University of New Brunswick
Ensure seamless user experiences during renovations
“We want to provide a seamless experience for our users. Having the APIs gives us those extra capabilities to integrate with WMS and provide everything in one experience as best as we can.”
Senior Web Developer, University of New Brunswick
University of New Brunswick has been a long-time WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) library. Thanks to a large donation, the library has begun a renovation project to transform the third floor of the main Harriet Irving Library into a modern hub of activities with 3D printers, research staff offices, group study rooms, and other resources. As a result, Senior Web Developer Brian Cassidy explained, “We had to take everything off of the third floor of our main library and move it to the basement.”
Over the winter, for about five months, library staff and student workers physically moved more than 140,000 items. Once that task was complete, Brian said, “We had to rewrite the shelving locations for hundreds of thousands of records. And doing that by hand wasn't going to be easy.” These shelving locations help students and other library users locate the items they find in WorldCat® Discovery, but adjusting all 140,000 records manually “would have been nigh impossible,” Brian said. “It just would have taken forever.”
The cataloging staff approached Brian and his team to develop an automated solution. “We have quite a bit of infrastructure built on OCLC’s APIs,” he said. First, Brian referenced his weekly inventory report, which he transfers from OCLC’s SFTP to a SQL database for his team to work with, and narrowed it down to items from the third floor. Once he’d identified the records that needed to be updated, he used the WMS Collection Management API request and “if that record’s location matched the location we wanted, then we did a quick rewrite and looped over 140,000 records,” he said.
“Updating location information on this many records would have been overwhelming for our cataloging staff to do manually. But it was just a one-programmer job in the end. Any person with reasonable programming chops could do it.”
Updating the records took much less time than physically moving the books. “It took about 48 or 50 odd hours to run through, which is nothing,” Brian said. “And that’s not even manual effort. It’s just letting it run and making sure it keeps going.” During this time, the catalogers were able to continue with their regular daily tasks. “Our cataloging staff thanked me many times over. They’re super pleased when I can give them any insights or automations for their processes.”
In addition to this one-time move, Brian has customized other library services with OCLC’s APIs. He explained, “E-resources, a sub-section of our website, is all API-driven,” which allows for custom searching of the e-collections. “We also have a whole reserves application built, where someone can just scan a barcode to add an item to reserves. We use the WMS Availability API to see if it is available.”
Even during an internal transition, the library has been focused on helping users find the resources they are looking for by integrating some of OCLC's APIs. “Having this knowledge in our back pocket will definitely help us in the future,” Brian said. “There are projects coming that might require mass record changes, and now that we have that confidence, this will just make it that much easier.” He added, “We’re really excited to test out new APIs that OCLC comes up with. We’re happy to be on the forefront.”
- Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
- Serves more than 10,000 University of New Brunswick students
- Supports an institution with more than 65 major research laboratories and 20 leading research institutes
- Enables research from University of New Brunswick that accounts for 70% of all publicly funded research within the New Brunswick province
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