Thanks, everyone, for the links to interesting implementations. It's
definitely given me some inspiration as we start to think about this

I'll give my 2 cents (Canadian, that's $0.016 US today, sorry!) on a few
of Sean's questions below - the ones we've actually given any thought to
yet. We're at the 'hey, this is probably something we should look into'
phase right now, so naturally we haven't covered all of these things.

On 2015-01-28 9:29 AM, "Sean Hannan" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Where is the feature demand originating? Staff? Faculty? Students? Grad
>students? Undergrad students? (Not to exclude publics or special
>libraries, but this seems to be an academic catalog feature, when it shows

This has come up for us as we start (as other academic libraries are) to
think about remimagined libraries of the future and the possibility of a
smaller on-site collection with remote or on-site but not browsable
storage comes up for consideration, and what that would mean for faculty
(especially) who find value in browsing shelves. We're not committed to
any of this yet - right now it's just a thought experiment of what it
would mean.

>What is the level of familiarity with library/library services/library
>systems for those that request this feature?

I try very hard to encourage my tech folks not to worry about that. If
it's a documented user need or helps us strategically in some other way
then we need to have it on the table of things we work on. I can
communicate how hard it will be as part of the priorities discussion, and
if it's a priority, it's a priority, and we move forward. I encourage and
reward 'cool, let's work on that and solve an interesting problem' over
'is this really necessary, do those folks asking us know what we're
talking about?' My apologies if I've read too much into your question,

>Is implementing shelf browse an attempt to work around some other catalog
>deficiency (e.g. weak subject cataloging)?
>Does the corpus have the cataloging data to support such a feature? (A lot
>of ebook packages do not have call numbers, for example.) What¹s the
>percentage? Is that reasonable?

I'm actually wondering if there are better ways to do thematic browsing
than call number, but I know most (all?) do implement this as a literal
shelf/call # browse. But there are probably other possibilities that could
meet the serendipity need that could be worth exploring.

>How do you plan on tracking use of the feature? What would you consider to
>be a success rate? 20% of sessions? 5%? 1%?
>At what point do you sunset the feature? Expand upon it?

I struggle with questions like this because I think they're unfair -
frankly, our organizations don't typically ask questions like this about
e.g. an advanced search or title browse or journal a-z list, so asking it
for THIS feature puts a standard up that we don't use for other things.
Now, I'm all about assessment and collecting lots of data and ongoing
review, but we work on that for *everything*. Sure, we'll put some thought
into this but it's very unlikely something we decide is a priority is
going to get a sunset clause put into it at the beginning when we have all
sorts of legacy stuff that's limping along but of less utility. We always
look at our offerings to decide what stays and what goes, and we'd do that
for this too. But it's not in the culture of our organization to set
strict metrics like this before implementation, and frankly I think we
shouldn't do that. I want the flexibility going forward to shift
priorities as the landscape changes. For better or for worse, library
services are more than math problems. :-)


Jenn Riley
Associate Dean, Digital Initiatives | Vice Doyenne, Initiatives numériques

McGill University Library | Bibliothèque Université McGill
3459 McTavish Street | 3459, rue McTavish
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 0C9 | Montréal (QC) Canada  H3A 0C9

(514) 398-3642
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