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JerseyCat Update - Fall 2011

News from AG’s User Group Meeting (September 26 – October 6, 2011)

Session 1 - NCIP

(From AG):

“Throughout 2011, Auto-Graphics has continued to dedicate significant resources to NCIP development. While we are working diligently to integrate NCIP into Agent, we have experienced roadblocks with some ILS vendors who are not willing to dedicate the time and resources necessary to implement NCIP. …While there was some frustration in the area of NCIP compliance with other vendors, we were able to complete testing with The Library Corporation (TLC) for Warren County, NJ; this implementation went live on August 26, 2011. Other TLC libraries currently in testing include the Springfield Free Public Library, NJ….”

Basic information on NCIP, from AG’s site:


NCIP, the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol, is a technical standard developed by the National Information Standards Organization and approved by the American National Standard Institute. The standard, ANSI/NISO Z39.83, includes two parts:

• Part 1: Protocol;
• Part 2: Protocol Implementation.

The standard defines a computer-to-computer protocol that exchanges messages between and among computer-based library applications to enable them to perform the functions necessary to lend and borrow items, to provide controlled access to electronic resources, and to facilitate co-operative management of these functions.

Application Profiles Supported

AG supports the Circulation-Interlibrary Loan (CILL) Borrowing and Lending Profiles. These profiles define the subset of messages exchanged between a library's interlibrary loan (ILL) system and its local circulation system.

The borrowing profile permits an ILL item to be checked out to the local patron. The circulation system creates a temporary bibliographic and item record, checks out the item to the patron, processes overdue and recall notices, and discharges the item when the patron has returned it.

The lending profile enables staff to check out an item on the circulation system and have the ILL request updated automatically. The circulation system manages the lending transaction, sends overdue and recall notices to ILL, and discharges the item when the loaned item has been returned.

Both profiles are designed to eliminate duplicate record-keeping, streamline functions, and reduce workload for library staff.

Messages Supported

The CILL Profiles include messages the ILL system initiates and messages the ILS system initiates. AGent Resource Sharing initiates appropriate messages to the ILS, as well as responding to messages sent by the ILS.

AGent Resource Sharing supports the following messages in the CILL Borrowing Profile:

• Lookup User
• Accept Item
• Cancel Request Item
• Check In Item
• Circulation Status Updated
• Item Checked In
• Item Renewed
• Item Request Cancelled
• Item Request Updated
• Item Requested
• Item Updated
• Recall Item
• Renew Item
• Report Circulation Status Change
• Update Circulation Status
• Update Item
• Update Request Item

AGent Resource Sharing supports the following messages in the CILL Lending Profile:

• Accept Item
• Cancel Request Item
• Check In Item
• Circulation Status Updated
• Circulation Status Change Reported
• Item Checked In
• Item Checked Out
• Item Renewed
• Item Request Cancelled
• Item Updated
• Recall Item
• Renew Item
• Report Circulation Status Change
• Request Item
• Update Item
• Update Request Item

Session 2 – E-books and Resource Sharing

AG is working on indexing terminology in order to differentiate items in eFormats from their physical counterparts. Examples given were: eBook as opposed to book, eAudiobook as opposed to nonmusical sound recording, eVideo as opposed to video, and eMusic as opposed to sound recordings. Additional terms: eContent/Downloadable/Digital book/Online content.

They plan to implement these changes in Spring, 2012.

AG is considering an option to remove the “Request” button when an e record is displayed. Also considering adding eBooks to z target libraries’ policies to make them “not lendable.”

AG is working on how/where to identify eBooks in bibliographic fields. Several possibilities were given (apparently suggested at the last meeting). There was no resolution.

New Format Indexing:

Current search category qualifiers include: books/computer files/maps/music/scores/nonmusical sound recordings/serials/visuals.

AG is proposing expanding these qualifiers to include:

Under books: braille/ebook/large print/microfilm/ebook reader.

Under sound recordings spoken: audio book cassette/audio book cd/lp record/audioplayer/eAudiobook.

Under sound recordings musical: audiotape/cd/cassette/lp record/eMusic file.

Under video/DVD: dvd/dvd blu-ray/film/filmstrip/slide/videocassette/eVideo.

Under electronic resource: computer game/computer program/electronic multimedia/online system or service.

Under map: map/atlas/globe.

Under serial: newspaper/periodical/eJournal/microfilm.

Under other: art/flash card/game/kit/picture/toy.

AG is also considering adding new format icons and changing the look of the current ones.

No date was given for these proposed changes.

Session 3 – Iluminar Update

Apparently most AG clients outside of New Jersey aren’t using the Iluminar interface. The AG reps spent a lot of time in this session trying to find out why these libraries aren’t using Iluminar and trying to convince these libraries to turn it on for their patrons.

Many of the attendees from other states complained of Iluminar’s slow load time. They compared it unfavorably to the quick response one typically sees when loading Google. Current average Iluminar load time for NJ is 4.2 seconds.

AG said the response time is slower the first time a patron uses Iluminar. They said after first use it shouldn’t take as long. There was some disagreement about this. AG said they are looking to improve load time response.

AG included a list of changes/enhancements made to Iluminar in 2011.

The list:

Resources headings – default opened/closed.
STOP a search in progress.
Display of (ILL lender).
MARC record display for staff.
My favorite Resources preference.
Advanced search qualifiers for Z-catalogs.
Save “hours” from Iluminar Options to Library Profile.

There was a review of the existing Staff features in Iluminar:

MARC Record display.
ILL requesting.
ILL tracking.

And a note that two more Staff features will be added:

MARC download cart.
Holdings update.

Session 4 – Search Update

AG has revised their search algorithm in order to get more relevant results when the union catalog is searched. This required re-indexing of the union catalogs (done about two weeks ago, with no apparent disruptions in service).

The change was prompted because most people searching library catalogs are looking for books. The re-indexing placed greater weight on the occurrence of the title in certain (specifically the 245) fields. This would theoretically bring the desired item closer to the top in the results.

AG presented PowerPoint slides (not a live demo) showing the results of a search for one book using the old algorithm and the new one. The results showed improvement, but were not perfect (in that the edition of the requested book with most holders was not returned in the first position).

One participant wanted to know why number of holders couldn’t be searched and weighted in the results. We were told that is not possible at the current time.

NOTE: If a book has more than one edition, it is important that the patron or librarian making the search select the edition with the most holders. The number of holders appears in parentheses at the end of the truncated bib record that comes up after a search. It is not obvious to the casual user.

The problem arises because the system only searches for NJ holders of the specific bib record selected. If a record with few holders is chosen, it dramatically decreases the chances of a successful loan, even if other editions of the book are held in hundreds of NJ libraries.

This is an ongoing problem for which there is no system-wide fix. If must be addressed at the local level.

AG also announced that there will be additional changes to the search engine in a mid-December upgrade.

These changes will include:

Improvements to the foreign language interface.
Printing and emailing of lists.
Linking of online content.
SSI searching will be reinstated.
The ability to set a default search.

No specifics on these changes/upgrades were provided. When provided, they will be posted.

Session 4 - ChiliFresh

There was a discussion about using ChiliFresh as a way to enhance your library’s catalog.

Auto-Graphics, Inc. …, and ChiliFresh Enterprises, Inc… . technology collaboration to more flexibly integrate ChiliFresh's Review Engine into the AGent™ suite of library automation solutions and other library systems. The two companies worked together to develop a Web Services application that allows libraries to adapt integrated ChiliFresh content into a customized results set display. Further information at: and

Session 5 – Group Sharing Session

The only thing shared during this session was a discussion of how Kansas libraries have created a system to allow Playaways to “float” around Kansas.

Session 6 – AGent Resource Sharing Future Plans

The AG representatives asked the participating libraries what they would like to see the system do in the future.

Among the suggestions were:

Make the system easier to use.

Expand the search results so that in addition to returning just bib records, the system would return links to Amazon, for example, so that the patron could buy the book.

Or a YouTube link would be returned in case the patron wanted to see a video related to the search.

There was a suggestion to eliminate library cards. Presumably another form of ID would be used.

The final suggestion (wording supplied by AG) was that the system work on circulation based transactions, thus transforming into a mega-circulation based resource sharing system.

The remaining items on the agenda were about the time/cost factor in implementing the proposed changes. They were:

“Would you be willing to give up some smaller improvements to implement these three new features?

“Would you be willing to suspend voting on the Enhancement List for several years in order for AG to focus on these new features?”

Due to a lack of consensus on these issues, nothing was decided.

Session 7 – Self-Service Resource Sharing

The first item in Session 7 was a presentation about a feature that Harvard Library had set up. This is called Library Hose. It uses Twitter and sends out a tweet every time a book is checked out. This innovation was put forth as a marketing tool for libraries and as a service to library users.

I was not alone in failing to see any real advantage in using this. One participant noted that Twitter limits tweets per day and wondered if Harvard had come up against the limit. Another questioned what service was being provided by putting out a constant stream that noted which books weren’t available. (As opposed to, perhaps, notifying patrons when new books have become available.)

Note: While the hypothetical suggestions were being worked through, I went to the Harvard Library site to see how the actual service looked and operated. I got the message that Library Hose had been temporarily suspended. I checked it again today (Nov 2) and it is still suspended.

The next item in session 7 was on Mobile Apps and Resource Sharing. At the present time AG has one mobile app. It is for Verso only, not for resource sharing.

This was primarily an information gathering session. AG wanted to know if meeting participants thought that a mobile app for resource sharing would be something people would want. The discussion centered on how people would actually use this app (Search ones local library from an iPhone, for example, than request an ILL if the item wasn’t available.) AG wanted to know what platforms/devices to build for if this type of app were to be developed.

After a general consensus that an app for resource sharing might be useful, AG wanted to know if participants thought that patrons/users would pay for such an app, and how much. There was no consensus reached.

The next item up for discussion was patron-initiated ILL. AG reports that 47% of NJ libraries offer this. Warren County Library had the most (3,298) patron-initiated Ills in New Jersey.

The discussion focused on why more libraries weren’t offering this option. Those who don’t cited lack of time to set it up as the main reason. The AG rep pointed out the lost time upfront would be regained and more, once the system was in motion and patrons were doing their own requests. This didn’t appear to convince those who weren’t offering the option. From time-saving the reasons moved to a more general “too much trouble” or “too much confusion.”

As someone who sees many patron-initiated requests which have been done incorrectly, I would never say that it is a perfect option. However, overall, it is hard to make the argument that offering patron-initiated ILLs doesn’t save time. Obviously, it does.

Session 8 – Enhancement List

In August, AG sent out a list of 86 possible enhancements to the ILL system. Scherelene posted this survey to the JerseyCat listserv (reaching about 700 libraries), and asked recipients to vote on their preferred enhancements.
I tabulated the votes as they came in, so I could present them to AG.
The first thing to note is that we only got about 20 responses. So, the default vote from NJ users (at a 96-97% rate) was for no changes. It is also possible that users wanted changes that weren’t on AG’s list, but that is speculative.

The responses that we did get showed some consensus in the desired enhancements.

Highest vote getters were, in order: Item 44 / Item 79 / Items 41, 15, 33, 66 (tie) / Items 2, 3, 13, 16, 21, 49, 53, 68 (tie).

Please refer to the enhancement list for particulars on these items.

AG’s discussion of the enhancements included a clarification of items on the list, how they would weight and tabulate the votes, and how they identified items that would be deleted from future voting lists.

At this point an attendee said that some of the items on the list appeared to be identical to items that had been voted on and selected as last year’s enhancements. The AG rep confirmed this. She said that AG hadn’t been able to make last year’s changes, so they had added last year’s high vote getters to this year’s list.

We weren’t actually asked to submit this year’s results until October 26th, so there was no discussion of what actually was requested for this year.

Since AG was not able to implement any of last year’s changes and since the suspension of  voting on the Enhancement List is being considered, it does not appear that changes will be made in 2012.

Session 9 - Future Directions and Closing

The last session was a recap of where AG sees the system going in the future. There were 3 main points:

A continued push toward NCIP.

Continued work on eBooks and eContent.

A Collaboration/Partnership with Indexdata (, which is meant to improve searching, relevancy, etc., with Z39.50 catalogs/libraries.


Casey Confoy 11/2/11