Monday, July 20, 2015

Network Handling in WISCAT

WISCAT Wisconsin Resource Sharing
WISCAT functionality called Network Handling with Availability Checking, can alert your library users immediately when an item they are attempting to request through interlibrary loan is owned by any member of your consortium's shared catalog.  Until now, WISCAT could only flag requests if they were for items in the requester's own library. 

Here's how it works:

If Network Handling with Availability Checking is enabled, your library patron and staff users will be blocked from submitting interlibrary loan requests for items owned in your shared catalog. Staff are able to override this block when necessary.

Library users will see the following message and relevant options.   

Staff view of the Network Handling message
Yes, connects to your online catalog for the user to repeat the search there. 
No, takes the user back to the request form with the only option being to cancel it and continue searching WISCAT.

Staff Override option is only visible to your library staff logged into WISCAT. Staff have the ability to override the block and place the interlibrary loan request.  

  • If staff does override, no locations from your shared catalog will be added to the request. Therefore, staff would override if the item couldn't be borrowed locally (missing from the shelf, for example) or extra copies are needed. 
  • Network Handling works for multi-copy requests as well as individual requests.

What library staff using Network Handling with Availability Checking are saying:

Charles Clemence, Resource Sharing Librarian, Winding Rivers Library System; WRLSWEB shared catalog:
I've been experimenting with this myself and not surprisingly it isn't foolproof. Like all of WISCAT, it relies on good and consistent cataloging in all the target catalogs. If WISCAT can't match the item in WRLSWEB with the same item in another catalog, you won't get the warning message. Also, WRLSWEB has to be up and responding before the timeout period expires for it to work. But within those limits it's a pretty nifty function. I would think any library with patron initiated requesting would want to enable Network Handling. However it would be useful even for libraries that don't allow patrons to create their own requests.

Barb Young, Interlibrary Loan and Outreach Coordinator, Minocqua Public Library, V-Cat (Mid-Wisconsin Library Service) shared catalog:

Network Handling with Staff Override is "a great addition to the whole (interlibrary loan) process."

Light version of Network Handling is also available:

Network Handling can be activated without enabling Availability Checking, to prevent adding the libraries in your own consortium being added as lenders in your interlibrary loan requests. Your library users would not be blocked from submitting requests for items owned in your shared catalog.

Questions or want to get Network Handling set up?

Network Handling is optional functionality a library using WISCAT interlibrary loan may choose to have activated by WISCAT staff at Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning. 

Contact WISCAT staff at or 888-542-5543 ext 1, then press 1.

Written by:
Vickie Long, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning