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Determining terminal require-ments for online catalogs

Library Systems Newsletter [January 1986]

In LSN Vol. V. No. 3 we discussed "rules of thumb" for determining the number of terminals required to handle different levels of activity on a multi-function integrated automated library system. Among the functions discussed was the online patron access catalog for which the guideline cited was one terminal for every 100-200 patrons entering the library in a day. (In the experience of the Editors, this approach yields more reliable esti-mates than formulae based upon multiples of the number of circulation terminals or counts of card catalog users.)

A somewhat more precise equation can be stated as one terminal per 150 50 patrons entering the library in the course of a day. Public libraries which support primarily popular reading and which have no dramatic peaks and valleys in their activity can meet their needs with one terminal per 200 patrons. Libraries which support research and which have activity peaks which are three or more times the average are likely to require one terminal per 100 patrons. In order to allow some flexibility, it may be advisable to "size" the system to support one terminal per 100 or 150 patrons, but to actually install terminals initially on the 1 to 150 or 1 to 200 ratio.

Libraries that use turnstiles with counters can use those counts to determine daily attendance. However, if staff uses these same turnstiles, the counts must be lowered accordingly.

Libraries which have no data should collect information for a period of at least four months. These data can be collected using a sampling technique. The following schedules can be used for estimating average daily attendance over a four month period, assuming that the library is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Similar schedules can be devised for libraries with longer or shorter hours of operation.

MONTH ONE Week One

Monday 9 AM - 10 AM
Tuesday 10 AM - 11 AM
Wednesday 11 AM - 12 PM
Thursday 12 PM - 1 PM
Friday 1 PM - 2 PM
Saturday 2 PM - 3 PM
Sunday 3 PM - 4 PM
MONTH ONE Week Three
Monday 4 PM - 5 PM
Tuesday 5 PM - 5 PM
Wednesday 6 PM AM - 7 PM
Thursday 7PM - 8 PM
Friday 8 PM - 9 PM
Saturday 9 PM - 10 PM
Sunday 10 PM - 11 PM
MONTH ONE Week Two
Monday 9 AM - 10 AM
Tuesday 10 AM - 11 AM
Wednesday 11 AM - 12 PM
Thursday 12 PM - 1 PM
Friday 1 PM - 2 PM
Saturday 2 PM - 3 PM
Sunday 3 PM - 4 PM
MONTH TWO Week Four
Monday 4 PM - 5 PM
Tuesday 5 PM - 5 PM
Wednesday 6 PM AM - 7 PM
Thursday 7PM - 8 PM
Friday 8 PM - 9 PM
Saturday 9 PM - 10 PM
Sunday 10 PM - 11 PM
MONTH THREE Week One
Monday 4 PM - 5 PM
Tuesday 5 PM - 5 PM
Wednesday 6 PM AM - 7 PM
Thursday 7PM - 8 PM
Friday 8 PM - 9 PM
Saturday 9 PM - 10 PM
Sunday 10 PM - 11 PM
MONTH THREE Week Three
Monday 9 AM - 10 AM
Tuesday 10 AM - 11 AM
Wednesday 11 AM - 12 PM
Thursday 12 PM - 1 PM
Friday 1 PM - 2 PM
Saturday 2 PM - 3 PM
Sunday 3 PM - 4 PM
MONTH FOUR Week Two
Monday 4 PM - 5 PM
Tuesday 5 PM - 5 PM
Wednesday 6 PM AM - 7 PM
Thursday 7PM - 8 PM
Friday 8 PM - 9 PM
Saturday 9 PM - 10 PM
Sunday 10 PM - 11 PM
MONTH FOUR Week Four
Monday 9 AM - 10 AM
Tuesday 10 AM - 11 AM
Wednesday 11 AM - 12 PM
Thursday 12 PM - 1 PM
Friday 1 PM - 2 PM
Saturday 2 PM - 3 PM
Sunday 3 PM - 4 PM
When the figures have been gathered and totaled, the sum is divided by four. This dividend represents the average daily attendance for the four month period. This approach requires that a count be taken only one hour a day for two weeks each month, yet provides a reliable picture of use.

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Publication Year:1986
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 6 Number 01
Issue:January 1986
Page(s):3-5
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Terminals
ISSN:0277-0288
Record Number:4194
Last Update:2022-05-26 13:14:20
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00
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