Ex Libris Implementation Team Update: March 2021

As we approach the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and our move to online instruction, we are taking a moment to reflect on the past year in reserves. Throughout this year, we have made the leap from primarily physical reserves to a fully digital workflow that is solidly grounded in Alma processes and provided to users through Leganto. This effort included almost everyone in the libraries and was possible only through the hard work of our reserves units, public-facing staff and librarians, directors, and nearly every central unit.

Over the summer, Cabinet approved the Redesigning Reserves proposal to begin this transition. A few highlights from the completed work on this proposal include:

  • Modifying reserves workflows to make use of new metadata fields in Alma to manage evolving reading list and citation statuses added through Leganto
  • Moving and suppressing physical reserves items and the implementation of a chapter scanning workflow in QuickSearch to provide access to portions of these materials to users
  • Adding the Reading Lists tool to the default course shell in Canvas and integrating a Canvas course load into Alma to facilitate the connection between these two systems
  • Developing a focus group centered on improving fulfillment workflow processes, which reviewed the course reserves workflows and suggested modifications to improve efficiency and user experience
  • Forming a copyright queue to address internal course reserves copyright approvals
  • Changing the reserve workflow to center user communications in the local units and include liaisons and selectors at the correct points in the process
  • Sunsetting the course reserves scope, which was centered around print reserves discovery, in favor of the reading lists tool and the Leganto Search, which includes reserves materials in all formats

While we are now successfully providing fully digital reserves for instructors and students, there are still ongoing changes. Some projects in process include:

  • The Fulfillment Working Group and volunteer reserves units from Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick Douglass are testing a new reports strategy in Alma to help reserves units manage reading list and citation statuses.
  • The Instructional Support Group is working on developing new documentation to help instructors create and populate their own reading lists and roll over their existing reading lists each semester to new courses.
  • The Alma Digital Steering Group is creating an outline for how we might implement Alma Digital. This tool would change the reserves process in several important ways including integrated digitization processes, a move away from local server storage for reserves materials, the opportunity to review our reserves content for accessibility, and the potential to provide controlled digital lending.
  • Cabinet will be reviewing a proposal focusing on student usage data collection in Leganto.

Thanks to all the work across the organization on reserves this year, we have not only successfully transitioned the course reserves process to digital instruction, but have improved on it in many significant ways. Though this was a year full of uncertainty and change, we have been able to build new connections across Rutgers and continue our mission to support teaching and learning through course reserves.

Laura Costello