[Web4lib] Managing course reserves electronically

Jason Kneip jkneip at aum.edu
Mon Dec 13 15:46:22 EST 2010

I've been tasked with coming up with some kind of solution to electronically manage course reserves at my academic library. Our current system, excluding E-Reserves, is purely paper-based where a professor completes a PDF form with their requests and gives it to the library. We are using Docutek for E-Reserves management and access, but do not have the add-on modules which allow professors to complete a web-based form to submit requests. S So I'm looking at creating / implementing a system for both traditional reserves AND E-Reserves where a library staff member will have to manually enter the requests into existing systems (i.e., Docutek for E-Reserves; Voyager ILS for items held on reserve).

I've looked at several library websites where a web-based form has been created to accept course reserves. If you've done this at your library, I have some questions:

1.       When a course reserve request form is submitted, are the contents of the form simply emailed to the appropriate person on the library? Or

2.       Do you use a back-end database like MySQL to store the contents of the form?

Our library is not financially in a position to acquire a commercial software package from a vender, so I'm going the open source route, wherever that leads me.

I have explored Reserves Direct, created by Emory (http://reservesdirect.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) and tried to install it on a local machine. While I think it's a great software package, I haven't been able to successfully get it up and running. I've also looked into modules/plug-ins for open source CMS like Drupal, Joomla, even Wordpress to see if I can adapt anything to fill my needs.

So, if anyone has any experience with course reserves management, could you please offer up any advice on the best route to take for relatively easy and fast implementation? Again, we're not necessary looking to do anything advanced like hook into Blackboard so professors can fill out the forms there, or using LDAP so profs. can use a campus-wide login.

Thanks much,

Jason Kneip

Library Webmaster / Archives & Spec. Coll. Librarian

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