Hull College is located on three sites around Hull city centre with an additional site in Goole, all sites have their own library linked to a Heritage catalogue. They have a stock of over 70,000 items and subscribe to 185 journals.
Angie Clark, installed Heritage at Hull College after Bookshelf was taken over by Specialist Computer Group in 1994, as she was forced to choose between Bookshelf, her system at that time, and Genesis, from Specialist Computer Group. Bookshelf, the predecessor to Heritage, was originally written by the same team that have continued to develop Heritage over the years.
Angie initially wrote a specification outlining all the features she wanted from a library management system, then sent it out to a number of prospective suppliers. She chose “all suppliers who fitted the specification in general after checking with VINE* at the Southbank University”. She then involved other senior members of staff in the procurement:
“Three suppliers were willing to tender and demonstrate their systems. I had the Head of Department, Head of IT, Head of Finance, Head of Academic department, Library staff and students attend presentations, got them to score them and after adding in technical weighting awarded by myself and the Head of IT, Heritage was the clear winner.”
In our experience, it is essential to involve colleagues in the initial stages of a purchase decision, so that the responsibility for the choice is shared and others feel like their opinions have been taken into consideration. Angie agrees:
“Without the backing of senior stakeholders it is foolish to make an investment of this size with proposed capital and oncosts involved.”
Following the demonstration stage, Angie requested an evaluation copy of Heritage for her staff to work with:
“At Hull College all my staff at the time looked at each system in rota. It took a lot of time but again staff support is another key implication in the successful implementation of new systems (Management of change principles).”
Angie and her staff were very impressed, not only with the functionality offered by Heritage but also with how it worked, and decided that it was the right solution for Hull College. They were also very happy with the level of service provided by IS Oxford, an opinion they still hold today. In addition Angie has been impressed that IS Oxford works alongside its existing customers to ensure that Heritage continues to meet their changing needs – others clearly agree, as over 90% of customers that have ever purchased Heritage still use the software to this day:
“IS Oxford staff have at all times been friendly, supportive and interested in issues I have. I blame myself for not always keeping up with some of the developments I am waiting for.”
Angie has since moved on from Hull College and is now the librarian at North & North East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust. As soon as she moved to her new position she purchased Heritage to replace their existing system (for more details please see Heritage in Medical Libraries).
Hull College continue to use Heritage and are still very happy with the system. Emily Armstrong, who replaced Angie as librarian, is now looking at ways in which they can increase the level of service they offer, and therefore the library profile within the college using Heritage:
“Heritage helps us to run our library effectively by assisting us in managing our day-to-day routines. We hope to use it to extend our services to our customers in the near future by offering Heritage Online so they can search for resources from anywhere in the college.”
Emily is also very positive regarding her relationship with IS Oxford staff, describing them as “professional and effective”, particularly the support desk team, whom she has found to be “quick and helpful”. She has had no experience with the training team as yet, as “it has not been needed as Heritage is very easy to use”.
The Heritage Support Website has proved particularly useful to Emily; she describes it as her “first point of call before contacting support with a problem”. IS Oxford are constantly updating the website with helpsheets, frequently asked questions, upgrades and patches which can also be downloaded as required. A large support team including a technical author ensure that all Heritage documentation is up-to-date and available to all users via the website in future.
Heritage continues to be developed, extending its functionality whilst retaining its ease of use. Close contact with customers is vital to this process and IS Oxford welcome any suggestions made by customers regarding design or functionality improvements. Heritage development will always been customer-driven, as IS staff realise that this is what has made it the system it is today.
IS Oxford are confident that other college library managers will be as appreciative as Emily of the work put in to date:
“Having worked as an HE systems manager I am incredibly impressed by the reliability of Heritage and its easy-to-use interface”.
Having used Heritage for a number of years now, we recently contacted Emily to ask her how she now feels about Heritage and working with IS Oxford:
Hull College run Heritage a 250 user licence Heritage Online , Self-service, Acquisitions, Fines, Advanced Bookings and the Reader Import Module. Their data was converted from Bookshelf by IS staff. They operate the Moodle VLE and have written a very interesting case study on their use of e-resources.