Monday, 6 August 2012

Sharing resources makes a lot of sense

Today I got an email asking why would an Australian school library use Libraries Australia http://www.nla.gov.au/librariesaustralia/about/ when they can use SCIS http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/home.html.

We have a subscription to Libraries Australia for the following reasons:


  1. It is an alternative source of catalogue records to SCIS. This is important to us because, being the school we are, there are some topics we collect that SCIS would not cover and while SCIS does do original cataloguing we can get the alternative records from Libraries Australia faster than it takes SCIS to do the cataloguing.
  2. Like so many other Australian Libraries we are also in the process of up loading all of our records back into Libraries Australia. This means our holdings also appear in WorldCat. The benefits of this are:
  • We can link our collection on the fly via http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/  to other libraries in our area e.g. local public libraries and specialist collections. This means students and staff can see what we have as well as what other libraries have via the one single search. So if the student is looking for a book over the weekend because the assignment that is due on Monday and we are closed, they can see straight away who else has the title in their local area. 
  • Linking and resource sharing is a common practice among the public and university libraries. As school libraries are expected to do more with less it is only a matter of time before schools will need to think about how they can link and leverage off other local libraries. There are always going to be titles that students and staff will have a passing or short term interest. We would not buy these titles for our collection, but if they can be made readily discoverable and therefore accessible from other local libraries we are helping make it easier for patrons to find what they are looking for.
Further down the track we would like to be able to then prioritise our local holdings on the fly within a Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/general/about search result. If our holdings are in Libraries Australia they are automatically in the ANBD http://www.nla.gov.au/librariesaustralia/about/anbd/ as well as WorldCat.

If people approach searching from a variety of positions and platforms we want to make sure our patrons can see what we can offer even if they do not come directly to our catalogue in the first instant.

We might also have a small collection when compared to the Australian universities, research organisations, State Libraries and Public Libraries but we do have some unique holdings and we have all have a shared responsibility to make sure that the unique and often hard to find and difficult to replace items in our collections are readily accessible.

Sharing on the fly is going to play a great role in the future. Watch this space.