uideline on Selection of Library Management System
An efficient computerized library management system will enhance the effectiveness of the library. The system makes the recording of borrowing simple and provides useful information about library use. When assessing different systems cost, installation, operation and maintenance all need to be considered.
Considerations of selecting appropriate library management system
1. System Functionalities
The purpose of library system is to facilitate schools to establish quality and effective library catalog as a tool for accessing school learning and teaching resources. A good library system should enable teacher librarian to manage library resources in a more effective way and to save administrative effort.
Generally, a typical library management system includes the following functions/modules to process library operation:
Cataloging module is an essential function for a librarian to maintain the bibliographic and item records. To ensure a better support of the communication between Union Catalog and user’s environment, the library system should support the followings: ← MARC21, especially tag 095 and 097
← Various Chinese coding, e.g. Big-5, GB
← Unicode, if possible
This is also an essential function that handles all aspects of borrowing and returning of library materials. In addition, the system should have the capability of supporting fines management and other relevant processes, such as ← Check in
← Check out
← Patron record management
c) Report/statistic generation
To support daily library operation, the library management system is necessary to be able to generate statistical figures and any kind of reports at user’s request. For instance, daily check-in/out statistic reports or reports on: ← Loan activities
← Patron activities
← Any kind of reports to support library activities
To support data exchange, the library management system should be able to import or export bibliographic records, even item records and patron records to/from it. The library management system therefore is important to be enabled with the following requirements: ← Data integrity
← Data accuracy
← Ability to support ISO2709 format
This function allows the librarian to define system parameters (i.e. loan policy), manage and maintain any system setting. Another considerable feature is: ← Security
f) OPAC/Web OPAC
OPAC is Online Public Access Catalog. It is the module to provide a public interface for readers to search the library catalog. Web OPAC is the web version of OPAC to allow readers to access the catalog via Internet. Other considerable features of this module are: ← Searching methods
← Record display
← Online application if any
This is an optional function depending on the demand of a library. It is used to manage and trace an acquisition process of all library materials and other relevant information. Some library systems also include a feature of fund (budget) management.
Serial module enables the librarian to process and manage various serial titles systematically. In general, it may include the following features: ← Routing list generation
← Individual check in box for each issue
Library management system should be able to:
← Support system expansion/upgrading
← Support user customization
← Be compatible with other computer equipments
← Support networking
The system should be:
← Easy to learn
← Easy to maintain
← Easy to fix
Pricing statement from different vendors is recommended to compare with before placing an order. The pricing statement may include the following pricing components: ← Basic modules of the library management system
← License statement
← Additional modules (optional)
← Data migration
← Installation and maintenance charge
← Other hardware/software, if requested (i.e. web server, client workstation, barcode scanner, operating system and etc.)
Maintenance and post-sale customer service
Annual maintenance should be considered to keep. The maintenance package might include: ← Labor charges for installation, on-site visit.
← Cost of parts replacement
← Cost of system upgrade
← Cost of phone/email services
← Free operation manual(s)
To evaluate the performance of the system, the followings could be a reference: ← Time saving
← Manpower saving
← System response time
← Online service, i.e. online renewal, online checking of circulation records
Other features are optional depending on the demand of the library. For instance: ← New book display function
← Feature to support reading activities
← Printing function e.g. spine label printing
Check-list for selecting library management system
A sample of check-list is summarized below for reference:
1. does the catalogue offer all the fields you need?
2. is searching by keyword simple and limitation on number of keywords? 3. is the screen layout clear and user-friendly?
4. can lists be printed?
5. what reports and statistical information can be produced? 6. is circulation straight forward?
7. is the system easy to manage and backup?
8. what systems are other schools using?
9. does the company have a good reputation?
10. what technical support is offered?