Project Management Reflection

Having undergone an Integrated Library System migration last year, two things I decided I could improve on in future projects were better communication with staff and more feedback. Now that my library is currently implementing EBSCO Discovery Layer (EDS) alongside A-Z and Linksource, I have an opportunity to improve on those project management skills.

The first hurdle is that we don’t have regular staff meetings and communication is through one or two people talking face to face or email. I find emails work for brief topics like “Aleph will be down from 3-6am tomorrow,” but not for disseminating all the information needed to facilitate the implementation of a big project.

So to go beyond email and the occasional staff meeting, I’ve created a private guide within our institution’s LibGuides that staff can access through our “Staff” guide. The guide has definitions, a project timeline, links to beta sites, links to support documentation, links to other libraries that have implemented EDS and of course meeting minutes from the EDS working group.

The EDS working group is a small group of volunteers, who will be providing feedback on usability, design, branding, etc. The goal is to meet every week until EDS is implemented in May. While this method is not unusual at most institutions, it is unusual for our current library atmosphere. Yet so far, this method is working well. I am indeed getting staff feedback and posting the outcomes for the entire staff to see on the EDS guide mentioned earlier. As for the workgroup meetings, I just need to work on keeping to the scheduled timeframe and fostering discussion (not just informing).

Finally, I want to create a “what if” board outside my office. I originally wanted to garner ideas specific to the EDS implementation, but now I’m going to keep the idea generation broader. “Technology in the library / Online Presence – What if…?” Perhaps I’ll get some cool ideas that we implement and I can post about at a later date?!


Database Lists

As our library implements EBSCO Discovery Layer and switches our journal locator from Serials Solutions 360 to EBSCO’s Full Text Finder, we also need to consider a new database list solution. Our current database list is entirely dependent on the Serials Solutions 360 interface which we will no longer have in a few months.

First, a little background. In 2012 our library ended a consortium-like relationship with a nearby university. We purchased our own instance of Serials Solutions 360 Core and Link (in part because SUNY had a contract with them) and used the main page as our database list as well as the place to search for journal titles. This was a great quick solution at the time but we have since discovered some usability issues.  The most concerning and repeated issue was that users were using the “Journal Search” box to search for Databases instead of browsing the “Database List.” Naturally, we would get questions about someone searching for a database such as Scopus and complaining that we didn’t have the database when in fact we did. Knowing that the SUNY contract was shifting to EBSCO, I altered the page as best I could and began seeking a different solution.

I briefly considered using EBSCO’s provider index within the Full-Text finder. While this would work as a solution, it would not provide the searching capability that users kept looking for. So I looked at what other libraries were doing and noticed that a lot of the larger libraries at schools like Syracuse University and SUNY University at Albany seemed to have a homegrown solution where databases where retrieved from an internal database using php. I knew I could do this, but did I want to spend the time to create such a list? Not really.

Then I found an interesting feature in a product we already have! Springshare’s LibGuides product has the ability to import all databases found in your Serials Solutions 360 products. After looking at Springshare’s A-Z Subscription Database List Management guide and other libraries who have created A-Z guides, I gave it a try and I liked what I saw. The pages are highly customizable. People can search for a database like Scopus and see a link to the page that has that database link. I can easily add icons to indicate open access databases. And we can use these links as the master link for each database and use the reuse feature to place a linked copy elsewhere. This let’s you change the original and everything linked to it will change! And finally, we can also keep using the page even after we no longer have Serials Solutions 360.

As of this writing, the new database list isn’t 100% ready for our users but it’s well on it’s way to becoming part of our arsenal!