Whats special in Easylib OPAC?

Easylib has been developed keeping in mind the benefit of end users. All of our programmers are avid readers and ones who library. We think like end users and have developed Easylib to suite the needs of end users like us.

So, whats special in Easylib OPAC?

  • Top Search Bar
    • Easy search – Do a search on all your collections
    • A – All Books
    • E – See list of all electronic collections
    • P – See list of your publications
    • D – See digital subscriptions list
    • EBT – See list of ebooks by types of ebooks
    • EBC – See list of eBooks by course
    • Q – Do a quick search based on keyword, author etc
    • L – See list of your publications
    • M – Do traditional search
    • NA – See new arrivals list
    • PD – Build your own personal digital library
    • O – Another way to search books
  • Main Portion
    • Explore Section – It guides you what to search for in the library
    • Announcements – It allows you to see whats new in the library
    • Useful links – Helps you see list of common used links’
    • Library Data – Get a feel of whats inside the library
    • Photogallery – See what has been happening
    • Library Timings – Easily see what are the timings
  • Bottom Portion
    • Library staff – See who are your team members
    • Library policies – See the policies at your library
  • Your Login (Basic)
    • See your details and photograph
    • Change your basic details and photograph
    • See list of books you borrowed and their due dates
    • See list of new books you requested.
    • Request more books for purchase
    • Build your own favorites section
    • See the fine paid on books
    • Give feedback on library services
    • See your library in out log
    • See your past circulaiton history
    • Change your password
    • See the list of books you reserved. Reserve more.
  • Your Login (Advanced)
    • See assignments and reply
    • See feedback surveys and respond
    • Build your own digital library

With all the above features, Easylib is simply the most advanced OPAC your students can experience.

To upgrade to Easylib, call us today at 98440-81710 or write to info@easylibsoft.com

Visits: 760 | Today: 2 | Total: 53492

Happy Yugadi and more messages

Dear Reader,

Greetings from Easylib and we wish you a very happy Yugadi.

We hope this Yugadi of this year brings everyone good health and great immunity. 

Here are some updates from Easylib at the time of this Corona crisis. 

  • All our employees are working from home or are on paid leave until further notice. Our physical office remains closed except for maintenance of our servers. We do not expect any issues with cloud hosted Easylib application, whether on Easylib cloud or on AWS cloud. They continue to function as usual. 
  • Only online support is being provided. There shall be no personal visits for the moment. You may always open a ticket by going to www.easylibsoft.com >> Login tab. They will be attended to by our work from home staff. On urgent items, please call our support line at 98440-81710 and email info@easylibsoft.com
  • Making use of this lockdown, we are working on improvising the quality of our products with additional testing while working from home. We are also doing extensive literature study to come up with further innovation to our Easylib product suite. Once the situation becomes normal, they will be scheduled for development.
  • We are working on creating a lot of training videos for Easylib. They are accessible at https://vimeo.com/easylib We also request you to try out Easylib Web Version 6.4a at http://demo.easylib.net Call or email us us for a trial account if you already do not have one. 
  • At this critical juncture, we request you to make timely payments by NEFT/IMPS for Annual Maintenance Contract Renewal, Cloud Hosting Charges, Product Licensing, Material Supplies or any other product or services provided, without additional follow ups, as soon as the work at your organization resumes. Your timely payments will help us maintain a healthy workforce and support you and them during good times and bad times. 

Light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion, It is a reality. Just be patient, stay at home and work and we get there. 

Thank you,
Vasu

Vasu M Deshpande

Co-Founder and CEO

Easylib Software Pvt. Ltd.
vasumd@easylibsoft.com
www.easylibsoft.com
+91-97422-04624

Visits: 84 | Today: 0 | Total: 53492

Following new videos have been uploaded

       
Serial No. Title of Video Description Refer the Link
1 Easylib Web OPAC Search This video gives a training on Easylib Web OPAC Search Feature https://vimeo.com/265860539
2 Easylib Web OPAC Explore Feature How to show case your library as a living organism. One such method is to regularly update Explore feature in the library OPAC homepage. https://vimeo.com/265862055
3 Featured Books in Easylib Web OPAC Feature new arrivals in Easylib Web OPAC easily https://vimeo.com/265864028
4 Update Links on Homepage How to set frequently used links on Easylib homepage is covered in this video. You may also link Old EPAC with this approach. https://vimeo.com/266236569
5 How to set up Kiosk display through Easylib You can manage your display Kiosks throughout the campus using Easylib software https://vimeo.com/266237752
6 Easylib Web OPAC 6.2a Introduction Its is the latest version of the software https://vimeo.com/267088951
7 Easylib Barcode Print Demo How to generate the barcode for the specific college with the label https://vimeo.com/352963546
8 Easylib Overview 201909 480k It gives the complete view of the software https://vimeo.com/361638455
9 Easylib How to Add Publications How to add your own publications to Easylib catalogue https://vimeo.com/388180978
10 Easylib Accession Register 480k Training on Easylib Accession Register https://vimeo.com/393015866
11 Title Statistics 480k Title Statistics Report in Easylib Software https://vimeo.com/393039827
12 Data Quality Improvement Tools in Easylib It gives the details about the data tools to be used https://vimeo.com/393052853
13 Periodical(Receivable) How to generate received and non receivable receipts https://vimeo.com/396657021
14 Customised Statistics It gives the customised report of the book https://vimeo.com/396877874
15 Librarian Member entry How to enter the member details to library https://vimeo.com/396898375
16 Member Details Explains when the member logins and their features https://vimeo.com/396900289
17 Opac Search Icons Icons are the shortcuts on the opac screen as they are latest updates to the software https://vimeo.com/396913136
18 Periodical Module How to generate the periodical report https://vimeo.com/397118573
19 Catalogue -Statistical Report Statistical report on Publisher, Item type and subject https://vimeo.com/397123501
20 In-Out Management It gives the details about check-in and check-out https://vimeo.com/397143746
21 Set Up Module How to set up the software for users from librarian https://vimeo.com/397148733
22 Circulation-Customised Report It gives the report on current and past transactions https://vimeo.com/397154361
23 Circulation How to circulate the book https://vimeo.com/397157809
24 Circulation- Reminder How to send the email as reminder to the due books https://vimeo.com/397369662
25 Circulation- Fine Report It gives the report of fine details https://vimeo.com/397389607
26 Price List Report It gives the price list of all the books and related products https://vimeo.com/397399379
27 Set Up – Member How to give the permission to member https://vimeo.com/397406604
28 Ebook How to generate the ebook links https://vimeo.com/398159340
29 Statistic Reports-Book Master It gives the report in statistically https://vimeo.com/398175191
30 Security Module How to assign the Security https://vimeo.com/398227831
31 No due Certificate How to generate the no due certificate for students https://vimeo.com/398443122
32 Display Boards The boards can be generated to display some important information https://vimeo.com/398166412
33 Data Quality Improvement The books that doesn’t have title, author and publisher details https://vimeo.com/398459903
34

Communication Module

How to generate group for communication


https://vimeo.com/398464985
35

Member Due List

How to generate member due and clear the fine


https://vimeo.com/398778846
Visits: 83 | Today: 1 | Total: 53492

How libraries can help contain Corona Virus?

Libraries are a major hubs of academic gatherings. Students come there to read, borrow and return books, material friends, exchange books, and/or just to have a good time in a silent reading atmosphere.

So, it is important Libraries follow best practices to contain corona virus. Here are a few best practices we have thought how you could play a role.

Present best practices

Urgently build a power point presentation of how you can contain the spread of corona virus. Make a good ten to twelve slides. Those of whom you have upgraded to Easylib 6.2a, save the powerpoint as images and upload them to Kiosk Management Module in Easylib. Set the timings to two to five seconds and let the information play.

Communicate with end users

Form library users groups in Easylib 6.2a or elsewhere. Communicate with your user frequently on library timings, best practices and any instructions.

Keep sanitizers handy

Make sure to keep a few sanitizers at the common areas. Keep things like antibacterial soaps like Dettol etc at the washrooms. During the regular circulation, do not touch your body parts after you handle a book and wash them thoroughly before eating.

Have students sit far from each other

Ensure that your students sis at least six feet apart.

Issue more books

As much as possible, give more books to students to read at home.

Visits: 79 | Today: 0 | Total: 53492

Increasing Library User Base – A study of over 20 Libraries

Increasing Library User Base – A study of over 20 Libraries

Vasu M Deshpande 
Easylib Software Pvt Ltd, Co-Founder and CEO, vasumd@easylibsoft.com
+91-97422-04624

Rajashree Bilgundi 
Easylib Software Pvt Ltd, Member – Customer Relationship Team, rajashree@easylibsoft.com
 
+91-74116-34277

Abstract 

Many of the librarians we met over the last few years expressed their concern related to declining number of visitors to the library. Discussions were held around causes of reasons for this decline, what are the internal and external factors, the role of library professionals and much more. During the visits to the libraries, we also started observing some of the unique things that the libraries are already doing to attract the students. 

As we visited more and more libraries, a pattern started to emerge related to the best practices followed. This article collates some of the best practices from various libraries to increase the library user base. The list may not be exhaustive and also may omit some of the obvious things we assume library could already be doing. However it does keep the current trends in the industry in mind, has basis of visits to varied locality (urban, rural), various cultures (different parts of India and overseas), library sizes (less than 10,000 in collection to over 10 Lakh in collection), types of libraries (academic, special, public library etc.) and we feel following these best practices shall indeed increase return on the investment libraries are making on their resources. 

1.    Introduction

One of the things that every librarian desires is to increase the number of users to the library. The packed a library a library is, the better its utilization to the student, research and community it serves.  This article analyzes top reasons that can help a library increase its user base and get more visitors to the library. 

The article is primarily based on our visits to various libraries and discussions with many librarians over the last 15 years and outlines various thoughts on how to increase number of users to the library. 

2.    Display Board Kiosks

The fact that impacts most libraries as we have observed is the lack of awareness of the library resources. Libraries spend Lakhs of rupees every year on physical and electronic resources. However the information is seldom available to the users in a concise and handy way. Coupled with non measurement of how many people are accessing electronic resources and library collection, the utilization remains low. So, the first thing we recommend is that every library put a few kiosks and display boards to provide information on the library contents and attract students.

The items that a display board can have are 

  • General Information about library 
  • New arrivals
  • Timings 
  • How to use OPAC
  • Library statistics

The locations that display boards must be kept are 

  • Library entrance 
  • College entrance, 
  • Hostels
  • Reading hall
  • Mess etc.

Fig. 1. The Display Board

We highly recommend putting a few silent display kiosks even at hostel mess where in students come there three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and stay there for 15 to 30 minutes each or even longer. What better place than a mess, where students are captive for those many minutes, to tell about what all things library is offering?

An effective Kiosk Display board may be seen at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.  

3.    Library User Groups

The more a librarian is connected to the student base, the more students are attracted to the library. For example, the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Belagavi Library staff has formed over a dozen user groups and sends periodic communication on the new arrivals to doctors and research students.

Fig. 2. Shows the different kinds of Visitors in a Library

We recommend going one step ahead, i.e. form library user groups of different areas and publish them on to your library website by class, subject, areas of interest and much more. Allow people to sign up to the groups. Send the members regular communication of new arrivals. At least a few of those shall find the contents interesting and shall visit the library.  

4.    Conduct Events 

Events always attract a large number of visitors compared to daily number of visitors. So, the easiest method to attract more students to the library is to keep conducting various events. When people are stressed out on time, people always want to be focused on where they want to spend their time. So, the focused an event is, the easier it is for the students to chose to attend the event.

Fig. 3. Shows some of the example of the events that a library can conduct 

Table 1. Few samples and types of events conducted in Libraries

Seq.EventFrequencyPurpose
1Library OrientationMonthlyGive orientation of library collection, events, OPAC etc. on a periodic basis.
2New Arrival SeminarQuarterlyIn this session, you display all new arrivals on tables and have people speak about them
3Book ReadingWeeklyThis is an event where in people explain about a book they have read. It can even be altered as a loud reading workshop where everyone attends aloud one page of the book he is borrowing. 
4Story telling (if applicable)Week day afternoonThis would attract the students to get attracted to fiction reading
5Career guidance  and Expert sessionsQuarterlyHere you get experts from various quarters to your library and have them guide the attendees.
6General discussionsWeeklyGeneral forum for the people to enroll in discussion forums and present view on a topic
7Industry-student meets at the libraryQuarterlyHere you invite various people from industry and have them spend time wit the students. As the session is going on, you would also your books on display which automatically encourages the students to pick up a few books for reading. 

Many libraries in USA do this very effectively. The Sunnyvale Public Library in California has an event for public every week. Various Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) have regular student reading classes. The Libraries at Sri Kottala Basaveshwara Bharateeya Shikshana Samithi Sedam in Kalburgi district invite various experts throughout the year to the campus, motivate the students to read as well purchase new books. In a small Taluka place, the number of events conducted in the high school alone exceeds over 24 in a year and thereby results in book sales as well as increased borrowing of books from the library. 

5.    Frequently Updated Web OPAC

Website is one of the most effective ways to inform the users about the library. In advanced cases, it can even be very interactive.  Some of highly ranked Universities have very informative website where as others do not have adequate information at all. Some dos and don’ts about the website are 

Fig. 4. Shows the Web Application Developed by EasyLib

Some suggestions for contents on your home page are 

  • OPAC Search Box 
  • List of periodicals  
  • New arrivals information 
  • Featured books
  • Frequent searches 
  • Your external partners
  • Links to electronic resources
  • Library Timings
  • Photo Gallery
  • List of periodicals 

Table 2. The DO’s and Don’ts in a Library

Seq.CategoryDoDon’t
1BasicsKeep user in the mind and design the website. Information should be relevant and worth the time.Don’t bore users with about the library. Users are interested in what is inside the library than what is about the library.
2Easy SearchA general rule of thumb is to measure the time a student takes to get relevant information. It should be less than 30 seconds.Avoid nested information. Listing all periodicals in one go is much more beneficial than things like Library Contents >> Periodicals >> Subject >> Frequency >> Periodical Name. Hardly there are a few hundred periodicals and listing all on one page is generally acceptable.
3Book ImagesPutting a section called “Featured Items” is a great way to tell what you have in the library.Avoid putting heavy images that reduce the speed of uploading the home page. A library page should load in less than 5 seconds.
4Use The Real EstateThe home page is a powerful real estate. Design it for most used monitors and fill it with information as needed.Avoid undue space on the library homepage. Either keep it simple with only one search bar or provide relevant links. People usually look at first page more than anywhere else.
5Website UpdatesWhen you go for automation, buy software that allows you to change website contents by yourself rather than having to go to System Admin every time.Don’t have a super rich website that is very difficult to update it periodically. A simple more frequently updated is more beneficial than one that has very good extensive information but not updated at all.

Vivekananda College Puttur updates its Web OPAC on a daily basis. It has also allowed guest login (http://vcputtur.easylib.net) that does not require login to be able to do the searches on Web OPAC. Only when a user wants to see his personal borrowing history, he or she needs to log in. Last three months data shows this is resulting in more users’ visitor. The analysis is awaited. 

6.    Different Zones in the Library 

Interview as well as observation of IN-OUT data of student’s show that, they come to the library for the following reasons. 

  • To browse through collection 
  • To borrow or return a book
  • To hang out with friends
  • To make Xerox copies
  • To spend some quite time
  • To sit and study
  • To learn about new items at the library
  • To get a reprieve from heat outside  
  • To do joint study with friends
  • To get motivation to study
  • To use wash rooms
  • To research material for assignments
  • To discuss ideas
  • To do project work
  • To charge their mobile or laptop
  • To browse internet

Fig. 5. Shows the sample of Library Environment

All of these do not require a silent zone, which is often the case in most college libraries in India today. Consistent boards like silent zone or do not bring electronic gadgets deter the students from coming to the library. To address this problem, we suggest forming a few different zones in the library. 

The zones can be

  • Quite Study Area: This is a traditional silent zone that encourages students to do their own work rather than engage in discussions. Here even the board “Silent Zone” is movable. That way if you wish to convert a zone to no longer a silent zone, it is easy to do. 
  • Activity Zone / Low Voice Zone: This is Circulation area, newspaper reading zone, casual discussion zone etc. Usually you want to keep standees for people to read the items rather than providing seating. 
  • Discussion zone: This is an area where tables are large enough, allow students to form groups and do joint studies, work on assignments or do projects. The room encourages students to engage in discussions in as needed. 

New Horizons Engineering College, Bengaluru has a beautiful student discussion area. Over twenty large size tables in a large room by itself make the library a center of buzzing activity. Many of the offices in Apple at USA have three seats round table glass-door conference rooms of size 8 foot by 8 foot. These allow the researchers to quickly get into conference rooms and hold discussions with their discussions. The set up of having a high number of small round table conference rooms is found to be more beneficial than having less number of large conference rooms. 

7.    Motivational Signboards

Success breeds success. Many a times, starting is a problem. So, once you get a user start a journey of self – motivated reading habit, it catches on own and grows further. So, putting a few motivational boards throughout the campus or in the library that encourage student are found to be attractive. 

Fig. 6. Shows the sample of Library Environment

Written in Facebook font – Put Your Face in a Book

Put Your Face in a Book

Written in YouTube font – You could Read a book

You could Read a book

Many more innovative signboards related to websites where students spend time. 

A visit to the Library at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Technology, Indore can give you a glimpse of various innovative motivational signboards.

8.    Appropriate Furniture

Appropriate furniture for board book arrangement as well as seating is one of the most important factors in increasing users to the library.

Fig. 7. Shows the arrangements in a Library

Some recommendations here

  • Casual reading zone should have unconventional furniture like more comfortable chairs, soft chairs, a sofa for the staff to sit etc. That should make students and staffs feel like spending more time at the library.
  • Provide electric plug points to each desk in silent zone so that people can read the books accompanied by their laptops, tabs, mobiles etc. At least I prefer to read a book along with a tab or a laptop so that I can quickly refer to the supporting material mentioned in the book.
  • Relevant Furniture – Make the furniture more appropriate for students to complete their homework or assignments. i.e. Much larger tables for students to spread their reading material and all their electronic gadgets.  

Navodaya Medical College Raichur and KMC Manipal are two of the best ones in terms of furniture observed. 

9.    Place for safe keeping of personal items

One of the factors affecting students’ entry to the library is the lack of place to safely keep their personal valuable items that are in their bags or backpacks.

Fig. 8. Shows the Security System of a Library Environment

One solution would to providing students with a more secure space to keep their personal items. Just like a book, students borrow locker key and keep their belongings in the locker. They return the key while going out. Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College Kolar has implemented an excellent key check in – check out mechanism. They get issued just like a book and get returned. 

10.Appropriate Ambience

Ambiance plays a great role in keeping students stay at the library.

Fig. 9. Shows the role of Ambience in a Library

Some common issues observed are 

  • Too hot – Where as a book reading hall does not have AC, the adjoining eBook area would have. As a result, people simple avoid spending time at the library and instead sit at the computer center, still doing reading in the cramped space designed for web browsing. Good option in such cases would be merging both physical and digital libraries and provide temperature controlled reading area.
  • Too Cold – Especially in winters, a library may feel very chilly. Putting thick curtains put to the windows to make the reading area feel warm during winter. 
  • Too Bright – A library I visited was too bright for reading due to the sunlight coming in from glass windows. Putting curtains would solve the issue.
  • Too Cluttered – A library made it look much more spacious by taking out extra copies of unused books and keeping them in the backside area. Gave feeling of library being much more spacious for people to spend time there.
  • Too Noisy – Most libraries solve this problem by partitioning library into different zones. 

11. Location of the Library in the Campus

Having a library in the corner of the educational campus or higher floor is a deterrent to usage. A few libraries were in third floor and the students had to walk all the up to go to library and for the purpose of going to library alone. It would be more appropriate if the library is in ground floor or mezzanine floor and on the way to classrooms, building entry-exit etc. Similarly it needs to be centrally located rather than being in a corner. A more visible library shall attract more students than a hard to find one.

Fig. 10. Shows the role of Ambience in a Library

12. Librarian and Professors to work together

A fundamental change in the educational system may attract more students to the library. 

Fig. 11. Shows the interaction sections in a library

A librarian could request the professors to give case study based, periodical article based or a current issue based assignment or an assignment that expects the students to do research rather than giving only typical assignments which require them to read books and answer them. When the assignments require students to access the library resources to get necessary data for their assignments, automatically the library usage shall increase.

For example, University of Massachusetts Librarians and Professors work very closely. Most of the assignments were case study based. There was no choice other than going over so much of material at the library or access the library resources. In addition, finance and strategy class expected students to analyze SEC (SEBI) filings. Again students would use library resources to get the necessary material. Marketing class would expect the students to take one company a week and analyze and present our findings. Again e-Resources of library would be of use. 

13. Standard Text Books vs. Guide Books

We did an analysis of circulation pattern for a select engineering college by publishers. Took noted three publishers and tried to see a pattern. Data shows as below and issue count for January month in 2014 and 2019.

Fig. 12. Shows the books circulated based on publisher wise

Table 3. The books circulated based on publisher wise

Publisher2004200920142019
Pearson25028822070
Prentice Hall India1501206350
Tata McGraw Hill95223157269

Source: A reputed Engineering College with over 3,000 students at Bengaluru

As you see, in all the three cases, numbers either dropped or did not increase proportionately even though admissions have increased. This seems to be the case for all standard publishers. 

A few engineering college librarians at Karnataka attributed this patterns to many students now preferring to read guidebooks rather than original textbooks. When this happens, less number of books are more frequently read by students. And the impact of that is the original research and reading standard books is impacted. 

Any change to this patterns needs to be dealt at the curriculum formation level itself, where in curriculum should be designed to encourage original reading/writing rather than referring to guidebooks like in high schools.

14. Friendly Welcome

Those with more friendly and approachable library staff had more students inside. Did not measure it, it is by observation. The more frequently students stopped by for a quick check with the library staff during our discussions, the more students libraries seem to have inside.

Fig. 13. Shows the children with Books in Library Environment

Interview with student’s shows that students like to read much more than standard text books alone. To aid this, students recommended add to your collection more books related to tourism, biography, culture, history, geography, local area information, music, personal finance etc., even in engineering and medical colleges. There would be many more items, but we would stop here.   

Fig. 14. Increasing the collection of non-academic books

References

Images are obtained from below sources.  

https://www.kioskmarketplace.com/photos/
https://www.liberquarterly.eu/
https://khamsat.com/
http://www.shreeinterior.in/
https://www.berghahnbooks.com/

Vasu M Deshpande

Co-Founder and CEO

Easylib Software Pvt Ltd

vasumd@easylibsoft.com

+91-97422-04624 & +1-408-663-2260

Vasu M Deshpande is a Co-Founder and CEO of Easylib Software Pvt Ltd. Apart from founding Easylib, he worked at Infosys, Apple Inc. USA and General Electric USA for over 15 years as IT Professional and Program Manager. He is a National Merit Scholar, BE with Gold Medal from Gulbarga University, MBA from University of Massachusetts USA, PMP (Project Management Professional) and CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional. He has presented various invited talks on Information Technology as well as Program Management. In addition to Information Technology, he also Program Managed construction of over 2,200 houses and 12,000 Toilets under Parishudh Program sponsored by Infosys Foundation in Northern Karnataka while on sabbatical from Easylib for a few years. 

Rajashree Bilgundi

Member – Customer Relationship Team

rajashree@easylibsoft.com

+91 74116 34277

Rajashree Bilgundi is an Engineer by Profession and works in Customer Relationship Team at Easylib Software Pvt. Ltd. In her role, she is responsible to speak to various customers, analyzing customers’ issues and coming up with technological changes to be done to the applications. 

Visits: 269 | Today: 0 | Total: 53492

Steps to automate your library

Vasu M Deshpande, Easylib Software Pvt Ltd, Co-Founder and CEO,

vasumd@easylibsoft.com+91-97422-04624

November 2019

Summary – Automation is having computer or a machine do a routine activity. At the simplistic level, it involves making your catalogue available on your website. And at the higher end level, the automation includes usage of artificial intelligence machine learning which even help predict what user wants and makes it available to him in seconds, even the ones not available in the library. Most library automation is in between. This article explains basic processes involved in automation. 

1.    Understand the benefits 

First step in automation is to be well read about the benefits of automation. (Read another paper of mine or other sources). You should be fully convinced of the benefits of automation and the level to which you wish to automate. You should also understand that automation is not free. Even automation using the open source software is not free. Everything has cost involved. Only the amount of cost varies.

2.    Find a sponsor or a project champion

However passionate you may be about library automation, nothing moves without sponsorship and financial support from your organization. To get this going, you should prepare a simple one or two page document or a presentation about library automation. It should outline the below things. 

  • Why library automation
  • List of all benefits you get
  • Expected spend
  • Timeline of work
  • Support you require 

3.    Prepare a project plan 

Once you have the sponsor give a go ahead, you should then jump into preparing a project plan. Do not directly jump into the process of automation thinking that vendor will do everything. That is not correct. There are various processed involved and you want to be well prepared for each. Do not rely on your memory or verbal understandings. Instead, document everything. Here are a few of the important step. 

  1. Understand the benefits
  2. Get a sponsor and management approval
  3. Draft project plan preparation
  4. Collating your existing data
  5. Software identification
  6. Close Commercials and Chose Vendor
  7. Server Readiness and Software Deployment
  8. Import your data
  9. Trainings
  10. Launch
  11. Vendors payments  
  12. Post launch support

4.    Collate your existing data  

Before you begin the work of automation, make sure to collate and organize your data. Well organized data can save you on deployment costs. The primary list of documents you would require are

  • Your book accession register
  • Your non book accession register
  • Your periodicals information register
  • Your eBook repository register
  • Your student data
  • Other information you want to make available on website 

5.    Software Identification 

Identification of software is one of the most important things of your library automation. Here are some things you want to remember to choose the software you require. 

  1. Software functionality – Does the software you think of getting meet all your requirements? 
  2. Level of innovation – How well the company is releasing the upgrades and innovating? 
  3. Level of support – How good the support is available for the software?  
  4. Software Open ness – Does the software have APIs built in to interface with other applications?
  5. How easy to upgrade? – Is the data locked? Is it exportable? 

In regards to Where as open source is projected as free, it is usually not free as it involves greater amount of time and effort to deploy and configure the software. Often the price of deployment of open source software is more than that of commercial software. So, you need to really look at the complete picture and then make a call. In addition, open source does not have one owner. As a result, you end up seeing multiple varieties of open source flavors. When you want to upgrade in future, you need do all the flavored changes once again to the new version of the software, which will cost you even more. 

On the other hand, the proprietary providers are proud as well as sensitive to their brand name. They try to keep the customizations backward compatible. Considering the choices and competition in the market, often the cost of proprietary product license plus cost of deployment is less than cost of deployment and customization of the open source software. 

Ultimately it is your call. 

6.    Close Commercials and Chose Vendor

For vendor selection, here are some things you want to do your homework on. 

  • How well you know the vendor? Have you done any referral checks? 
  • How are the vendors after sales customer support? What is the duration of vendors free support and then paid support? 
  • What is the commitment of the vendor to the business of library automation? Is the vendor committed to this business or is he a fly by operator?
  • Is the vendor a company or a part time professional? If the vendor is a company and he does it for himself and employees, the commitment is higher.
  • Are the financial aspects clear? i.e. pay only by Cheque, clear negotiations etc. 

In regards commercial negotiation, here are some best practices. 

  • Know what you are buying. Often the spend depends on what you buy rather than how much you negotiate. 
  • Call vendor for negotiation only when you are sure of buying and are determined to buy a product. Once you begin the negotiation process, try to bring it to a closure with one of the vendors. 
  • Do not bargain to bone level where in vendors agrees for a price under compulsion and then has a hard time meeting the deliverables. 
  • Be straightforward on your expectations. Once you agree on something, stick to it. Do not ask to add additional freebies. 
  • Always document the understandings. Do not leave it to verbal agreements. 
  • Place order only based on your budget availability. 

7.    Server Readiness and Software Deployment

The next most important item is server readiness and deployment. You have two choices, cloud hosting and local hosting. 

Seq.ActivityCloud HostingLocal Hosting
1Investment on Server Done by vendorBetween Rs.50,000 and Rs.5,00,000 based on size
2Server MaintenanceDone by vendorYour system admin would need to maintain this
3Software InstallationDone by vendor in off hoursDone in working hours at your premises
4Data safetyAssured by vendorYou are responsible for your data
5Internet RequirementAlways requiredWorks within LAN if there is no internet
6Software cost first yearUsually less and same as annual charges along with charges for initial deploymentUsually high. 
6Running cost /AMC for the softwareFlat charges as agreed with the vendorFlat charges as agreed with the vendor and your time on server maintenance  

Usually entire deployment is done by the vendor in both the cases. 

8.    Data Import and Entry

Next step is the data import part. Here are a few methods. 

  1. Data entry from accession register – You hire a few staff and carry out the data entry.  Alternatively you can outsource it to a vendor. 
  2. Import data from Microsoft excel – You give the data to vendor and they would import your data. Some of the advanced Library automation software like Easylib also have data mapping and import features. 
  3. Data import from MARC – If you already have the data in MARC, you can have it imported. 

Here a word of caution is that you should review the data once imported. Do not expect that vendor will do everything 100% as there could be data issues, incorrect formats etc. You must allocate your time and effort to ensure correct data goes into the system. No matter who does the data entry, ultimately the data is owned by you. 

9.    Trainings

This is one of the most overlooked items that affects library automation. Depending on how easy a software usage is, each software takes anywhere between a few weeks to a few months or years to learn the software.

Below are some methods for training 

  1. Work out number of training days with vendor
  2. See training videos created by the vendor
  3. Conduct trainings within your team
  4. Trial and error and self learning
  5. Have peer professionals visit and give training

10.Launch

Deployment of software does not end with automating and simply start using it. Here are a few more things you need to do to ensure automation is successful. 

Below are some methods for training 

  1. Configure your OPAC properly
  2. Connect your Web OPAC to your college website
  3. Make a few presentations to your staff
  4. Conduct a few student orientation sessions
  5. Build a view launch videos
  6. Trial and error and self learning
  7. Have peer professionals visit and give training

11.Vendor Payments

You need to consider your vendors as your partners and not just one time service providers. The better relationship you have with your vendor, the better help you get when you need. Not everything can be bought by money. Treat your service providers with respect and they will go out of the way to help you. 

12.Post Launch Support

Your library automation begins with deployment of software and with all the above activities. It does not end there. You need to ensure that you have adequate support available when you need.

Trying to do all by you is like trying to build a car in your mechanical engineering department of the college and use it to ferry a VIP on a need basis. Academic projects, do it yourself projects are all-good in the academic and controlled atmosphere. However, to make them withstand the day to day load, they need to be hardened. This takes time and effort. So, get annual maintenance contract and get peace of mind. 

About the author 

Vasudevrao M Deshpande (Vasu) is an entrepreneur, author, software engineer, program manager and a Swachch Bharat advocate. He founded Easylib Software Pvt Ltd and worked with Infosys, Apple, General Electric, IBM, ABN Amro Bank in various capacities. He is a Gold Medal in Engineering; MBA from University of Massachusetts USA, PMI certified Program Management Professional and APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional.  He is an avid reader and speaker at many renowned events. 

About Easylib Software Pvt Ltd

Easylib Software Pvt Ltd helps libraries automate through operations through Easylib Software. As of 2020, the software now runs at over 600 institutions worldwide. More details about the product may be obtained at www.easylibsoft.com or by calling Easylib Sales hotline 98443-49630 or by writing to info@easylibsoft.com

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Why Library Automation?

Vasu M Deshpande, Easylib Software Pvt Ltd, Co-Founder and CEO,

vasumd@easylibsoft.com+91-97422-04624

October 2019

Summary

Library automation is a now buzz word. Every library wants to automate. However when it comes to getting justification for the spend, many librarians face difficulty in providing sufficient justification. This article helps you easily understand the benefits of library automation and communicate them easily to college management.

What is automation?

Automation is having computer or a machine do a routine activity. However the level of automation determines how much of intelligence this automation can bring to you. At the basic level, automation could be as simple as publishing a list of books you have at the library on your website for easy view by students. And at the more advanced level, the automation could easily display fully customized and personalized web OPAC for students along with 3D view of the library and helping you read their mind and procure items they require without they even specifically asking about it. 

Benefits categories  

Primarily all benefits of automation can be summarized in three ways – attract more users to the library, optimize the resources and the third being quickly generate reports for be compliance as per NAAC, MCI, NBA, AICTE expectations. 

Various benefits of automation

Various benefits of automation are as below

  • Search – Automating your library offers the ability to students to search books in your library.  
  • Guide Students – Often students do not know what to search in the library. You put appropriate guidelines on the material available in the library. 
  • Your publications – Many staff would have published a lot of articles. However often they remain not showcased. The library automation software helps you show case them. 
  • Catalogue books – One of the primary reasons for automation is to easily catalogue the books
  • Stock Verification – Easily take stock of the library and find what are the missing stocks
  • Arrange Books – Automation with RFID helps you in easily identifying misplaced books. 
  • Take book requests – Easily take the requests for books
  • Requests for proposals – Software would help you easily create requests for proposals
  • Compare quotations – Automation will help you in comparing the quotations
  • Place book purchase orders – Automation will reduce time to place book purchase orders
  • Manage Receipts– You can easily manage what books have been delivered, which ones are not etc. 
  • Merge titles –Automation helps you track how many copies of each book you have
  • Barcode prints – Automation helps you print barcodes for your library
  • Accession Reports – Automation helps you easily take collection reports by subject, department, course branch etc.
  • Circulation – Automation helps you track book issues, returns, renewals, dues etc.  
  • Easily calculate the fine – Automation helps you easily find the amount of fine each student would need to pay
  • No due certificates – Automation helps you easily determine whom to issue no due certificates and whom not to issue
  • User communication – Form user groups and regularly communicate with them
  • Get customized statistics and reports – With many times of reports to be submitted to various bodies, automation helps you in quickly generating them.
  • Digital Resources – You can manage digital library contents and eResources at your library easily. 
  • Students Information – Students and members information can be organized neatly when you have automated.  Without automation, it is very difficult. 
  • Journals – You can manage journal subscriptions, manage receipt of journal issues, track spend on journals etc. easily when you automate your library. 
  • Visitor Management – Automation helps you count of visitors to your library and publish different types of library usage reports.
  • Export and Import – Many times you are supposed to give data like students who have fines due to college administration office. Having your library automated will help you. 

Conclusion

Overall, every level of automation i.e. the most simplistic level to the most advanced one is expected to being enormous benefits to the library. It usually brings multiple folds of benefits compared to the investment.  It is definitely worth the effort to do a cost benefit analysis and decide on the amount of investment you wish to put. 

About the author 

Vasudevrao M Deshpande (Vasu) is an entrepreneur, author, software engineer, program manager and a Swachch Bharat advocate. He founded Easylib Software Pvt Ltd and worked with Infosys, Apple, General Electric, IBM, ABN Amro Bank in various capacities. He is a Gold Medal in Engineering; MBA from University of Massachusetts USA, PMI certified Program Management Professional and APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional.  He is an avid reader and speaker at many renowned events. 

About Easylib Software Pvt Ltd

Easylib Software Pvt Ltd helps libraries automate through operations through Easylib Software. As of 2020, the software now runs at over 600 institutions worldwide. More details about the product may be obtained at www.easylibsoft.com or by calling Easylib Sales hotline 98443-49630 or by writing to info@easylibsoft.com

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Easylib releases Fee Management and Collection v6.2a R22-Manage student Fee details(September 2019)

The key features of fee management system are:

  • Facility to collect fine and provide discounts in fees.
  • Display of fees remaining on part payment of fees.
  • Facility of collecting fees in parts and maintain the due remaining amount.
  • Generate and print receipts of fees along with manual / automated fees receipt no.
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Easylib releases Assignment Management v6.2a R20-Track Students assignment(July 2019)

  • To increase student and supervisor accessibility and availability.
  • To ensure assignments are always on-track and on-time by proving assignment management and monitoring.
  • To facilitate file-sharing (increase accessibility and availability of files) as well as reducing redundancy through online repository.
  • To facilitate communication and collaboration between supervisor and student by use of assignment management.
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