Integration of Media Scheduling and Book Library Circulation

Peter Mason (
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 06:42:56 -0800 (PST)


This message is in response to a question from a couple weeks ago
(lots of conferences and tradeshows so just catchingup now).

> Which institutions will circulate videos generally as well as take
>bookings for them?
> I'm not aware of a fully automated library which treats its videos as
>both circulating and bookable. It's usually one or the other, or the video
>collection is split into the bookable and non-bookable. Here, the booking
>has been a manual process up until now. You will wonder how we avoid
>conflicts. It is cumbersome to process booking requests with any
>guarantee, and we've just been trusting to luck. In addition to an item
>being bookable at Media, a patron can ask for the item to be placed on hold
>at Circulation; it's two separate processes. Does this sound like madness,
>or what?
> We're just learning our Media Scheduling module of Endeavor's Voyager
>library system. In order to schedule a video from our Library collection,
>the item must have a media type entered. Items with Media types can only
>be loaned when scheduled; they cannot be loaned off-the-cuff thru the
>Circulation module unless they have their media type cancelled.
> Stephen Davies, Library Assistant
> Mount Royal College, Calgary

The interlock you are describing is common in most most Integrated
Library systems. There is a simple solution to this:

The check-out module of the Integrated Library System should process
any item that is also "bookable" by automatically testing if this
loan period conflicts with an existing booking:
- if it does conflict then not allow the check-out (but it should
display whether a shorter period is available)
- if it does not conflict then it should automatically place a
booking for that check-out period (yes some book systems
don't, which is a little hard on the people using the scheduling
module :-)

Now all you have to do is convince the vendor to do the programming :-)

I find it funny that in many cases Medianet, with its option to
automatically post check-out/in transactions to the book library
system, actually integrates better with the book library circ system
than the "integrated" scheduling module from the book library system.

The separation between book library system's circ and scheduling
modules is one of the things that we warn about in our "short list of
things to look for in an integrated scheduling module". A copy is

regards .. Peter

p.s. If you have a suggestion of any thing else that should be added
to this list of "what may be missing or a hassle", I'd
appreciate you e-mailing it to me .. thanks

Here is a short list of things that you'll often find are missing
from scheduling modules in Book library systems:

- detailed equipment information (e.g. manufacturer, vendor, model,
serial number, lamp part number) entered into authority controlled
fields (ie responses are validated)
- repair records per unit (e.g. dates, client responsible, cost,
description, etc)

- profile of rooms (e.g. specific equipment units in the room,
lighting control, holder of the key, special lens requirements,

- storage location inventory (i.e. what is stored in closets within
- tracking which are the best storage closets to support a specific
room (and check those closets in order of priority)

- support for multiple media centers in one organization to handle
the needs of universities where one department controls equipment
and another controls the media (and each have different policies)

- minute by minute bookings giving multiple advance reservation per
item per day
- If you delivery, pickup and/or setup/pulldown, support start and
end showtime in addition to ship and return times

- charging for usage and extensions (if you are one of those unlucky
media centers that has to bill)

- concept of an 'order' for equipment and software (i.e. the order
of a vcr, monitor and a video can be cancelled, extended, etc as
a unit as well as item by item)

- features controlled by delivery and pickup methods such as setup
and pulldown times, holiday handling, requirements for wanding in
and/or out (e.g. shouldn't have to 'fake' checkout/in a piece of
equipment that an operator takes from a storage closet and then
returns to that storage closet), etc

- features controlled by format (i.e. no one has ever lost a room or
a cable channel so they shouldn't need to be 'wanded in or out')

- option to normally place reservations at the 'title' (e.g.
OHP=Overhead) level and have the system assigning the 'best' unit
(e.g. OHP101) at time of generating paperwork (where best is
determined by considering quality, whether it is already being
used in that building earlier that day, etc.).
- integrated calendar per equipment type per storage location so
you don't have to look at 35 calendars if you have 35 overheads

- user friendly order entry program that allows staff to do their
jobs efficiently:
- a reservation from 10:15am Monday through 3:30pm Tuesday can be
entered as a single reservation (rather than as a separate
reservation for Monday and a separate one for Tuesday)
- the year does not have to be keyed for each reservation
- patrons placing advanced reservations over the phone only need
to provide their name to have their record pulled up
- likewise the operator can do keyword searches on title, subject
and description to provide reference services to patrons
- ability to record the delivery method, destination room and
even the person that placed the order since it often is not
the faculty member

- paper work that includes:
- confirmations (of bookings, refusals and cancellations)
- shipping & pickup lists
- master showing reports
- workorders
- operator activity lists ("activity lists" show a booking
that needs setup and teardown, sorted once under start of
setup time and once under start of teardown)

- integrated reservation and check-out (yes some of the scheduling
modules of Book Library systems actually require that anything
that can be scheduled must be scheduled as a separate step before
it can be checked out)
- check-out must check for any advance reservations

- retention of historical information so you can:
- tell the faculty what was that great title they used last
- determine who last used a specific unit or copy

- production quality title lists and mini catalogues (e.g. two
or three columns, pagenation, subject index, fonts, etc)

- an installed base of media centers with needs similar to yours
that like the product

- Web module for patrons to do their own booking directly that
- immediate confirmation
- automatic list of available dates if preferred dates were not
- ability to order by title number so faculty with existing
lesson plans don't have to do searches.
- searching by series and live links to other members in the series
- predefined media resource guides
- ability to display past and future reservations

Peter Mason Medianet/Dymaxion Research Ltd
E-mail: 5515 Cogswell St Halifax NS Canada B3J 1R2
Phone: (902)422-1973 x 151 Fax: (902)421-1267

++++++++++ Medianet = media & equipment scheduling ++++++++++++