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The provision of self-service facilities for library users

Objective

The enormous pressure on libraries of all types, arising from a combination of heavy demand and limited resources, has meant that there is a great interest in a shift towards the concepts of self-service for users. At the same time, the development of client-server systems opens up the possibilities for much wider use of self-service facilities.

The objectives of the project are to examine user requirements for self service, assess their operational impact and explore the technical basis for developments in order to deliver a generalised functional specification for self-service systems in libraries.
Impact and expected results:

The study will provide a clear basis for the introduction of self-service based technological solutions in libraries and stimulate the development of such systems.

The main results expected are:

- reports on implementation and operational issues
- generalised specification for the further development of self-service systems
- recommendations on further work necessary.

All of the SELF partners are commit-ted to the principle of self service and will seek to exploit the outcome of the project.

Deliverables

The most important deliverable will be the functional specification for self-service systems development.

Other deliverables, available for public scrutiny, are:

Operational analysis of self-service systems in libraries;
Consolidated report on functional and technical requirements for self-service in libraries;
Project final report.
Technical approach:

The project was structured into four workpackages, with milestones set after Workpackage 1, Workpackage 3 and at project end.

Workpackage 1 assesses the requirements of both library staff and end-users in regard to self-service, using desk research, questionnaire and interviews.
Workpackage 2 investigates installed systems from the viewpoints of implementation, operation and management.
Workpackage 3 examines the design implications for self-service, with security aspects, of the open systems standard included.
Workpackage 4 will create a functional specification for self-service systems development in libraries.

Information dissemination to a wide audience, culminating in a seminar at project end, is considered to be a key task.

Key issues:

The main technical issues are:

- Scope and requirements for self-service functions;
- Technical platforms and architectures needed;
- Interfaces with other technologies (eg security systems, chip-cards).

Documentation is available from the contact below and from http://www.sppb.se/self/selfeng.htm.

Coordinator

Manchester Metropolitan University
Address
Geoffrey Manton Building
M15 6LL Manchester
United Kingdom

Participants (2)

Dynix Library Systems (Ireland) Ltd
Ireland
National Library for Psychology & Education
Sweden