A university library reviews how it processes digital resources
- As with most libraries, the collection’s books, databases and electronic periodicals are acquired in bundles — a trend that has been ongoing for some time. In this case, the library had only superficially reviewed its document processing procedures and was continuing to integrate new resources into the catalogue title by title, just as it did when books were acquired one at a time.
- For library users, this meant long waits before they could access resources. The situation also affected the quality of bibliographic recordkeeping. Staff, in turn, felt as if they were perpetually running to catch up; and with the central service unable to keep up with the demand, processing was becoming haphazard.
- Auditing, mapping and identifying performance indicators in the document processing chain
- Workshops with staff on proposing and validating solutions
- Comparative analysis with other university libraries
- Priorities established and solutions implemented:
- Affirmation of a strategic vision that made the user central to the value chain
- Adoption of a thesaurus offering batch cataloguing
- Procedural updates
- Automated backlog processing of bibliographic records to improve indexing quality and uniformity
- Documents acquired in bundles are now processed swiftly, giving users real-time access to resources.
- Bibliographic records are now of higher quality, improving search results.
- New procedures, now standardized and more systematic, have led to new interuniversity best-practice exchanges; they’ve also helped the library prepare to transition toward a cloud-based integrated library management system.
- Automating certain stages of the document processing chain has freed up resources to focus on cataloguing rare or specialist works.
A financial institution sought a self-classification system that would let it make better use of its documentary resources
- To keep pace with (and keep its staff abreast of) industry changes, the institution’s various divisions multiplied the dissemination of news, procedures and tools related to new products and working methods. This information was distributed over numerous channels — intranet, e-mail, video, etc. — and stored in different systems: an intranet management system, shared directories and a traditional document management system.
- The fast pace of change led to a proliferation of information that was sometimes redundant and often differently classified.
- Staff, who needed this information to perform their duties and meet their customers’ needs, had difficulty identifying that which was the most reliable and up-to-date.
- Corralling information into one collaborative platform
- Developing a corporate taxonomy
- Implementing a trial classification tool to analyze text content and automatically assign terms from the taxonomy to describe subject, type of document, audience, geographic scope, etc.
- The tool’s automatic analysis parameters could be refined to better distinguish the contexts associated with the information (e.g. the word “insurance” could refer to insurance products aimed at clients as well as to the group health insurance that was part of the employee benefits plan).
- The tool was able to automatically and almost instantly classify raw batches of policies and procedures saved in Word format (unstructured documents) with a level of accuracy comparable to that of experts performing the task manually.
- With the taxonomy (shared scheme of classification) integrated into the self-classification tool, all information on a given subject could be easily grouped with minimal indexing, letting different teams quickly share useful information.
- The tool was tried out on large volumes of documents and suggests interesting just-in-time information access options for employees.
An NPO documentation centre supporting research and education updates its services
The retirement of the staff member in charge of the resource library brought about an interruption to service. While some users wished to see services restored quickly, others wondered about taking the opportunity to develop and expand them. The situation gave rise to a strategic reflection aimed at clarifying the resource library’s mission, defining its scope and prioritizing the services it provided to staff.
- A brief analysis identified four areas of documentation: historical archives, the organization’s publications and administrative documents.
- Through workshops, facts and trends associated with these areas were reviewed and the associated needs (relevance of collaboratively developing the collection, physical reorganization of documentary resources, etc.) expressed and debated.
- The action plan included testing the overhauled services and measuring their impact.
- The organization managed to turn a small-scale crisis — a staff departure and the ensuing interruption to service — into an opportunity to mobilize its workforce, who then collectively redefined their resource library, aligning it with the prevailing context.
- The library is now seen as a testing ground for new forms of service, which has expedited the identification of new needs as well as offering a flexible structure with which to meet them and increasing library use.