information could be put into an Excel sheet for management purposes, as you mentioned. It is then very simple to sort the sheet by author, title, and subject, and upload them in all kind of ways, as xsl sheets or pdfs or whatever format you prefer, to your library website. You can even do it using Google Docs(Drive) or Zoho to make them interactive, or there are lots of options. People could then print them out if they want. Much depends on how big your collection is.

I also assume that your patrons will use the “discovery tools” supplied by your e-material providers, and people seem to be pretty happy with those. Of course, the patrons need to be trained on how each one works, even if you do buy those “search all at once” options, but that is normal.

Setting up and maintaining an ILS is a lot of work and if it isn’t used for circulation, OPAC, or acquisitions, it is hard to see a need for it.