December 7, 2012 By Jessica Renee Napier
Everything is, indeed, impermanent.
The ambiance of libraries has remained the same for many years, but mechanisms by which visitors conduct research have been replaced. Card catalogs are no longer relevant. And once-impressive electronic systems are antiquated. To stay on the forefront of technology, pioneering libraries are looking to the example of Google and Amazon.
In Idaho, the Boise Public Library has had an electronic catalog since 1975. In June, however, it switched from a traditional online system, which required specialized knowledge and advanced search skills, to “smart” search options similar to conducting a Google search.
“Our customers have told us for some time that they wanted a more intuitive interface,” said Chrisanne Brown, Boise Public Library’s Acquisitions & Technical Services Manager. “Unfortunately the products that have been available were missing key features, so library staff had been researching options.”
In 2011, Boise Public Library, which consists of a main library and three branches, began testing new cataloguing systems. By mid-2012, the essential features were in place, and a version was presented to customers as an alternative way to access the catalog.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.