Live from From collectionHQ to Polaris Reports Innovative Users Group 2015

Daniel April 16, 20158:29 am

As a Deweyless library we’ve been unable to make full use of collectionHQ so I’m hoping this will shed some insight on whether we can get more out of Polaris reporting.

Daniel April 16, 20158:47 am

Oh man… it looks like my updates weren’t going through due to a connection issue. 🙁

Daniel April 16, 20158:48 am

Collection Maintenance using Polaris:

Initial Steps –


Redeploy workload

Redeploy power


Developed a maintenance calendar

Some centralized maintenance activity

Daniel April 16, 20158:48 am

We allowed community libraries to have the power to delete an item.

Daniel April 16, 20158:49 am

The deletion issues wasn’t approached lightly, because there’s no way you can limit what people can and cannot delete

Daniel April 16, 20158:51 am

Collection Maintenance Schedule:

Daniel April 16, 20158:51 am

Daniel April 16, 20158:52 am

Collection Consultants Introduced

Creating specialists 
Analyze data
Train staff
Consult with managers
Daniel April 16, 20158:53 am

The Collection Consultants will be the experts in the field. Helping to make decision how to move the collections around. Not only will they know the software, but also the collections in general

Daniel April 16, 20158:54 am

Collection Consultants are in training right now – things are underway so Jeanne can’t tell you how well it’s working right now because it’s so new.

Daniel April 16, 20158:56 am

For each site, people went out to physically inventory the shelving and how it was being used. Looking at who the shelves are deployed. Is the bottom shelf being used? What about the very top?

Daniel April 16, 20158:57 am

They also took a look at what would the capacity be, and what can you fit on a shelf. You can always fit more picture books in three feet than you can biographies. 

Daniel April 16, 20158:58 am

In any given building, are the shelves being used the way that they ought to be used?

Daniel April 16, 20158:59 am

Daniel April 16, 20159:00 am

One of the challenges lies in the fact that this isn’t a perfect system at all. You can’t always redeploy shelving. You can’t take a range of biographies and move some more easy books over there.

Daniel April 16, 20159:02 am

Daniel April 16, 20159:03 am

Basically, try and give people the tools they need to make intelligent decisions.

Branch A will put things in a red box, put the name of the new library on it, and send it out. They don’t even put it in transit. Each library has a very speedy intake process. For only a short amount of time, the item might have a “wrong” status showing at Branch A rather than B.

Daniel April 16, 20159:05 am

Where are we today?

Public services

Decentralized item delition

Streamlined material disposal

Routine maintenance tasks

Information for staff provided through Intranet

There was no problem with “rogue” staff modifying records to their own ends. In other words, a staff member hasn’t decided that sci-fi book should be in fantasy and then “re-catalogues” the item record.

Daniel April 16, 20159:06 am

The dumpster diving question – not as worried with the disposal of books, but if needed, things can be disposed of in a locked dumpster.

Daniel April 16, 20159:07 am

If you’re operating on a “lean” principle where an item is touched as few times as possible to do a job, then that will also help. Make sure your libraries are properly staffed with the right people and the right amount.

Got permission from the board to increase the staff by 30 FTEs. (O___O)
Daniel April 16, 20159:09 am

Where are we today?

Technical Services

Lean library management

New book process improved

Repurposing a workroom that used to be a staging for the courier bins for shipping items to branches without good reason

Daniel April 16, 20159:10 am

With Polaris, they’ve found no “magic bullet” reports, yet.

I can offer the following advice, get your self a SQL hacker who can write reports and offer them on an Intranet.

Daniel April 16, 20159:12 am

Daniel April 16, 20159:12 am

How do you deal with “last copies” getting pulled?

We run reports on bibs with holds, but no items. Ordering happens based on that.

Daniel April 16, 20159:13 am

Not all branches are staffed by librarians. Some Branch Managers aren’t librarians.

Daniel April 16, 20159:14 am

The Collection Consultants are all librarians.

Daniel April 16, 20159:15 am

How do you get custom reports?

We have a SQL dev on staff – so working with him to build reports needed for collection maintenance. The custom dusty book report was built in Simply Reports and tweaking in Report Builder. Then published through the Custom reports in Utilities & Reports.

Daniel April 16, 20159:17 am

How do you get the data out of Polaris into the Excel spreadsheets?

As the data is exported, it’s put into the spreadsheet that, via formulae and linking, can generate more in-depth data.

Daniel April 16, 20159:17 am

Not only is it good to have a SQL dev, but let’s be honest, there is such an animal as a Excel dev.

Daniel April 16, 20159:21 am

What was your experience with collectionHQ as regards to floating? Went through a sales webinar and seemed to be kinda meh and then there were the issues of probable “people problems.”

Initially, people were excited because they were getting tools to show data things they wanted to say. However, the challenge lay in using it to get stuff in. It was good for getting stuff out. After a workload measuring of a group that was using collectionHQ exclusively, it showed that the workload wasn’t worth the time and money spent.

Daniel April 16, 20159:22 am

Sometimes, there will be email exchanges and announcements where one library will “advertise” a need for more of a collection or a desire to send out more of a collection.

Daniel April 16, 20159:24 am

They switched to email rather than calling someone because one person would call, ask for 50 board books, and then another person would do the same a couple of days later without knowing about the first person calling.

Daniel April 16, 20159:29 am

Some general discussion on how to tweak and “hack” some Polaris reports to get the data you want.

Daniel April 16, 20159:30 am

Check the forums for more info on many of these reports ideas and custom SQL to create your own.

Daniel April 16, 20159:31 am

Comment: One library looked at collectionHQ several years ago and their Collection Manager said there was nothing that collectionHQ could do that she couldn’t do with Simply Reports.

Daniel April 16, 20159:33 am

Is adding a table to the Polaris database all that involved?

Mike does it all the time, using SQL. It’s your own table if you give it a distinct name. If you give it a name like pcl_something then it’ll survive an upgrade.

Daniel April 16, 20159:34 am

That wraps up! Join me at 1:30 pm in Symphony I, II for Your PAC Portal: Going beyond the basics! Dig the Twitter stream for up to date information about IUG 2015!

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