Your Integrated Library System (ILS) – often referred to as your Library Management System – is an important tool for your school library’s current and future development. This guide details how to make your ILS work for you by playing key roles in supporting the following topics.
1. For those who have an ILS with a homepage, library staff can create a WebOPAC homepage which can provide links to:
2. Find out how to incorporate your ILS into your school’s Learning Management System (LMS) through the library presence on your school website.
3. Enable clients to locate information through the WebOPAC – allowing access to your catalogue from any web browser in the school.
4. Maximise OPAC usage by arranging with senior management and HODs for time to train staff and students in successful reading of catalogue search results. OPAC training for students and staff might include (depending on which ILS your school uses):
5. Borrower reports - use system borrower reports as evidence:
1. Use system reports to support your purchasing decisions, including information on:
NB: Ask your provider for training on how to use the full range of reporting features in your ILS, to enable you to generate reports giving more detailed information than the what the basic reports provide.
2. Stocktaking: Familiarise yourself with your system’s stocktaking processes including the post-stocktake database tidy up. See also our Stocktake guide.
Refer also to the School Library Handbook guide.
3. Consistency in data recording helps your users find all the relevant information when using an appropriate search term.
1. Use system reports to support your library advocacy through evidence such as comparison of borrowing patterns for year levels, student book reviews added to the catalogue, student suggestions reflected in new titles added to the collection.
2. Ensure you constantly update and maintain your WebOPAC homepage as this is the library’s virtual door to your staff and students.
1. Set up your system to meet your requirements (often described as ‘configuration’ or similar term). These would include circulation such as user groups, borrowing limits, and holiday issuing dates. This is often done by the system support provider, however library staff must ensure they know how to do this themselves, to facilitate future changes as required. For instance, changing class names to set up overdue book reports.
2. Data entry must be excellent and consistent, as what you enter and how well you do it impacts on how successful your catalogue will be as an information source.
3. Test your OPAC from the student searching end to ensure that vital information is appearing on first result page following a search. Can students clearly see where an item is located in the collection? For example, if you list a reference book in the ‘type’ or the ‘location’ field, it may not show on first page of OPAC search, so you may want to put REF at end of classification number.
4. Explore the system for shortcuts. For instance multiple deletes after a book deselection or weed; or changing the status of bulk books, if you shift books from one location to another.
5. Find out whether your system makes use of the Function keys for far quicker access.
6. Proposed purchases or acquisitions – using this function will give you an easy print out of books purchased in each subject area and their cost.
7. Check whether your system allows you to create a ‘New Library’ (separate database) for another restricted borrowing collection such as Teacher Resources.
8. Back up every day. Check with your system vendor for instructions and advice for your particular set up.
1. Use the helpdesk to support what you want to do with your system. Ask questions, keep a note of responses so you can incorporate them into your school library handbook.
2. Check your system vendor’s website for additional training videos and help forums.
3. Read the user manual – make sure you know how to access your user manual – and report any additional instructions that you require to your system vendor for inclusion in the next version of the manual.
4. Training sessions – if you are in the process of purchasing a new system or changing from one system to another, include training costs in your budget.
5. Attendance at all future regional training sessions run by your provider is essential to keep up with new applications and ensure you are fully utilising current applications.
6. Locate other system users in your area – collaborate and take turns to share your best tips and tricks. Find out if there is a local user group in your area, or start one.
As you become more familiar with how your system works and what it can do, you may identify areas of functionality that are not currently available. Make these suggestions to your system vendor at any opportunity. It is the community of users who often affect change and development for library software.
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