Monday, November 20, 2006

Next Generation ILS Core System Values.

Public Access (Online Public Access Catalog or OPAC)

  • Facilitates academic learning and research – This value above all others is the single most important core value of an ILS; every aspect of an ILS should ultimately lead back to this value. The OPAC is the public face of an ILS and this value is its primary role.
  • Enhances access to information – Should allow for simple searching, faceted searching, and complex searching of ALL a library's physical and electronic information resources.
  • Searchable – search results could show either listed results or combinations of other possible searches based on additional facets like formats, subject headings, keyword clouds, library locations, language, reviews, or user ratings of library material. Searching should also provide features like spell checking, and alternate search suggestions.
  • User Customization – Should allow users to be able to individually gather and collect information resources and search strategies in a personal web space.
    Modifiable – interface should allow the library to arrange the display in all ways possible using a standard markup language (html, xhtml, xml, etc.)
  • Usable – the OPAC should be pleasing to use, easy to use, and the interface should be designed based on web usability studies, and allow for quick customization based on study results.
  • Assists education – Should allow easy collections of virtual material into a course reserve that can be searched by students, and linked directly from course management systems.
    Appealing – Its interface should look professional, interesting, clean, and "hip" so that it is appealing and attractive to the eye, and to student users.


  • Inventory tracking – Allow patrons to borrow and staff to track and find physical information resources held within the institution and outside the institution.
  • Cooperative borrowing – Provide an Inter-library Loan system or communicate with standard Inter-library loan systems.
  • Course Reserves – Allow educators to identify and gather information resources for specific classes into a course reserves. Also allow students to identify and access physical and electronic information resources for specific classes.
  • Course management system compatibility – Allow course reserves listings for specific classes to be immediately linked from course management systems, or allow direct linking to saved searches or other lists of course specific collections.
  • Notification – Provide the ability to email and/or print notices to patrons.
  • Allow for scheduling of library rooms and media and provide for efficient and effective public displays for their scheduled use.


  • Allow staff to place purchase orders for both physical and electronic information resources.
  • Allow for the payment of invoices on resources when they arrive and provide for reminders when ordered information does not arrive.
  • Allow for customization of tracking serials based on any imaginable periodic pattern and irregular occurances when journals arrive.
  • Provide ability to transfer financial and item information to and from information resource vendors based on industry data standards like EDI.
  • Provide interfaces with Enterprise systems used at higher education institutions that allow both the exporting of employee, student, and financial information to the Enterprise systems and allow the importing of the same information into the ILS.
  • Allow for the complete management and maintenance of all aspects of electronic information resources used by the libraries and by their patrons.


  • Allow staff to identify and describe information resources and relate them together in ways that will be meaningful to users and assist them in finding the information they desire.
  • Allow for easy uploading and manipulation of library bibliographic records.
  • Allow for easy exporting of library information.
  • Allow for easy, customizable, and proper labeling of physical material.

General Service

  • Reliability – The system must be stable in regards to the day-to-day operations and it must continue to function well when all upgrades are applied with no loss of previous functions. Service center and vendor should provide 24/7 support.
  • Capacity – The server must be configured such that it is able to handle expected growth of all institutions, and handle expect requirements from upgrades without a degradation of performance.
  • Performance – the service should respond to all client software requests and user searches in a few seconds.
  • Stability – all operating systems, database software, client software should all be versions that are supported by each of their respective companies, and all security patches provided by these companies should be applied in a timely manner. Plus various software applications that make up the whole system should function well with all supported versions of software.
  • Security – sensitive system data should only be accessible by authorized individuals and the system should be free from hacking, and virus attacks.
  • Access – system should be online and available to every user that needs it at all times.
    Software – all day-to-day business functions performed by library staff should be performed on web-based clients that do NOT require installation software on individual PCs.
  • Modularity – All system components and specific functions should be modular and should pass information based on standards that will work with other vendor's components and/ or ILSs.


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