Hunter Library - IT infrastructure of a library

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2005

15 Pages, Grade: 1.0


Index of Contents

1 Description of the Organization
1.1 Products and Services
1.2 The Size of the Organization
1.3 Basic Strategy
1.4 Major Competitors

2 Assessment of the IT Strategy and Business Alignment
2.1 Overview
2.2 Description of the Organization’s Main Processes, Including Goals and Success Drivers
2.2.1 Public Services
2.2.2 Technical Services
2.3 IT Portfolio
2.3.1 Hardware
2.3.2 Software

3 New Technology Assessment
3.1 The Meaning of Information in the Library
3.2 Advanced Information Management Systems (IMS)

4 Assesment of IT Organizational Structure
4.1 Organizational Structure
4.2 Outsourcing
4.3 Evaluation of the Outsourcing

5 Description of Technology and Architecture

1 Description of the Organization

1.1 Products and Services

Hunter Library is the library of Western Carolina University which has 8,400 students. Its major task is to provide services for the students and faculty members of Western Carolina University. Hunter Library classifies its services into various categories. The first service is called circulation. This includes checking out items, online renewal, reserves (items for use in library), laptop lending, flash drive lending, photocopiers and printers, and microfilm and microfiche readers. The interlibrary loan service offers the possibility to provide material from the networked libraries UNC-Asheville and Appalachian State University. The documents are distributed by a document delivery service called ABC Express. The documents can usually be delivered in one to four days. Due to the service “View My Record” students are able to see online how many documents they have lent and when they become due.

Hunter Library offers special services for various groups. Faculty members can check out books for six months. They also can use an individual consultation, which means that reference librarians are available for assistance. Hunter Library has twelve study rooms which are reserved for faculty members. The faculty article delivery service offers the possibility to hand in a list of citations and to obtain the full texts, regardless of the location. The library has also special services for remote users. One is World Cat, which is a database of books, periodicals, Internet resources, media, and manuscripts catalogued throughout the world. One can use interlibrary loan to request the materials. Remote users can also use netLibrary which includes 10,000 books online. The online catalog can be used to locate items at Hunter Library and the networked universities, which are sent to distance learners. Remote users can also use the databases for magazines, journals and newspapers. A new service called Ingenta offers access to new online articles which are not available at Western Carolina University. They can be obtained within 24 to 48 hours.

1.2 The Size of the Organization

Hunter Library is the largest library in Western North Carolina. It contains 496,970 books and bound periodicals and more than one million units of microform. Interlibrary loan and computer databases offer unlimited resources.

The library has 48 employees. Additionally it employs various temporary employees, for the most part students of Western Carolina University. Hunter Library is partitioned in several departments. The University Librarian’s Office consists of the university librarian and his assistant. The department for access services and the cataloging and acquisitions department have both nine employees. The next department is called craft revival grant and has only one employee. The curriculum materials center employs four people, and the personnel and planning department three. The reference department is the biggest with ten employees. There are also a department for serials and collection development with five employees and a department for special collections with two employees. The last department, systems, is responsible for IT topics and has three employees. The organizational structure is shown in figure 2.

1.3 Basic Strategy

The mission of Hunter Library is to provide a place and the means for the Western Carolina University community to pursue both the discovery and the creation of knowledge. To this end, the library selects, organizes, and preserves resources to support the University's mission. Therefore, considering the position in the value chain, Hunter Library deals mostly with the provision and preparation of information for the users. It has to make sure that all materials needed are available and all users, especially remote learners, have access to the resources.

Hunter Library's goal is to stimulate learning and to teach its customers to use information resources effectively. The Hunter Library Public Services staff strives to provide quality library and information services to in-library and remote customers. Through personalized service and instruction, customers learn how to locate, use, evaluate, and borrow Library resources. Referrals are made when Hunter Library resources have been consulted and the patron needs additional information. Hunter Library has formulated five core values to pursue this strategy. The first is education and lifelong learning, which means that the library supports the University’s mission of learning and teaching. Next, the library appreciates collaboration and consensus with students, staff, faculty and other libraries. Freedom of inquiry is the next value, which means that the library wants to represent a variety of points of view in its resources. Next, respect for the individual patron is cherished by the library. Finally, adaptability is the last core value of the library, which means that the library always seeks new ways of providing information.

1.4 Major Competitors

For a library, any organization that offers information could be seen as a competitor. However, libraries tend to work well with competing groups. For example bookstores could be considered as competitors, but Hunter Library and bookstores often work together for referrals and as partners in community events. The Internet is also a mixed bag. Students tend to use the web at large before they go to focused, library databases. However, Internet technology allows Hunter Library to offer its many services and resources online and is therefore absolutely necessary for its work.

Hunter Library sees its main actual competitors in websites that offer term papers on the Internet, newspapers that charge for articles that can be obtained for free through the library, and companies like This company offers a website with 60,000 full-text books, over 1,000,000 articles, dictionaries, and an encyclopedia for a monthly or quarterly fee.

2 Assessment of the IT Strategy and Business Alignment

2.1 Overview

As shown before, Hunter Library’s major mission is to support the teaching and research needs of the university community with materials and information. In order to accomplish this strategy, it collects, organizes, maintains, circulates, and provides access to materials and data. Each unit of the library is responsible for various parts of these functions and each is critical to the overall success of this support. The services of Hunter Library are provided on Western Carolina University campus, the data and information needed for these services are located on a server in Boone. This INNOPAC Server and the library system software which need to interact with it are provided by a vendor called Innovative Interfaces. WCU shares this server with the UNCA in Asheville and the Appalachian State University.

Hunter Library’s main processes can be split up into two sections: Public Services and Technical Services.

2.2 Description of the Organization’s Main Processes, Including Goals and Success Drivers

2.2.1 Public Services

Public Services is the highest priority function of Hunter Library. Public Services’ purpose is to provide access, circulation, and reference support for materials and information. The main responsibility for these functions is assigned to the Circulation and the Reference Units. The Circulation Unit is responsible for circulation of material to patrons and shelf management of the general book, reference, microforms and periodical collections. The Reference Unit provides individualized assistance in finding materials and information and offers group training and instruction on using the library and its databases.

Critical factors for a successful operation of Public Services include physical access to the library building and access to the INNOPAC library system. These requirements can not be fulfilled if there is a lack of electrical power which means that the complete computer and telecommunications equipment of the library fails. Also, problems will occur if the connection to the INNOPAC library system fails or any of the many databases available via the Internet (Academic Search Elite, Infotrac, FirstSearch, NCLive, etc) can not be accessed. The requirements for minimal Public Services within a part of Hunter Library are at least five microcomputers (one with a barcode/magstrip reader) and access to the INNOPAC library system or the CircBackup software.

A subsection of Public Services is the Web Steering Group which is responsible for the Hunter Library Website. Their mission is to support and facilitate teaching and research at Western Carolina University. They provide information to the students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the University via Internet. The website represents an understanding of the current needs of the University audience, presenting information about the Library’s collections, services, and staff.

For doing so, the goals of the Web Steering Group are:

- Provide access to quality, current, fresh resources, by reviewing and updating the website regularly.
- Promote Hunter Library’s collections and services.
- Enable the users to find the information they need and expect.
- Organize information in ways that are intuitive and useful for the users.
- Present a design, layout, and style that conveys that Hunter Library is usable, understandable, accessible to all, clear, consistent, professional, and above all else, informational.

2.2.2 Technical Services

Technical Services has the second highest priority function in Hunter Library. Technical Services’ purpose is to provide and maintain data for the INNOPAC library system database, to provide physical processing of materials and to manage budgets for new materials. Technical Services supports and maintains the functions of Public Services by keeping the library’s collections and information about those collections current and up-to-date. The main responsibility for these functions is assigned to the Serials Unit, Acquisitions and Cataloging Unit and Collection Development Unit. The Serials Unit is responsible for keeping inventory of the items received by subscription, shelf management of the serial collection, and management of serials budgets. The Acquisitions and Cataloging Unit acquires new materials to add to the collection and is responsible for the maintenance and oversight of the INNOPAC library system database. The Collection Development Unit oversees and selects all new materials and manages the new material budgets.


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Hunter Library - IT infrastructure of a library
Western Carolina University
Information Systems for Competitive Advantage
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ISBN (Book)
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Hunter, Library, Information, Systems, Competitive, Advantage
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M.B.A. Nihat Canak (Author), 2005, Hunter Library - IT infrastructure of a library, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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