South Yorkshire has a new college formed by the merger of the old Rotherham College of Art and Technology (RCAT) and Rother Valley Colleges. The merger was given the go-ahead on 1st August and has already opened its doors for the new term.
The new college will provide a wider range of courses and better facilities for students in South Yorkshire and will play a big part in providing lifelong learning opportunities, driving regeneration and filling skills gaps in the region.
Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (www.rotherham.ac.uk) selected FDI's OLIB7 library management system to develop library services to meet the needs of an expanding choice of learning opportunities. The merged library service serves two campuses and has a stock consisting of 40,000 physical items plus a growing number of JISC-funded and other e-resources.
OLIB7 has proven itself successful in multi-site college environments, and FDI's expertise of college library services, enable the college to complete the implementation of the new system in just two months. Building on the OLIB7 implementation at the Rother Valley Campus, library and IT staff completed a data conversion from Heritage, onsite training, and a system upgrade in time to go live for the new Autumn 2004 term.
The college is implementing a suite of OLIB7 management modules, in conjunction with the latest version of OLIB7's Web OPAC to broaden student and staff access. Library staff are developing ways of using the advanced features of the Web OPAC, which will enable them to better package information for students and deliver new information services, across both campuses and to remote and part-time learners.
Colin Taylor, Head of Unit, Learning Centre, explains, “The new college intends to develop new media and information pathways, to support the delivery of flexible learning. With student expectation growing, it is important that our new Web OPAC is more than just a catalogue online. OLIB7's OPAC enables the library team to deliver a library services portal, which will in turn act as a marketing tool for the rest of the service.”
Student expectations about the availability of information continues to grow, however the range of tools that have credibility with this group is often limited to the mainstream web search engines. As a result, library staff at the college are in the process of promoting the value and ease of use library services to students, and reinforcing the message that the library add quality to the information they make available. The college recognised features within OLIB7 that would assist this process including; OLIB7's ability to deliver a mix of print and e-resources within a single service, promote online acquisitions and reading lists via the intranet and integrate management and delivery of useful websites within an environment of quality information provision.
Colin concludes, “With OLIB7 we are getting so much more for our money. This will enable the system to grow and develop as the new college develops, making it the centre point of our new library services."
About Fretwell-Downing Informatics
Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI) has a long history of supplying leading-edge information management solutions to over 200 organisations worldwide. FDI operates from its headquarters in the UK with a US subsidiary, Fretwell-Downing Inc., in North America plus additional offices in Australia and Europe. FDI's experience has resulted in a suite of well-designed, proven solutions for the library, information and e-government markets. Solutions available include single search environments, information portals, library management, resource sharing & document delivery and data publishing. A strong software development team and a commitment to interoperability and open standards underpin the company's freedom by design philosophy. This enables FDI components to be built into a total solution or integrated alongside existing technologies.