Sunday, 29 August 2010

it's alive!

The new semester has arrived; classes start Tuesday, and yesterday was the first serious load-test for the new library management system - textbook check out - 748 books to 130 students, and I think things went pretty smoothly. There were a couple of moments where my assistant was scanning barcodes faster than the system could process them, but the whole system was much more robust than it's predecessor, we didn't run into any data-conversion problems, and the whole process was faster.

I had scheduled longer slots for each batch of students, knowing that because we had books for the new core course, we'd be checking out about 260 more items than last semester, and seeing closer to 100% of the students (plus, I had to re-introduce some paperwork), but I think we could have got away with 30 minute blocks instead of 45 after all. Not a bad problem to have, really - having short breaks between groups meant that there was no chance for long lines to build up, and that I and my assistant got moments of downtime to grab a snack or a drink, which made the whole thing less exhausting than it can be.

I've just checked, and the overnight tweak that was to make sure all the due-dates for the textbooks match up with the end of semester has worked, so I think we're off to a reasonably solid start to the semester, at least as far as the LMS is concerned. Hurray!

There are still some loose ends to tie up, and feedback from students may lead us to undiscovered problems, but having the library records converted and accurate, the OPAC set up, the stock check done and processed, and the staff interface ready and working in time for the start of semester is a pretty good goal to hit!

Switching LMS was never going to be a small job, and we started about 6 weeks later than planned, so the last couple of weeks have been really intensive, and I'm really glad that it's a bank holiday tomorrow, to rest and recover so I can dive into the first week of classes with recharged batteries. (I know it's carnival weekend, but I must admit that the closest I'm going to get to the festivities is a cup of Notting Hill tea from YumChaa)

* Textbook photo by Marquette La, used under Creative Commons, with thanks.

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