Posted on April 26th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
My colleagues in e-Library Services at Lincoln have been spending the last few weeks updating our Library Management System (LMS) – SirsiDynix Horizon. This work included upgrading from v7.34 to v7.51b of the Horizon software itself (and from v3.08 to v3.21 of our library catalogue HiP) as well as moving Horizon off an internal Lincoln server to external SaaS, and re-connecting all the associated systems (access control; Keystone; the 2CQR Lucid self-service touchscreen software, etc.).
We’ve also changed our connection details for remote searching of our library catalogue via the Z39.50 protocol. Our new Z39.50 URL is z3950s://www.library.lincoln.ac.uk:210/lincoln (replacing the old z3950s://126.96.36.199:210/horizon).
A couple of people on Twitter asked why I was bothering. Z39.50 is a national and international (ISO 23950) standard defining a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval – and is pretty much the definition of dinosaur library tech:
But secretly I ❤ Z39.50. Also, a few services listed below—most notably RefWorks—still make use of it. The full details of our new Z39.50 setup are:
And here’s a very short list of registries and services that list and/or make use of our Z39.50 profile. I’ll add to this list if any more come to light.
- Copac, the UK union catalogue, uses Z39.50 in order to include results from Lincoln in Copac “@yourlibrary” searches.
- IESR, the MIMAS-run free and machine-readable catalogue of electronic resources.
- RefWorks’ “Search Online Catalog or Database” feature uses Z39.50 to import results from our catalogue. (We also list a small number of e-databases that can be searched via Z39.50 in RefWorks – I wonder if anyone uses these?)
- The Library of Congress‘s Z39.50 gateway list of library catalogues accessible via Z39.50.
- The Z39.50 Target Directory (IRSpy) —Edit: 24 May 2012
For testing Z39.50 in the past, I have used the free-to-download Mercury Z39.50 Client from Basedow Information Systems. Other client software is available.
Posted on January 31st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
If you visit any of our libraries over the next few days, you’ll be able to check out the new, all-improved self-service touchscreen machines.
We’ve tried to greatly simplify the steps involved in borrowing and returning items from the Library.
The upgraded touchscreens are already in place in the GCW University Library on the Brayford Pool campus, and will shortly be arriving at the campus libraries in Riseholme, Hull and Holbeach. The new screens have clearer buttons; a more logical screen layout; better explanatory text; and background images appropriate to each campus.
There are still some ‘tweaks’ we’d like to make in future, and if you have any questions or comments about self-service in our library we’d love to hear from you… but we hope you’ll find the new touchscreens much easier—and more pleasant—to use. Hope to see you in the Library soon.
Posted on December 23rd, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
Proposed new background images for the Library’s self-service machines, tailored for each campus library. We hope to start using these (or some very much like them)—alongside greatly-improved touch-screen routines for borrowing and returning books—early in 2011.
1. GCW University Library, Brayford Pool
2. Theology Reading Room, Chad Varah House
(Notional – we don’t have self service machines at CVH [yet?].)
3. Riseholme Park Campus Library
4. Hull Campus Library
5. Holbeach Campus Library
Posted on December 13th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
(Pirates. “2CQR“. Geddit?)
I spent the day on Friday, along with a few Library colleagues, just down the road at the offices of our self-service hardware/software suppliers, 2CQR. With 2CQR’s head of Research & Development, we worked through a set of new designs for the touch-screen user interfaces of our green ‘Totem’ self-service machines. As a result, early-ish in 2011 we hope to upgrade the machines in our 4 libraries with more ergonomic, more logical [i.e. better reflecting the real-life process of borrowing and returning books], cleaner and more attractive touch-screen displays.
I’ve found in other user-interface design projects that sitting around a table as a group, arguing through each and every step to which we’re intending to subject our users, is by far the best way to initiate usable and consistent web services. Ideally the design groups should include service providers (e.g. library staff), users (e.g. students), and at least one disinterested party. It’s an approach which ties up a lot of people for a long time, and which requires a special kind of group-pedantry that can grate after a while… but I think it’s much the best way of providing a ‘bedrock’ for later, user-responsive tweaks to a service once it’s up and running.
Posted on August 20th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
Press cutting from CILIP Library + Information Gazette, 12 August 2010; photo from 2CQR’s 21st birthday celebrations. We were there to talk about the University’s purchase and installation of 2CQR’s new RFID “Totem” self-service machines.