I know that there are quite a few of you that are really looking forward to getting their “hands on” the new workflows and streamlined processes that we have designed and are developing for serials and acquisitions.
Hopefully it won’t be too long now before we can start rolling this out and sharing more with you. My expectation is that sometime during the autumn we will see it appear as a release that we can apply to your systems. Work has continued without any interruption this summer and we are immersed in testing and quality control checks.
It is fair to say that development has taken much longer than we originally anticipated. This is one of the downsides of using an agile development methodology, a process where we get code from the software engineer and feedback changes before any big release is delivered. The plus side though, is that we get to immediately test, assess and change the system within the development process. In some cases, when testing a process we have ripped up the initial design and completely changed the way that we had planned to do something!
The existing system provides a rich set of features but we conceived a totally new user interface and new streamlined workflows to eradicate frustrations and introduce time saving features. The functionality has been completely redeveloped from the ground up – there is none of the old code / programs used in this new part of the system. As completely new code it takes full advantage of the many improvements to the Microsoft SQL database procedures and Web Browser capabilities that are now available. These programming facilities behind the scenes are not obvious to an end user but they are incredibly important to the future ease of maintenance and performance of the system and we have a development team skilled in applying them for our benefit.
It is extremely important to us that we create a quality solution but it does introduce a time penalty on us. But seeing the system as it is developed and making it a much better experience can only be done once we start seeing how things work. Prototypes take us a long way but testing the process with real data gives much greater feedback. It allows us to take that important step back, to refine and change which results in a far better product for the benefit of all.
As a librarian (and a bit of a perfectionist), I want to make sure we get this right for you and I am confident that once you do get your hands on it, you will agree with me that it has been worth the wait!
As a little teaser, here are some screenshots of what is coming.
Brand New Check-In
The new Check-In screen has a clean modern interface, consistent throughout, lots of white space but with colour to help guide and provide rapid feedback to the librarian. With a straightforward serial title you will be able to perform a check-in with just two clicks! Of course, there are lots of other things you may want to do with Check-In and all those features are still available but crucially without leaving this screen!
We have even integrated access to previous check-ins into this page, so everything is available as and when you need it.
After you have added titles/items to the Check-In summary above, clicking on Complete will finish the process and you will see the following pop up overlay the top part of the check in screen.
A much-awaited feature here is the ability to Un-Receive
and ….. upload attachments and links to records!
Awaiting Payment & Invoicing
We all know that the invoicing process was not very intuitive. It is a workflow that I have been wanting to improve for a while. Well, here it comes and I am really excited by the new Awaiting Payment and Invoice workflow. We follow the same process as Check-In in terms of adding titles to a summary area ready for payment but also in Awaiting Payment better and clearer entries for paying invoices for ongoing orders.
When processing a new invoice, everything is one place. Editing costs, adding notes and uploading the digital copy of your Invoice. A much-improved way of handling delivery costs rounds it out.
Once an invoice has been paid, new features have been added that allow you to “un-pay” an invoice and add Credit Notes.
So hopefully you can see how excited I am for all of us who are interested in improving this aspect of the library’s work.
I would like to thank you for your patience and the feedback that I have received that allows me to introduce these changes.
Once we have the actual release date, you will be the first to know.
– edit: Now Available! Learn more and view our introductory video to Soutron Acquisitions.
Research & Development Director
Graham Partridge – Graham has worked in academic, public and special libraries. His passion is to apply database technologies to make life easier for those working behind the scenes in libraries and serving users. More posts by Graham.
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