Copac at Interlend 2010.

Interlend is the Annual Conference for the CILIP’s Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery. This year’s theme was ‘Meeting the Challenge: Co-operation & Collaboration’ and was held at the Nottingham Belfry from Monday 28th-30th June.

Copac coordinator Shirley Cousins and me (Lisa Jeskins) were asked to present one of the parallel sessions, ‘Copac: your union catalogue today and tomorrow’. We wanted to demonstrate some of the forthcoming Copac developments and get Inter-library loans (ILL) librarians to share their thoughts with us. We wanted to know how they felt about Copac and how we could help them to do their job.

We split the session into two: first, Shirley talked about some of the things we have been working on to improve Copac; and then I was got the delegates to do some work!

Shirley gave the Interlend delegates an overview of our login feature that provides users with extra functionality (See post on: Copac’s new interface) and talked about Copac’s re-engineering project. (See post on: It’s official – Copac’s re-engineering)  She even gave them a sneak preview of what a faceted Copac might look like. (You can see Shirley’s ppt here: http://www.slideshare.net/LisaJeskins/copac-your-union-catalogue-today-and-tomorrow)

I facilitated for the discussion part of the session, and split the delegates up into four groups.  I asked the groups to introduce themselves and explain what their role in interlending was. I then asked them to think about the following questions:

  • How can we make your ILL work processes more efficient?
    • e.g. extra ILL information on the holdings page for each library. If yes, what type of information?
  • If we were to have a Librarian’s interface what should it include?
    • e.g. option to search only those libraries that do document supply.
  • In an ideal world, what do you wish Copac could do for you as an ILL librarian?
    • e.g. link to your institution ILL page?
    • You can think out of the box on this too, and we can always go away and discuss what is technically possible.

We wanted delegates to record their thoughts on flipchart paper and then feedback the main points of their group discussion to the room.

The parallel session was scheduled to run twice, and it was obvious right from the start that common themes were emerging. The 5 top issues were:

  1. ILL librarians want to easily see which libraries take part in document supply – who lends and who doesn’t. They would also appreciate it if it was easier for users to see which libraries lend their materials and which don’t. This would enable them to better manage their users’ expectations.
  2. ILL librarians want to see the British Library’s codes on Copac. These tell ILL librarians whether a library does document supply.
  3. ILL librarians do think that a link to their institutional ILL Page would be useful.
  4. ILL librarians would like to see more deduplication, but interestingly don’t necessarily want electronic and print items merged as this can cause problems if the e-version isn’t licensed for document supply.
  5. ILL librarians would like to see links to libraries document supply polices and prices should they differ from standard IDS charges.

Some interesting and original suggestions included providing a recommender function (something which we are currently looking into). We hadn’t realised that this could be useful for a stumped ILL librarian. One group added that Copac doesn’t currently recognise dashes in ISBNs that students have copied and pasted into the search box. Several groups also commented that they would like to see more libraries on Copac. We are going to investigate ways of taking these and other suggestions forward.

The day was really useful for both of us. We came away with a better understanding of how we could improve Copac to help ILL librarians and we are going to explore these possibilities further. We also made some very useful contacts, who’d like to participate in Copac’s future development. If you would like to get involved or share with us your thoughts on how we can help you as ILL librarians, please contact us at copac@mimas.ac.uk.