Answered By: Erica Nicol Last Updated: May 06, 2015 Views: 223
In December 2013 WSU Libraries moved to a new search tool, Search It, from Griffin and WorldCat. As part of the 37-member Orbis Cascade Alliance (a consortium of academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho serving faculty and the equivalent of more than 258,000 full-time students), the importance of seamless resource sharing throughout that library system meant a move to a shared system. Integrating 37 different institutions into a shared environment is designed to bring about ease of access, but this process also comes with its share of challenges.
We prepared for some of those challenges by working behind the scenes to prepare our data and records. WSU successfully matched more than 96% of records into the new system, one of the best match rates to date across the Alliance libraries. Additionally, as the implementation drew nearer, we held sessions for librarians and staff, provided access to vendor training materials, publicized the "sandbox" or testing site, reviewed best practices from other libraries, and provided technical advice for librarians to update LibGuides and other support tools.
While we would have preferred making the move at a different time, as part of the WSU Libraries agreed to make the transition that aligned with Alliance-wide timelines. Our membership in the Alliance is crucial to us; in addition to the access to those 37 member libraries’ materials through Summit, our consortial subscriptions save us millions of dollars on journals and provide access to a joint e-book collection.
For the initial launch, many things worked well right out of the gate – 99% of our patrons had their account information transfer successfully, and many were checking out and requesting items that first day. Even though the switch came at a time that wasn’t as optimal as it could have been, WSU Libraries faculty and staff have been working to smooth that transition as quickly as possible. As with any new technology, experience matters, though, and it will take most of us some time to gain expert level competency. We do have some certified technical experts, who are available to assist you with the specifics of the tool.
Though the move is a bit bumpy now, in the future we will see improvements to the systems that support this effort. Our goal is to quickly address reported issues, and we offer multiple channels for getting us timely feedback. We feel confident that Search It has already improved discovery in many ways, and we are working to continue to improve the experience for patrons every day.