Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Room Key and Equipment Checkout System

Last week we implemented a new and improved system for checking out study rooms, laptops, cameras and other equipment.

To reserve equipment and group study room keys go to the library website and click on "equipment checkout" on the left hand side of the page. This takes you to the Equipment Checkout page. Once there, click on new system. That will take you to our new Voyager reservation system. Remember, you will need your private id to reserve the equipment.

The reservation system is new and with all software changes problems surface. Please be patient with us as we learn how to make this work better for you. We are confident that soon you will see improvements and the process will work much smoother. One of the improvements that you will see immediately is that the checkout period for laptops is now one week. This was something students were asking for and now we can provide.

The history behind implementing the new system

The primary reason is that the old system was software that was created here years ago. It had become very difficult to work with and impossible to enhance. The current system has undergone so many small tweeks and changes that it would need an entire rewriting to fix many of its problems. Here is a good example of the problem that we experience. Because the software was created before the government changed the dates when we switch from Standard Time to Daylight Savings time, for the past two years every time this happens hundreds of students get overdue fines and notices that are not their fault. Another problem in the software was that we could not easily control how it registered and held group study rooms open. I’ll bet that you have been in the situation where a room was unoccupied that you could have used for just a short time, maybe half an hour. Well the old software would hold rooms open for about an hour prior to a reservation (I’m not sure of the time but I have seen this happen) and we could not over-ride that setting to let someone in to use the room until the people who made the reservation came to use the room. Finally, another reason we went with this system is because it is part of our circulation system and it brings all of our information together. You should be able to go into your library records and see what you have reservations for.

John Pollitz

1 comment:

Dani the Dandelion said...

It would be helpful to be able to make reservations for a laptop ahead of time; I'm writing a paper and I have been using a library laptop- it goes back tomorrow, and then I wanted to get another one- but the system refuses to let me make a reservation, and it does not say whether they are unavailable, or WHY I can't.

I would suggest modifying the error messages so that there's some reason behind them- so that if it's because they are gone, have it say so- and perhaps create a notice on the page to say whether all the laptops are checked out- and if so, when the next laptops will be available for checkout.