Emeryville, CA—Innovative Interfaces announced today the launch of Patron Ratings, a new Millennium feature that allows patrons to become active participants in digital libraries. Patron Ratings will allow library users to weigh in on the books and media they like best and also see what their community thinks of particular items in the library's collection. "Community features have emerged as a staple of Internet usage," says Innovative Product Manager Dinah Sanders. "It is the nature of people to not only want to 'surf the Net' but also contribute to it, annotate it, and participate in groups involving films, music, or any conceivable common interest. Now the library becomes another destination in the social world of the Internet."
Innovative library patrons already have access to My Millennium, a suite of patron empowerment features that allow them to be alerted about interesting materials, pay fines online, place holds, and track their reading history. Patron Ratings takes this interactivity a step further. This spring, Westerville Public Library (Ohio) became the first library to install this integrated community feature. Kristen Hewitt, Manager of Support Services at Westerville says, "Patron Ratings gets patrons more involved and introduces them to all the things they can do to their accounts in the library, such as setting email alerts and paying fines."
The Innovative development team examined existing community features like the ones used on Netflix, Yahoo Movies, and Amazon.com to see what could be learned about bringing community features to the online catalog. They decided on a system where signed-in library users would assign one to five stars to items in the online catalog to indicate their opinion. A simple scale, rather than comments, makes moderation by library staff unnecessary. In addition, since a user can only assign one rating to any particular item, there is no chance of skewed results. Users can also keep track of their favorite (and least favorite) items in their patron record and can change their ratings at any time. Changes made to ratings are reflected in the catalog in real-time.
Patron Ratings is available as a optional enhancement in Millennium 2005 scheduled for release mid-year.
For over 25 years, Innovative Interfaces has dedicated its energies to meeting the needs of libraries and the challenges of library automation. Core to this mission are trusted products such as the Millennium integrated library management platform, INN-Reach next-generation resource sharing, the Symposia digital repository, and Electronic Resource Management. Today, thousands of libraries of all types in over 40 countries rely on Innovative's products, services, and support. The company is located in Emeryville, California with offices around the world.