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Biblical Theological Seminary

Improve the quality of your online catalog

Student in the library at Biblical Theological Seminary
Photo courtesy of Biblical Theological Seminary

"Things are constantly being improved. I have actual customer support and training and all the other things I need."

Lydia Putnam
Technical Services Manager, Biblical Theological Seminary

Until recently, librarians at Biblical Theological Seminary weren't confident that the resources students and faculty members found in their online catalog would actually be on the shelves. "I'm the only full-time staff member," explained Lydia Putnam, Technical Services Manager. "For years, we did only the bare minimum behind the scenes to make sure things kept running." She added, "We hadn't done inventory in more than 10 years ... because if we did, we wouldn't have time to do course reserves, which the students need."

However, the library now uses WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) to handle its behind-the-scenes tasks, which has streamlined almost every process they followed. For example, "We used to have five different places to check in periodicals, and now we just click," Lydia said. "Interlibrary loan's integration with circulation has meant that we no longer have to manually email our patrons. …Course reserves have been really simplified." Now that the staff isn't struggling to keep up with day-to-day tasks, they have been able to start not only an inventory, but also a systematic weeding of the collection. "I've found it has been really easy because everything is so integrated. …Having the statistics built into the system and being able to see how many other libraries own something has been very helpful."

"All those small time savings from those individual tasks has given us the time to take on these big tasks that have been pending for years. Allowing us to fully leverage the staff that we have has been really big."

Students and faculty can now find the resources they're looking for in the catalog, and Lydia said they especially like "that everything is right there," in the WorldCat® Discovery Services interface, which serves as the end-user discovery interface for WMS. "I'm pretty sure that our e-book usage has rocketed. The fact that they're listed alongside the print books, and students no longer have to go to a separate platform to see them, is huge." They also love the visibility of the interlibrary loan and hold buttons. "Things that they really wouldn't have realized were options are very obviously options now, so that has been very helpful. We've got a lot more things put on hold than we ever did."

Because of the library's consortial participation, students and faculty enjoy full borrowing privileges at several nearby institutions. Now, when they find an item in WorldCat Discovery, they can see right away which libraries have copies available. "Having that all right there in the record where they can see it is huge," Lydia said, especially for students who commute or take classes at different campuses. And, for the first time, the seminary's large Korean population can search for library resources in their native language. "The students appreciate that the catalog is available in Korean [through the WorldCat Discovery interface]. I've seen a number of them with it set to that."

The combination of the inventory and WorldCat Discovery "is going to improve the quality of our online catalog," Lydia said, "so if the system says that an item in there, it's actually going to be there." Through the WorldCat Discovery interface, "it's so much easier for our students to get what they need," she added, "and every faculty member I've introduced to it thinks it's the best thing ever."

Map showing locaation of Biblical Theological Seminary

Library at a glance

  • Supports an evangelical seminary with 15 full-time faculty members who train students for Christian ministry work
  • Users include approximately 300 full-time students, 38% of whom are international students
  • Collection includes more than 45,000 print items, 400 periodicals and access to e-journals and e-books
  • Students and faculty also have borrowing privileges at many regional theological libraries

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