I’ve been a little delinquent since getting back from ALA Midwinter. Apologies to faithful readers. In a way, though, I am glad I waited, because I have a segue from my last post about Checkpoint systems.
I was pretty excited a while back about one of the rapidly expanding areas of library automation–library self service, PC reservation, payment systems, etc. I don’t really have a good umbrella name for these services, so please send suggestions.
I was interested to read (belatedly on my part) that 3M has partnered with Comprise Technologies to offer Comprise’s Smart Access Manager (SAM) software to 3M customers. 3M remains a giant in the self-service segment, but I have also been quite impressed with Comprise since meeting them at ALA a few years ago.
Though I have admittedly not done deep research into this space, I find things like the Smart Money Manager pretty interesting. With their self-service payment systems, the folks at Comprise went to the experts in disintermediated point-of-sale transactions–Las Vegas. Makes me want to turn all the lights on and take all the clocks off the walls…maybe patrons would never leave the library. I’m betting patrons would prefer slot machines to most library terminals.
Serve patrons, not computers
This is a bit of a tagline from Userful, providers of DiscoverStation, another provider of the suite of services for which I have no name, but which Userful calls Public Computing Features:
- Patron Authentication
- PC Reservation
- Print Control
- Multilingual & Accessibility Support
- Session Management
- Built-In Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
- Centralized Administrative Control
- Firewall and Virus Protection
- Internet Filtering (CIPA Compliant)
Combine this with the list of self-service offerings from companies like Comprise, Envisionware, Libramation, and others, and it almost looks like public computing and self-service Nirvana. I spend too much time wondering why more public libraries don’t make their web interfaces more attractive. Now I am wondering why academic libraries aren’t copying public libraries to make self service and computer servicing easier.
It’s possible to spend a lot of time investigating these products before one even encounters “RFID” anywhere, though there is a lot of overlap there, too.
[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]