We are researching a potential project to provide library users with seamless access to the four system-supported shared online catalogs (MAGIC, PrairieCat, RSA, and SWAN), the catalogs of other RAILS consortia, and the catalogs of standalone libraries that choose to participate. This will be a multiyear project that will build on the success of similar projects, such as the LINKin library consortium, which provides fast access to the collections of nine standalone libraries within RAILS, Marina in Maryland, and MeLCat in Michigan.
The Overlay Project Working Group (members) is a subcommittee of the RAILS Board Consortia Committee.
Overlay Project Value Proposition
The RAILS resource sharing overlay project will enable
- Seamless discovery and delivery for patrons: click it, find it, get it
- Fast and easy to use from anywhere
- No need to re-enter searches
- Better interlibrary loan service, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness for libraries
- Self-service for patrons reluctant to ask for interlibrary loan help
- Reduction in staff time and effort
- Lower‐cost alternative to OCLC for libraries that want one
- Support for reciprocal borrowing service
(Approved by the RAILS Overlay Project Working Group on September 23, 2015. Revised and approved by the Consortia Committee on October 19, 2015.)
Environmental Scan of Resource-Sharing Overlay Products (Phase One)
At the RAILS Consortia Committee meeting on December 9, 2013, Lori Bowen Ayre of the Galecia Group presented the results of an environmental scan of resource-sharing overlay products in use in other states. The study included four different products:
- Relais D2D
- WorldCat Navigator
Ms. Ayre also described the components, advantages, and limitations of NCIP, the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol. She also suggested some possible future alternatives to the overlay approach.
Ms. Ayre updated her presentation following questions at the meeting. The revised presentation and her final report are posted below.
Additional information about NCIP is available in Mary Jackson's article, "Staff cost savings from implementing the NISO Circulation
Interchange Protocol (NCIP)," published in the Fall 2011 issue (v. 23, issue 4) of Information Standards Quarterly. This article is also included in the environmental scan final report posted below.
Research into Organizational Factors (Phase Two)
Phase two was designed to gather input about what RAILS members would like to have in an overlay product and to identify organizational factors such as governance, administration, finance, staff workload, and resource sharing policies and viewpoints that might affect the success of the project. In the first half of 2015, Eric Craymer, President of Growth Management Consulting, Inc., gathered this input through multiple focus groups, webinars, and a survey. On July 20, he presented his analysis and recommendations to a joint meeting of the RAILS Consortia Committee and Consortia Futures Subcommittee. His presentation and final report are posted below.