St. Mary's College, Oscott, is the home of the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, serving the dioceses and religious orders of England and Wales. The Recusant Library at Oscott College holds over 12,000 books and pamphlets, 400 manuscripts and works of Catholic interest published between c.1470 and c.1850. There are, additionally, a number of historical, scientific and medical works.

What range of media do you hold in your library? Is it all catalogued on Heritage?
Books – many printed before 1800, pamphlets, broadsheets, manuscripts. Audio and video cassettes, CD-Roms. All are catalogued on Heritage.
Can you remember where you first heard about Heritage? Did you look at our website before contacting us?
First heard about at Library Exhibition, London, 2004. Subsequently had a presentation demonstration here.
Do you remember how many library management systems you looked closely at?
Four.
What were you looking for in a library management system? What were your priorities?
A system that was user-friendly, as our library is in a residential college and is staffed part-time, so one that would allow for easy self-issuing and returning. Cost – we have a tiny user-base, so had to justify expenditure carefully A modular system that allowed us to purchase bolt-on features as and when needed.
Why did you choose Heritage over the other systems you were considering?
It met all the above; and your presentation was considerably more convincing than the others.
What are your overall impressions of ISOxford staff (this includes Sales, Training and Support staff, plus any Developers you may have dealt with)?
Initial training day – as far as I can recall – was certainly re-assuring, although the 3 of us who attended came away reeling ‘blinded by science’. Subsequent 1-day training here from Eoin Garland was excellent in terms of his input, approach and the work-books he provided. A 1-day course in London in Nov 2007 ‘Tidy up your Heritage Data’ not so helpful; partly through disruption outside of ISOxford’s control; partly as I was unable to apply what was being taught to my situation. I have always found your Support staff to be most patient, courteous and helpful – and I was a complete novice to electronic library management systems & so have made many calls on their time. We have no on-site IT manager, he comes here just one half-day a week, so has many other calls on his time, and in the first 18 months after purchasing Heritage, our server was constantly throwing up problems – had eventually to be completely replaced – so that added to my frustrations & calls on your time.
How did the initial installation process of Heritage go? Did you find it straightforward?
No. Partly because of my inexperience and partly because the initial spread-sheet data which we sent you on a CD, didn’t easily convert when entered onto Heritage fields. Not your fault, but it has meant I have had to re-catalogue several thousand items and to delete those original entries from the catalogue as I have gone along. I also suspect that this has resulted in a mis-match between the actual number.
How have you found the support service from ISstaff?
Always helpful. It may be worth emphasizing how much a one-person operation, as here, depends on a support system, particularly in initial stages. I’m sure that a lot of small institution librarians are in a similar situation. I regard it as a real strength of ISOxford.
Have you used the support website? How useful did you find it?
I have printed off some helpsheets, &, of course, for installing upgrades these have been essential for our IT Manager.
Are you a member of Marvin, our list server? Do you find Marvin a useful service?
I am a member. Occasional items are useful and I print them off for future reference.
How has Heritage improved the day-to-day running of the library and services offered to your users?
We now have a reliable catalogue of the library stock. Previously depended on 2 mutually contradictory card-indexes, neither of which were reliable or, as far as I could tell, ever up-dated, A catalogue with searchable terms (eg.subjects – content – related items) Which shows availability – nos of copies, copies on loan or reserved etc Speed of location (With our Recusant and Rare Books Collections) A catalogue which allows for alternate versions of statements of responsibility: Latinized, Genitive/ Nominative cases. This can be critical for researchers. The range of fields allowing me to show details of binding, provenance etc. I appreciate that in theory most of the above could be entered on a card-index, but I have yet to see one that does. Enables E-mail reminders of over-dues etc.
What are your favourite features in Heritage?
Very user-friendly; esp. since 4.7 Upgrade, the enquiry menu is more attractive. From a ‘super user’ viewpoint, the help buttons really do help Marc compatibility of the fields will prove essential if our Recusant collection was to go onto COPAC or some similar union catalogue in future.
Do you have any other comments you would like to make about ISOxford or Heritage? Would you recommend it/us to other libraries?
I would certainly recommend you – and have done so.

Oscott College have been using Heritage since 2004. They currently have one additional full access licence, two OPAC licences, the Serials Management Module (including Acquisitions) and the Quickcat Online Module.

 
 

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