There's a cloud forming over the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, forecasting reined-in savings and a silver lining of streamlined services for Library operations and users.
This August, the Killam Library transitions to a Cloud-based Integrated Library System, becoming the first In Laredo to do so and only the second Texas A&M University System campus to be at the forefront of fast-developing library digital service standards.
The "Cloud" is the term given to a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal computers handle applications. These applications exist off site in the so-called Cloud and are delivered to the end user through the Internet.
Library Director Doug Ferrier explained the University's rationale for the move.
"We've decided to make the move to a Cloud service because we wanted to give our users a much better experience without deploying more and more tools that have cost, managerial and workflow impacts. By migrating to a Cloud-based platform, the Killam Library's services costs will be substantially reduced while services will be vastly improved, especially in the areas of search and research," Ferrier explained.
The Killam Library will be using the WorldShare Management System (WMS), a Cloud-based suite of integrated library management applications providing flexible, open access to library data, developed and operated by OCLC. At the Killam Library, it will eliminate time-consuming processes and increase access to materials around the world.
The change to the Cloud platform offered by WMS will help the Killam Library streamline acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, database license management, and offer a next-generation discovery and delivery tool for Library users whose search habits change constantly.
Ferrier offered an example.
"For example, if we look specifically at a traditional acquisition scenario, we are looking at manual data input to a number of different suppliers, but utilizing WMS allows us to select metadata that carries out the entire process in one operation.
Among other capabilities Killam Library users can expect:
- Google-like searching which delivers content from the Library (print and content from most subscription databases) and the world's library collections,
- Citation creation for many formats, and mobile interfacing, and citation creations for many formats, such as EndNotes and RefWorks.
- Social networking including user-contributed reviews, ratings, lists, tags, integration with Facebook, dig, etc.
- Integration with Interlibrary Loan services (ILL) which makes it easier for users to locate and request materials from other libraries.
Ferrier said projected savings accompany the service benefits of the transition as well.
"We hope to realize a savings of about $20,000 per year in related savings in time, maintenance and updates, " he noted.
"In short, transition to a Cloud-based platform with OCLC will allow staff to better manage information and not manage technology, and it will provide users with a singular, robust and global Library experience not previously available, he concluded.
While the Library is completing its transition, both current and new system will be in place. The full transition to the WMS suite of services is expected to be complete by August 31, 2014.
The Killam Library houses more than 313,030 bound volumes, 819,599 microfiche and microfilm and over 200,000 ebooks. Library users have access to 1,255 print subscriptions and approximately 58,000 electronic journals in full text or full image.
A variety of resource-sharing, joint databases, library networks and collections are available. The Library also belongs to a consortium of other Texas A&M University System libraries. Its services are available to all faculty, students and staff and visitor access is possible.