Report on the Libraryâ€™s Serials Department Addressing Issues of Workflow
Presented by: Kate Dohe Wendi Dotson Diane Frake Kale Kingsbury
LIS 693: Serials and Electronic Resources Librarianship Amy Carlson and Lori Ann Saeki August 12, 2008
Table of Contents Introduction..........................................................................................................................3 Timeline for Serials Department Workflow Analysis and Process......................................5 Finding & Hiring a Workflow Consultant ........................................................................... 8 Request for Proposal (RFP)............................................................................................... 11 Current Serials Department Workflow.............................................................................. 17 Serials Workflow Assessment............................................................................................22 Response to Suggestions ................................................................................................... 30 Project Bibliography ..........................................................................................................32
Introduction Committee Members • • • •
Kale Kingsbury Wendi Dotson Diane Frake Kate Dohe
Subject Selector Serials Librarian Electronic Resources Librarian Project Consultant
On behalf of the members of this project committee, thank you for taking the time to receive and review this report. This analysis has been a long time in coming, and it is this committee’s hope that the results will enable the library to improve and upgrade the Serials Department, thereby addressing a number of issues that have caused concern amongst library staff over the course of the last few years. Before delving into the components of this project, and the results attained thus far, this committee would like to take a moment to reiterate the issues and sequence of events by which it was brought about. At the onset of the project, there were three problems that needed to be addressed: 1. Turnaround Time This issue was raised by the Reference Librarians who double as the Subject Selectors for the University. They state that the amount of time it takes between their submitting an order form to the Serials Department and the completion of that order is much too long. The Selectors would like to see improvements in the efficiency of the process, so that they can get resources into the hands of library patrons sooner. 2. Electronic Books The rise of the Internet and increasing availability of information online has created a number of challenges for the library, one of the latest being in the form of Electronic Books (e-books for short). Due to their dual nature as both electronic resources and books, e-books currently stand in limbo between the Serials Department and the Monographic Receiving Department. This creates a great deal of confusion as to procedures and figuring out who is responsible for processing, with the inevitable result of time and resources being lost. A decision on policies and procedures is needed in order to finally lay the e-book issue to rest.
3. Switchover From Print to Electronic Format With the increase in the use of computers has come an increase in the demand for journals and journal articles in electronic format. This has presented a significant problem for the Serials Department, whose staff of 13 has been hard pressed to keep up. The process of changing over from print format to electronic is very time-consuming, and the Department staff still has all of its daily responsibilities to attend to. The situation as it currently stands is as follows: The Head of the Library has promised funding in the current budget for the purpose of conducting an analysis of the workflow in the Serials Department, an action for which this committee would like to express its appreciation. This money has been set aside with the expectation that those involved in the project will be able to: a) Locate and enlist the services of a consultant b) Analyze the current situation and workflow in the Serials Department c) Implement changes to policies, procedures, and personnel. The committee was given one fiscal year in which to accomplish these tasks. Included in the following pages of this report are (in order): • • • • • • •
The timeline that has been followed thus far and will continue to be used through to the completion of this project. An explanation of the process by which this committee decided upon a Project Consultant to enlist. A copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) put together by the committee and sent to various consulting agencies. A description of the current Serials Department workflow. The workflow assessment and recommendations provided by the Project Consultant. Responses to the recommendations of the Consultant provided by the other members of the committee. A bibliography of literature utilized for the purposes of implementing this project and the components included in this report.
Timeline for Serials Department Workflow Analysis and Process This project will be implemented during the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year. Staffing, space needs, policies and procedures should be fully in place by June 30, 2009, to ensure a smooth transition in workflow changes for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year. 2008 August 18: Meet with entire staff to describe challenges with current workflow issues and discuss the need to make adjustments. Staff may be asked to present their particular issues. [Relate that a committee will be formed to work on the workflow project and a consultant will be hired to analyze the current policies and procedures and to make recommendations for changes. Regular monthly meetings will be held to keep everyone informed of progress and for staff to report on progress. Assure staff that this will be an open process, no jobs will be lost, although there may be changes in tasks, and all suggestions and comments are welcome. Staff will be involved in the learning process, learning about trends, other library experiences, and ERM software, as well as relying on the analysis and recommendations of the consultant.] August 20: Appoint committee members. Committee is charged with: • Drafting a meeting schedule for the committee • Appointing an RFP sub-committee to draft an RFP for a consultant, identifying potential consultants, and conducting initial review RFPs • Drafting a regular meeting schedule for professional and paraprofessional staff for updates • Drafting flow charts of current workflow for use by the consultant • Identifying challenges in the current serials management practices • Identifying new trends in serials management • Identifying conferences, workshops, and other opportunities for staff to learn trends in serials management in the coming months • Assembling a bibliography on serials management August 29: RFP for consultant drafted and reviewed by RFP subcommittee. September 1: Monthly staff update and reports. Research completed by RFP subcommittee regarding potential consultants (through phone, calls to colleagues, literature reviews, etc.) Sept. 8: RFP distributed. Workflow charts completed.
October 1: Monthly staff update and reports. October 6: Deadline for questions about RFP proposals. October 20: Deadline for answering questions about RFP proposals. November 3: Monthly staff update and reports. Deadline for RFP proposals. November 5: Proposals opened by Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs. Three consultants selected for consideration. November 6-14: Consultant references checked. Consultant chosen and notified. November 17-28: Committee begins work with consultant to determine process and set dates for on-site work (preferably week of December 8 or 15). Organization and workflow charts and other materials provided to consultant. . December 1: Monthly staff update and reports. Week of December 8 or 15: Consultant conducts on-site visit. Consultant meets with library staff, including CTS staff, conducts focus groups, and meets with departments and individual staff. 2009 January 5: Monthly staff update and reports. January 5-February 2: Vendors conduct on-site demonstrations of ERM software. February 2: Monthly staff update and reports. February 9: Consultant provides report with analysis, findings and recommendations for changes. A separate report includes analysis, findings and recommendation for ERM software. Reports include costs of changes and implementing the ERM software. February 16: Reports are reviewed by department heads and staff. Staff is encouraged to comment. Week of March 2: Meetings held to decide what changes will be implemented and whether to purchase and implement ERM software.
March 10: New procedures drafted. Training schedule for staff learning new procedures/workflow and ERM software drafted. March 30-May 30: Training June 1, 2008: Changes in workflow become fully implemented. ERM system employed for 2009-2010 Fiscal Year.
Finding & Hiring a Workflow Consultant In locating a consultant for improving serials workflow, we looked to three different sources for recommendations: word-of-mouth; websites maintained by various libraries and library associations; and listservs. Before looking for a consultant, there were three basic steps to be completed. First, we made a timeline of the project, outlining the schedule, time, budget, and staff involvement estimated for each phase. Next, we used the timeline to develop criteria that the consultant was expected to fulfill. Third, we researched available consultants. Word-of-mouth consisted of asking our peers about any consultants they had used previously. If they recommended a consultant, we asked if they had completed the work on time and to the library’s satisfaction. Also important was if the consultant’s recommendations were well received and possible to implement. A number of websites were located that provided lists of consultants for libraries. Not all of these consultants were relevant to our search, however, as many consultants specialize in certain areas such as library buildings, library supplies, or other areas not related to workflow. Websites were evaluated for accuracy and currency of information, professionalism, and reliability. We were not fully satisfied with any of the websites, but the honorable mentions were: THE LIBRARIAN'S YELLOW PAGES http://www.lyponline.com Our least favorite website of the honorable mentions. Provided lists of consultants linked to their websites. There is no category for workflow consultants, so each company must be clicked on individually to determine their specialty. This took a lot of time and patience to weed through the linked websites. LIBRARY CONSULTANTS DIRECTORY ONLINE http://www.libraryconsultants.org Searchable by name, expertise (workflow analysis is listed as a searchable option), and state. Most recent projects are listed, along with sample RFP’s. Seven workflow consultants were located, with one standing out as a possible match for our project: Lori Bowen Ayre from The Galecia Group, who specializes in automation, technology management and planning, and workflow analysis. Her last three projects dealt with automation materials handling of county libraries. However, when we checked her website, galecia.com, it was revealed she only consults with libraries located in California. 8
VIRTUAL SLA: CONSULT ONLINE http://www.sla.org/consultonline/instruct.cfm Special Library Associationâ€™s consultant search site, allowing searches by specialty, topic, and geographic location. Contact information, including email and website where available, are provided. Our final step in locating a consultant was to check the archives of listservs related to serials. Two such listservs were located: Serials in Libraries (SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU), and The Acquisitions Librarianâ€™s Electronic Network (ACQNET@LISTSERV.APPSTATE.EDU). Both listservs were chosen because of their subject focus and because they maintain a searchable archives of postings. A search of the SERIALST listserv did not provide any information for workflow consultants. The listserv archive of ACQNET contained a recent posting of library consultants for solutions to serials workflow problems. In January 2008, the Head Librarian of Technical Services at Austin Community College requested workflow consultant recommendations. She then summarized the recommendations she received with the name and firm for each consultant. We supplemented this list with contact information and areas of specialty:
Consultant Name No. of and Firm Recommendations R2 Consulting 11
More information http://www.ebookmap.net/
Workflow analysis, redesign, and implementation listed as main specialty. Large list of impressive academic library clients. Very professional website. Deborah Wilcox Johnson Johnson & Johnson Consulting
1015 Holiday Drive Waunakee, WI 53597-1536 Ph: 608-849-7286 Fax: 68-849-7521 Author of a number of library evaluation books, including some published by the ALA.
Fanning Howey and Associates
Dr. Stephen 1 Wright, University of Ohio* Bob Smith, Robert 1 Smith and Associates
This is an architectural/engineering consultant only. * There is no institution named the â€œUniversity of Ohio.â€? No further information could be located for this consultant. 140 W Lafayette, Ste. 10, Medina, OH, (330)723-6544. Primarily space and facility assessments, also provides consulting on marketing and merchandising of materials and services.
R2 Consulting was clearly the favored consultant firm from the users of this listserv. Based on the professionalism of their website, the number of recommendations, their list of clients, and their history of workflow analysis, we decided to consider R2 Consultants as a possibility. Based upon our research for a consultant, we chose to send RFPâ€™s to Bingley & Darcy, Inc., a consultant recommended by word-of-mouth, and to R2 Consultants. We further evaluated the responses with criteria such as: o Do you understand the project? o Do you have the subject matter expertise and qualifications relevant to the project? o What is your methodology or work plan to accomplish these tasks? Do you (and your staff) have sufficient time to meet our deadline? Based on the budget, local availability, and fit with our institution, we chose to go with Bingley & Darcy, Inc., a local consultant recommended by wordof-mouth. The consultant was then hired and the project implemented.
The University of All Good Things 123 Happy Day Street Excellence, Hawaii 96822 Request for Proposal (RFP) August 18, 2008 The Chancellor at The University of All Good Things, on behalf of the Helpful Services Library, hereinafter referred to as HSL, invites you to submit a proposal for: Consultant to analyze HSL Serials Department workflow and recommend changes to improve efficiencies, productivity and turn around times, including analysis of and recommendations for an Electronic Resources Management (ERM) system. RFP # HSLUATG 001 An electronic version of your proposal should be sent to: LIS693@serials.hsl.hawaii.edu And the original signed proposal and one copy should be mailed or hand carried so as to arrive at: The Serials and Acquisitions Department University of All Good Things 123 Happy Day Street Excellence, Hawaii 96822 The proposal must be submitted no later than: 2:00 pm Hawaii Time, November 3, 2008. (Faxed copies will NOT be accepted) Proposals shall be prepared in accordance with instructions. Proposals shall be sealed in a package and contain the RFP number (HSLUATG 001) on the outside of the package. Proposals received after the date and time set for receipt will not be considered. HSL assumes no liability for any costs incurred in the preparation or delivery of proposals. Proposals shall be signed by an individual authorized to commit the bidder and to conduct discussions, if required, prior to issuance of a contractual document resulting from this RFP. HSL reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, or to make an award in the best interests of HSL without further discussion or negotiations. Questions regarding this RFP or clarifications will be accepted in writing at the address listed above (e-mail is preferable) up until 5:00 PM HT, Wednesday, October 6, 2008. Answers to all such submitted questions will be sent in writing (or email) to all bidders of record by October 20, 2008. Questions should be directed to: May I. Servu E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Any communication directly with other HSL staff regarding this RFP without prior approval of the above individual may result in the rejection of your proposal.
[HSLUATG 001] Page 2 PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS 1. PREPARATION OF PROPOSALS: a. Proposals shall be prepared in the form and format required. Failure to do so may result in your proposal being declared non-responsive. b Costs and other financial information will be submitted separately from the balance of the proposal, so as to allow unbiased evaluation of proposals. c. Alternate proposals will be considered only if in conformance with this RFP. d. Proposals shall be signed by an individual authorized to commit the bidder and conduct negotiations or discussions if requested or required. A clearly identified, signed-in-ink original and one copy of the proposal should be submitted, in addition to an electronic version emailed to lis693@serials.HSL.hawaii.edu. Extraneous promotional material is not necessary and should be avoided; however, descriptive literature should be included and bound into the original and the copy. 2. RIGHT TO SUBMITTED MATERIALS: All responses, inquiries, or correspondence relating to or in reference to this RFP, and all other reports, charts, displays, schedules, exhibits, and other documentation submitted by bidders will become the property of the HSL when received. 3. SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS: Proposals shall be packaged and mailed or hand carried so as to arrive at the location designated herein no later than the time and date set for receipt of the proposals. The RFP number and the name of the bidder shall appear on the outside of the package. 4. COMPETITIVE OFFER: Under penalty of perjury, the signer of any proposal submitted in response to this RFP thereby certifies that its proposal has not been arrived at collusively or otherwise in violation of federal or state antitrust laws. In submitting the proposal, the bidder agrees not to discuss or otherwise reveal its technical or cost information to any other sources, government or private, until after the award of the contract. Bidders not in compliance with this provision may be disqualified. 5. MODIFICATION OF PROPOSALS: Proposals may be modified by the bidder at any time if mailed or hand carried so as to arrive on or before the date and time set for receipt of proposals. 6. WITHDRAWAL OF PROPOSALS: Proposals may be withdrawn by written or telegraphic notice received by the HSL prior to the date and time set for receipt of proposals. 7. LATE PROPOSALS: Proposals, modifications, or withdrawals received after the date and time set for receipt of this RFP will not be considered. 8. PAYMENT TERMS: As a prerequisite of prompt-payment terms offered by the bidder, time will be computed from the date a correct invoice is received at the location designated for receipt of invoices. Payment is deemed to be made on the date payment is mailed to the contractor. 9. PROPOSAL OPENING PROCEDURE: Proposals shall be opened by the Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Services, in a manner that avoids disclosure of contents to competing bidders. A Register of Proposals containing the names of all responses received shall be prepared and retained by the Vice Chancellor for Legal and Human Resources. This Register shall be open for public disclosure after contract award, except as otherwise outlined in "DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS."
[HSLUATG 001] Page 3 10. AWARD OF CONTRACT: a. Contract(s) or Purchase Order(s) will be awarded to that responsible and responsive bidder whose proposal will be most advantageous to the HSL with price, service, conformance to Specifications and Scope of Work, delivery and all other factors considered. b. In proposal evaluation by the HSL, the bidder is solely responsible for the content of its proposal that best meets the evaluation criteria set forth in this RFP. Previously published data in support of experience, financial or performance capability will be evaluated if such data reflects a current position and such data are submitted as a part of the response to this RFP. c. HSL reserves the right to reject any or all proposals and to waive minor irregularities not considered by the HSL to be essential to the evaluation process. HSL may, at its option, award parts of tasks if the Scope of Work lends itself to division and it is in the best interest of the HSL. d. HSL reserves the right to issue a Contract or Purchase Order document without further discussion or negotiations with the award bidder, provided the award is made within the time specified for acceptance of the proposal. Therefore, the proposal shall be submitted initially on the most favorable terms, from both price and technical standpoints, which the bidder can furnish to the HSL. e. The Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Services reserves the right to enter into discussions with any one or all bidders after proposals have been initially reviewed by the HSL. Such discussions will be limited to clarifications of proposal content contained in a responsive proposal and may, at the option of the Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Services, result in a request for a "Best and Final" offer from the bidder(s). Any response to a "Best and Final" request shall be limited to the item(s) discussed, in direct response to specific questions, or may be a modification of price and/or delivery at the discretion of the bidder(s). Such responses shall be subject to all provisions, and terms and conditions as set forth in the RFP, unless otherwise modified. 11. VALIDITY OF PROPOSALS: Proposals in response to this RFP shall be valid for a period of ninety (90) days from the date required for receipt of the proposal. 12. DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: a. HSL acknowledges that the contents of your proposal or other information submitted to HSL are subject to public release, upon request, after contract award. b. The bidder shall mark as "proprietary" those parts of its proposal that it deems confidential and proprietary. However, the bidder is alerted that this marking is advisory only and not binding on HSL. If there is a request from the public to inspect any part of the proposal so marked, HSL will advise the bidder and request further justification in support of the "proprietary" marking. The HSL will determine, after receipt of the justification, whether the material is releasable. Bidders are hereby advised that they should expect all submitted materials will be subject to public review after award of contract. OVERVIEW & SCOPE OF PROJECT The Helpful Services Library continues to experience rapid growth and serves approximately 10,000 students and 1,000 employees. The Serials Department is comprised of 13 staff members and operates closely with collection development and other library departments. As are other libraries, we are working to transition much of the collection from print to digital format. The Library Director has asked that the Serials Department address the issues that arise from this transition, including inefficiencies in current workflow, increasing productivity, and developing a better method for handling e-books. Improved vendor communication and information management are priorities. To improve consistency and accuracy of information, investment in an Electronic Resources Management (ERM) system may be required. HSL is issuing this request for a Consultant to find an experienced, independent consultant to provide an analysis of current workflow and available solutions and to guide the Library in developing an RFP for ERM software. [HSLUATG 001] Page 4
The University of All Good Things has implemented Endeavor’s Voyager ILS system (Ex Libris Aleph). SPECIFICATIONS/SCOPE OF WORK This RFP will be used to identify a consultant for the services described below. Provide detailed proposals for conducting all of the services listed below (items 1-8), including estimated timelines for completion. Respondents must be able to meet the June 30, 2009, deadline for completion of the services (1-8) below. Proposals are due no later than 2:00 pm HT November 3, 2008. 1. Provide an analysis of the current trends in serials management in similar institutions of higher education. 2. Describe the methodologies and processes you will use for analysis, information gathering, and on-site visits. 3. Recommend ways to improve departmental and inter-departmental workflow, including productivity, turn around times, communication, and use of new technological solutions. 4. Provide estimated costs for implementing recommended changes in workflow. 5. Provide analysis and recommendations for state of the market electronic resources management systems used in higher education, providing information in the following areas: • Significant differences, strengths, and weaknesses in the software. • Significant differences in the vendors' responsiveness, degree of support, and training offered. • Vendors' current status in the marketplace, strategic directions, and potential risks associated with particular vendors. 6. Provide estimated costs for implementing an ERM system for HSL, based on industry data and/or actual costs incurred by other comparable institutions. The costs should be estimated using a five-year and ten year scenario showing the categories that contribute to "total cost of ownership" - new hardware, software, consulting, training, additional staff, process change, etc. Describe the elements that impact costs. 7. Work with HSL to develop an RFP (Request for Proposals) for an ERM and an evaluation process for the responses, including: functional and architectural requirements, scenarios to be used during vendor demonstrations (as needed or requested by HSL), and vendor evaluation criteria. 8. Work with HSL to implement the selected ERM. The vendor should provide suggested implementation strategies and methods. Requirements for the initial Scope of Work above: Project Management - Follow industry-standard project management methodologies. The Consultant will be accountable to the HSL Director. Project communications and reports will be subject to review and acceptance by the HSL Director. Status Updates and Final Review - As a standard business practice, ongoing checkpoints during the engagement will be required to monitor the project's progress. A weekly status report must be provided to the HSL Director. [HSLUATG 001]] Page 5 A final review of the findings will also be a requirement. This final review must include both a presentation of the findings and a comprehensive report on all activities performed. The final
report (multiple copies) should include all the documentation compiled during the engagement activities. In addition to the final report, an Executive Summary in the form of a PowerPoint presentation must be provided. PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION FACTORS Each bidder's proposal should address each of the following requirements in the order presented. All cost data should be detailed separately, in a separately sealed envelope and also in a separate electronic file. 1. A high-level description of the bidder's consulting business. Include such factors as: when the company was founded, what is the size of the overall company or what is the size of the unit that is submitting this proposal, and such other information that will provide a description of who the bidder is. 2. An overall description of the bidder's experience and credentials in performing consulting engagements similar to the one described herein. 3. A description of the bidder's proposed model and methodology for conducting the engagement contemplated herein. What resources will the bidder bring to bear on this project? 4. How soon, after award, can the bidder commit to starting the initial project? 5. How many weeks/days will the bidder commit to completion of the initial project? 6. Provide answers to the following questions: Do you resell any vendor's ERM software? If yes, which one(s)? • Do you have a partnership with any ERM vendor? If yes, what are the details? • For the last three ERM-related consulting engagements the bidder has completed, which ERM vendor received the award? • What, if any, relationships does your company have with software vendors, other than ERM? (These questions are intended to reveal the bidder's independence and familiarity with various systems.) 7. References from three (3) institutions of higher education for which the bidder has conducted similar services as described herein. Preferably the references should be recent (within the last 5 years). Each reference listed should include (a) the name of the institution or system, (b) the dates of the engagement, (c) the nature of the engagement, and (d) the name and contact information for at least one individual who had hands-on experience with the bidder for this engagement. If the bidder is unable to provide references that meet all of the criteria specified, equivalent references may be given but should be identified as such. 8. A list of the consulting staff that would be assigned to this project. For each consultant listed, that individual's experience should be detailed, including dates of major engagements, that individual's tasks performed for each referenced engagement, and progression through the bidder's organization and/or through the profession. Special consideration will be given to consulting experience in higher education and with integrated administrative systems as contemplated herein. Substitution for assigned consulting staff to this project, after submittal of this bid, will be subject to review and approval by HSL and submittal of revised lower pricing. [HSLUATG 001]] Page 6 9. Detailed cost proposal for items 1-4 of the Specifications/Scope of Work (submitted in a separate sealed envelope and a separate electronic file) including: • A guaranteed maximum total cost for the project, including travel costs. • A detailed per-hour price list for all bidder's staff to be assigned to this project.
• A detailed description of the bidder's standard pricing and payment terms, including travel expenses. • Various pricing options that will benefit and reduce overall costs for HSL. 10. Detailed cost proposal for items 5-8 of the Specifications/Scope of Work (submitted in a separate sealed envelope and a separate electronic file), including: • A guaranteed maximum total cost for the optional service, including travel costs. • A detailed per-hour price list for all bidder's staff to be assigned to this project. • A detailed description of the bidder's standard pricing and payment terms, including travel expenses. • Various pricing options that will benefit and reduce overall costs for HSL. The following factors will be considered in evaluating each proposal (not necessarily in order of importance): • Intellectual Capital/Best Practices Model - What kind of methodology or approach does the consultant employ? • What kind of industry and application knowledge is being brought to bear? • References • Timeline/duration - When can they begin? What is the scheduled duration for the project? • Project Management Methodology- Understand their approach to Project Management on these types of projects. How do they manage and control the scope of the project. The deliverables and the timeline (change control)? How are project communications handled? • Experience with Higher Education - What experience does the vendor have with public institutions of higher education? Do they have experience with multi-campus institutions? Have they had experience doing similar work for institutions with more than 120,000 students? Do they have the experience in all 3 administrative application areas? Have the consultant's clients always chosen the same vendor for ERM implementation? • Cost - What does each of the elements cost to be performed? Are we receiving price breaks for committing to the entire scope? When are payments to be made?
Current Serials Department Workflow I. Subject Specialists Role: The Subject Specialist (SS) does all of the collection management and development for 7-10 subjects. They pick all titles and formats that the library will order. The SS is solely responsible for interacting with faculty and developing the library-faculty relationship. Procedure: There is no electronic version of a purchase order; instead the SS fills out a purchase order by hand. There are various codes on the purchase order form, but many specialists do not fill out every item on the form. The same purchase order is used for the serials department (SD) and monograph acquisitions (MA). Special Considerations: If the product is a foreign language title, the SS will often go directly to the Vendor and “reserve” the item for the serials department. Turnaround Expectation: The SS expects the order to be placed within 24 hours. II. Serials Department Role: The Serials Department (SD) plays a supporting role to the SS. The SD does not pick titles and is not involved in collection development. The SD has primarily four functions: 1. Ordering: placing purchase orders (average 2,000 a year), this also includes choosing the correct funding source 2. Holding records: updating catalog and holding records 3. Claiming: pursuing missing issues or gaps 4. Cancellations (averages 1000/year, taking 6-9 months to cancel 1 title due to claiming missing issues or gaps) The staff of 13 is organized by the alphabet, with each staff member covering certain letters of the alphabet. Workload is reviewed periodically to make sure the workload is even, however it is hard to tell if backlogs are due to the nature of the titles or the work style of the individual staff member. “J” is handled mostly by a subscription agent. Foreign material is the most time-consuming, as are the letters M, O, N, P and H.
Procedure: Ordering: The handwritten order is received from the SS, and this stays with the item record throughout the process. It is dated by hand when received, and later when it is fulfilled—and this is how fulfillment statistics are calculated. The SD processes the order by entering the item into the Integrated Library System (ILS) —currently Ex Libris Aleph--which then prints out an RFP. The RFP is then sent by email, regular mail, or sometimes a phone call is made instead to the vendor. The appropriate fund is chosen by the SD to pay for the subscription. Receiving: The SD is not organized on a “first in first out” basis. Instead each staff member handles titles according to their assigned letters of the alphabet. A student unpacks the items and gives them to the appropriate staff member who shelves them in their area. It is not known if staff processes the “easy” titles first, letting the harder titles sit on the shelves for longer. All printed materials are completely processed in the serials department, including labeling and binding. Students from the different collections in our library come to the SD, pick up the periodicals, and place them on the shelves. 1. The mailroom opens all of the packaging and puts the envelope or plastic inside the piece. 2. A member of the SD staff searches Voyager for the appropriate check-in record using ISSN or a special code. 3. The item is checked-in. The system allows them to create a label. 4. They target and property stamp the periodical and put the finished periodical on the range of shelves in the entryway, organized by collection (Asia, East, Sci-Tech, etc). For series or any hardcover book the workflow is similar, but it also includes updating holdings, creating an item record with a barcode, creating a hardcover label and affixing the appropriate spine label and pocket label in the piece, targeting, stamping, and then placing on the shelves in the entryway for pick up. Holding Records: For electronic resources, the holding record is updated by the E-Resource Librarian who completes the original cataloging. SD staff will update the Voyager catalog records, and the E-Resource Librarian updates the E-Resources Gateway.
Turnaround Expectation: The SD expects orders to be placed within 2 weeks of receiving the purchase order from the SS. If it is a “rush” item, it should be placed within 2 days. For domestic vendors, fulfillment of the order averages 180 days (6 months). For foreign vendors, fulfillment averages 1 year. Special Problems: E-books: E-books are currently split between SD and the Monograph Acquisitions (MA). Who process what title currently depends on the pricing scheme of the item. If the item is priced as a monograph, it goes through MA. If the item is priced on a subscription basis, it goes through SD. There is some confusion amongst the SS, SD, and MA about this division. The main problem is that there is a specific e-book fund in the budget, and sometimes this is not being used for e-books. Converting old print subscriptions to electronic subscriptions: (Average 1600/year) The staff is having problems converting print to electronic. To process this, the staff must: clean up the purchase orders to reflect the new electronic subscription (if the order records aren’t clear there is no way to know what it on order, which in turn impacts the budget allocations); create new vendor records; close out the print holdings; change the catalog holding to an electronic resource; possibly switch the funding source; and cancel the old print subscription—after claiming everything to be received under the old subscription. One major problem is the claiming portion of the task. The current ILS is supposed to kick out a claim form based on the entries into the ILS (e.g., when the staff member enters an item and the ILS notices a gap, it will kick out a claim form). However, this claim form is often missing crucial citation information such as volume or issue, so the staff member must go back and fill in the missing information by hand. Also, the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) -- a financial record software program developed in the 80’s -- currently being used by the library doesn’t work well with the ILS in tracking claims and subscriptions.
All Good Things University Library: Serials Workflow Assessment Prepared by: Kate Dohe, Consultant; Bingley & Darcy, Inc. 02.26.2009
Summary Assessment The information sciences field has been plunged into upheaval by the advent of electronic publishing, and no library department is untouched by its impact. Serials departments have been especially affected by this transition, and many have found it necessary to redesign their antiquated workflows. The Serials Department at All Good Things University is no exception, and its staff needs to address several systemic problems, which are addressed in the following report. The problems outlined in this report and their proposed solutions were identified through a literature review, interviews and focus groups with Serials Department staff, and workflow observations conducted on site in December 2008.
Identified Problems Currently, the Serials Department is plagued by several problems, which ultimately contribute to the Departmentâ€™s lengthy processing times and inability to stay abreast of the transition to electronic materials. Many aspects of the current Serials Department workflow and information flow are poorly suited to processing electronic journals, and are outlined below. Problem 1: A lengthy, redundant serials ordering system. In the current system, new serials requests are initiated by the Subject Specialist, and in many cases are passed to the Serials Department staff via a handwritten form. This form must be manually updated after the request has been submitted, and which must then be entered into the current ILS. The ILS, in turn, produces a Request for Proposal, which must be submitted and approved by the Serials Librarian before the order can be sent to a serials vendor. However, the Subject Specialist may bypass this process if the title is published outside the United States, and tracking the status of a foreign journalâ€™s order is difficult for Serials Department staff. This method causes two negative side effects within the system. First, the extensive use of paper forms for purchases and approval introduces redundancy to the system, since the information must be copied to the ILS. Furthermore, its lack of transparency causes confusion and frustration with the length of time between the initiation of the order and its fulfillment, which introduces tensions between the Subject Specialists and Serials Department staff. 22
Problem 2: A convoluted e-book processing workflow. At this time, the process for e-book processing and availability announcements are handled by two separate departments—the Serials Department and Monographic Acquisitions. This decision is completely reliant on whether the item is priced as a subscription or as a purchase, and is often subject to the shifting demands of the library budget. Because two separate departments are responsible for processing the same thing, inconsistencies in the availability and cataloging of these materials have emerged. Furthermore, interviews with staff members involved in e-book processing indicate some materials have been “lost” in the system, and are inaccessible to patrons for variable amounts of time—one staff member reported a delay of six weeks for one title. Problem 3: A time-consuming transition from print to electronic periodicals. The Serials Department workflows are well adjusted to processing a large collection of print journals and periodicals. Unfortunately, adaptations in the workflow to accommodate electronic journals and database subscriptions have been “bolted on,” and poorly integrated into the workflow of Serials Department staff. Multiple workflows exist for each staff member, depending on whether a journal is held electronically, in print, in an electronic database, or in any combination of those options. Moreover, these complexities make it challenging for staff members to consistently and accurately update holdings records, website announcements, and database listings in a timely fashion. As a result, users may be unable to determine what the library’s holdings are for a particular journal. Problem 4: A lengthy print check-in process. Each individual issue of a print journal received by the Serials Department must be individually checked in, labeled, and stamped before it is ready to be shelved in its respective area. While stamping serves an essential purpose, additional labeling of unbound materials is unnecessary and wastes resources and materials within the Serials Department. Observation of staff members indicates readying and affixing labels to print journals consumes approximately 15% of the total check-in time. Additionally, the current ILS employed by the library is designed to automatically change the workflow to the claiming process if a journal check-in reflects missing issues. Not only is this disruptive to the staff member, but a review of relevant literature and on-site observation indicates this method has substantial drawbacks with relatively little benefit to the collection or patrons (Anderson & Zink 2003). Records kept by the Serials Department indicate 423 claims for print issues were filed in 2007. Of those claims, 216 were fulfilled by parties other than the original publisher, 127 resulted in duplicate print copies, 26 filled gaps in the print collection, and the remainder is considered outstanding. Of the outstanding journals, all but eleven issues are covered by a commercial database subscription. The financial cost of the claiming process far exceeds the success rate. 23
Proposed Solutions The problems identified above may be addressed in numerous ways. The recommendations within this report are intended to give the Serials Department and library as a whole numerous options to address some or all of those identified flaws in the current system. However, all recommendations will require a shift in focus in the overall workflow and mission of the Serials Department— ultimately, staff members and departmental operations need to reflect the diminishment and potential cessation of print subscriptions, and emphasize the electronic aspect of serials management. Phase 1: Create a “Electronic Periodicals Assistant” position to facilitate the transition to electronic holdings. This new position is intended to exclusively assist the Serials Department with maintaining and updating holdings records for electronic periodicals, as well as adding electronic access fields to current catalog entries. Other responsibilities of the EPA will include claiming and paying invoices for electronic periodicals, as well as updating the library website with new electronic resource holdings. The EPA will report directly to the Electronic Resources Librarian. Faculty at All Good Things University shall create this position by reorganizing the current Serials Department, and reassigning one current team member as the new EPA. The benefits of a new position are twofold: first, it will reduce and clarify the workflow for both the Electronic Resources Librarian and other Serials Department staff by removing the more time-consuming aspects of the transition to electronic access periodicals. Additionally, the Electronic Periodicals Assistant position will be focused exclusively on the electronic transition, and will not need to juggle both a print and electronic workflow. Phase 2: Consolidate E-book workflows under the Electronic Resources Librarian. Regardless of the pricing schema for electronic materials, all e-books will fall under the domain of the current Electronic Resources Librarian. This change is intended to reduce staff confusion about processing, and will result in fewer books being sent to the wrong department. If all e-books are processed by the ERL, the process of paying for, cataloging, and making materials available can be sped up significantly.
Phase 3: Implement a paperless ordering, approval, and purchasing system. A digital ordering and purchasing system can be accomplished through two methods—either by creating an in-house software application built on a webprogramming framework, or by contracting an external vendor to provide this service. Ideally, Subject Selectors can fill out a web form with necessary data about the proposed order, which is then added to a database. Once the SS 28
submits the order, s/he may check its status within the system via generated and accessible database logs. When a form is submitted, Serials staff should be notified that an order is ready for review and processing. If approved, orders should in as many cases as possible generate the appropriate forms for vendors. This significantly reduces the turnaround time for a new serials order, and adds clarity to the process for the benefit of other departments. Each implementation option has benefits and drawbacks, which must be evaluated by library staff. While a professional vendor can offer additional features, training, and maintenance, it will cost significantly more over time, and may offer more features than the library needs. If the library staff opts to create its own system with the assistance of a contracted web applications developer, the costs will be lower, but may not guarantee uptime, service, maintenance, or code improvements over time. Phase 4: Minimize periodical check-ins Many academic libraries of similar size and mission to the All Good Things Universityâ€™s library are eliminating periodical check-ins altogether (Anderson & Zink 2003). The Serials Department can benefit from the initiative of other universities by implementing a workflow that eliminates label generation and claiming for all but the most popular, print-exclusive materials in the collection. One of the Serials Departmentâ€™s student assistants will be responsible for stamping titles, checking materials against an established list of popular serials, and shelving journals in their respective areas. Any journals which do not have a place on the shelves, or which have titles that do not match preceding issues, should be returned to a Serials staff member immediately for record updates. Additionally, staff members should routinely check shelved periodicals for any title changes, and adjust the record as needed. While this method does introduce the possibility of the Serials department overlooking missing issues of less-demanded periodicals, research indicates these potential pitfalls pose relatively little threat to patron access and service. As outlined in the Identified Problems section of this report, the claims process is timely and consuming for staff members, but does relatively little to improve patron access. Furthermore, duplicate copies result in the Serials Department spending additional time processing the new serial.
Response to Suggestions Of the four suggestions, we ultimately decided to implement two of the proposals, with a third requiring additional discussion and input from library administrative and fiscal personnel. Proposal 1: Creating a new “Electronic Periodicals Assistant” position Initial concerns for this proposal are: Is the serials department to deal with print subscriptions only? Would all electronic resources and material now go through this new position? If so, is that too heavy of a workload for one new assistant? What happens with titles that are both in print and electronic form? Additionally, we must consider an obvious issue that arises when discussing the creation of a new position: that of cost. Given the difficult budgetary times that libraries have been facing recently, does our institution have sufficient funds to create and sustain this position? If money is not an object, this committee is inclined to support this recommendation (once the above concerns are worked out). Proposal 2: Consolidating E-books to the E-Resource Librarian This proposal is a sensible solution to the current e-book problem, and will centralize e-book processing. We feel this will result in higher consistency, both in the holding records and in selecting the appropriate funding source for ebooks. There is the concern of adding more duties to the E-Resource Librarian’s already full workload. Perhaps this could also be handled by the new position in E-Resources. Proposal 3: Implement paperless ordering, approval, and purchasing This proposal is an excellent suggestion to our antiquated handwritten system of ordering. Subject Specialists in particular will benefit from being able to track requested items. It is our hope that implementing this new system of ordering will facilitate communication between the various departments. The new system should help to reduce turnaround time and get requested items into the hands of our patrons sooner, thereby helping to address the greatest issue the library’s Subject Specialists had with the existing workflow. That it could potentially cut down on paper waste and save time previously needed for updating forms is an added bonus. Before selecting either a professional vendor or a contracted web applications developer, additional research is needed. RFP’s can be sent to
various persons to determine the best course of action for choosing a software developer. Proposal 4: Minimizing periodical check-ins As Serials Librarian, I am hesitant to adopt this proposal. First, it does not seem to be solving the problem of filling in gaps in the serials subscriptionsâ€”it only changes the system so that they are no longer tracked. A foreseeable problem is a faculty member approaching the serials department to determine if we ever received a missing journal volume, and the serials department being unable to answer the question. Second, it places responsibility on student assistants to track the volumes on the shelves, leaving much room for human error. For serials staff to also routinely check periodical shelving seems redundant and adds to the heavy workload of the staff. Finally, a better overall claiming system is needed--not to eliminate the system entirely. Without a claiming system of some sort, the library cannot be sure its current and future subscriptions are being fulfilled. In addition, the holdings of the catalog must be kept up to date with accurate listings for patrons. For these reasons, we will not be implementing this proposal and will continue to look for ways to improve the claiming process within the existing system.
Project Bibliography Anderson, Rick, and Steven Zink. "Implementing the unthinkable: the demise of periodical check-in at the University of Nevada." Library Collections Acquisitions & Technical Services 27 (2003): 61-71. In Science Direct [database online]. Available from University of Hawaii (accessed July 29, 2008). Borchet, Carol Ann. “To Check In or Not to Check In? That is the Question!” Serials Review 33, no. 4 (December 2007): 238-243; doi: 10.1016/j.serrev. 2007.08.010 Bordeianu, S., Lewis, L.K., Wilkinson, F.C. “Merging the Acquisitions and Serials Department at the University of New Mexico: A Case Study.” Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory 22, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 259-270. Cohen, Alexander; Cohen, Elaine. “How to Hire the Right Consultant for Your Library.” Computers in Libraries 23, no. 7 (Jul/Aug 2003): 8-10. Davis, T.L. “Blurring the Lines in Technical Services.” Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory 17, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 85-87. Dollar, Daniel M. “Realizing What's Essential: A Case Study on Integrating Electronic Journal Management Into a Print-Centric Technical Services Department.” Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) 95, no. 2 (Apr 2007): 147-155. Dyas-Correia, Sharon and Beverley Greer. “Going with the Flow: New Realities in Technical Services and Serials Management: Canadian Library Association 2007 Pre-conference.” Serials Review 33, no. 4 (December 2007): 270-274; doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2007.08.005. Graves, Tonia and Michael Arthur. “Developing a Crystal Clear Future for the Serials Unit in an Electronic Environment: Results of a Workflow Analysis.” Serials Review 32, no. 4 (2006): 238- 246; doi:10.1016/j.serrev. 2006.09.003. In Science Direct [database online]. Available from University of Hawaii (accessed July 29, 2008). McKiernan, G., Ohler, Lila A. “The Keys to Successful Change Management for Serials.” Serials Librarian 51, no. 1 (2006): 37-72. Mi, Jia. “Examining Workflows and Redefining Roles: Auburn University and the College of New Jersey.” Serials Librarian 50, no. 3/4 (2006): 279-283.
Nakamura, Margaret, and Larry N. Osborne. Systems Analysis for Librarians and Information Professionals. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 2000. Sill, L., Nicholas, P., Stienbarger, L., Oberg, S. “Serials Workflow Adaptation and the New ILS: A Case For Continuous Process Improvement.” Serials Review 28, no. 4 (2002): 298-315. Smith, Glenda. "Aiming for continuous improvement: performance measurement in a re-engineered technical services." Library Collections Acquisitions & Technical Services 25 (2001): 81-92. In Science Direct [database online]. Available from University of Hawaii (accessed July 29, 2008). Welch, J.M. “Hey! What About Us?! Changing Roles of Subject Specialists and Reference Librarians in the Age of Electronic Resources.” Serials Review 28, no. 4 (2002): 283-286.