Volume 9 Number 1
Evolution or Devolution? The Role of OLIS in the SUNY Library World
It is a time of transition here at OLIS and at SUNY System Administration. A new governor is in office, we have a new provost and a relatively new chancellor. All 61 SUNYConnect libraries are using the ALEPH500 software and their library holdings are found in the union catalog. Discussions have begun about a possible transition to a new software architecture for the ALEPH system. Carey Hatch (OLIS) has been Interim Director of SUNY Learning Network for six months.
The "S" in OLIS stands for "service," of course. And that means service to you at the SUNYConnect campuses. While some may think that with the completion of the Aleph implementation, OLIS' time has come and gone, the evidence is to the contrary.
A pilot program, for example, will look at the feasibility of a campus' ALEPH upkeep and management being done by OLIS. What human resources are needed to make this viable and sustainable?
More and more frequently SUNYConnect libraries are requesting help from OLIS rather than from Ex Libris. This is seen in a notable increase in the number of inquiries coming into the Footprints helpdesk system (a 100% increase between 2005 and 2006). As we know, ALEPH is "flexible." This results in any particular part of the software system potentially having various implementations depending upon campus choices. 61 flavors? Well, not in most cases. But, nonetheless, the variety of options embraced by the campuses provide testimony to troubleshooting and problem solving skills being applied by Karen, Maggie, Laura, Natalie, Andy and Val (ITEC) among others.
In the electronic resources realm, any project involves multiple campuses. And, generally this is not two or three, but more commonly 20 or 30. In this and other contexts, the diversity of the SUNY system points to the array of inquiries that come in on just one aspect of a topic.
While providing support and services for existing applications and resources, the OLIS will also be working with the community to look at future directions for shared SUNY library services. Soon we will be forming a group that will look at the possible utilization of newer applications such as Electronic Resource Management systems (ERMs) and discovery tools. While it may seem as though SUNY as a whole is still grappling with its "systemness", our sense is that SUNY libraries want to embrace system collaboration. Whether it is about ALEPH, an electronic resource, the SUNY Digital Repository, SFX or any number of other projects, SUNY librarians are very good at and enjoy working together. For this OLIS veteran it has always been an essential and satisfying part of the job -- getting to hear from and work with many of you at the dozens of SUNYConnect institutions.
While we in OLIS certainly have our opinions, we need to hear what you think. We want you to make your thoughts known to your SUNYConnect Advisory Council (S.A.C.) representative. What are the services that OLIS should be providing to SUNY libraries?