Sign Up for the Aspen Pilot Project

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Added by Tara Wood (11/05/2020 - 07:21) , last updated by Tara Wood (11/05/2020 - 08:21)

We are excited to announce that we will begin a pilot phase of the Aspen Discovery platform, beginning December 2020 and running through May 2021. This is an opportunity for your library to have a voice in decisions on the future of our library catalog. 

Pilot libraries will participate in:

  • Hands-on training to configure their individual catalog
  • Usability testing and research
  • Developing design decisions and recommendations for Aspen enhancements
  • Beta-testing the catalog with patrons

If SWAN moves forward with a discovery platform migration, pilot libraries will go live first.

Expectations for pilot libraries

Provide 1-3 pilot project leads 

If your library participates, you must dedicate 1-3 project leads that will work with SWAN staff to conduct research activities with library staff and patrons. Each project lead should anticipate spending 3-5 hours per week on this project.

Project leads will document bugs, errors, and issues during the pilot project to share with SWAN staff. In addition, they will receive training in the Aspen administration interface, and they will be responsible for configuring and testing administration functions in their respective areas. Pilot project leads should be comfortable participating in and leading online meetings.

A library may have just one pilot project lead – this person would fill both the Public Services Lead and Website and Communications Lead roles. 

  • Public Services Lead: This should be a staff member who has responsibilities in reader’s advisory and reference services and regularly works with the catalog to place holds and assist patrons. They would lead efforts around reader's advisory and patron service features.

  • Cataloging Lead : This role would be available to SWAN cataloging libraries only. They would lead the efforts in testing record grouping features in Aspen.

  • Website and Communications Lead: This should be the library staff member who is responsible for managing the library website. This role would lead efforts in building a custom theme and configuring options for your catalog. 

Staff trainings 

In addition to the trainings for the pilot project leads in administrative functions, all library staff serving the public would need to participate in a general staff training. This would likely be around 2 hours, including time for questions. 

Aspen promotion & patron support 

Pilot libraries need to commit to offering Aspen as a “beta catalog” option linked from their websites. Library staff would need to support both Enterprise and Aspen catalogs during the pilot period. In addition, pilot libraries would need to agree to support efforts to gather patron feedback and recruit patrons for research activities through social media services, library newsletters, and other communications avenues. 

Milestones & meetings

The kickoff meeting for the pilot phase will be Monday, December 14th, 2020. Pilot leads will participate in weekly meetings Mondays at 10:00 a.m.

Tentative milestones include:

  • Pilot lead training - December 2020
  • Catalog configuration - December 2020 - January 2021
  • Full library staff training - January 2021
    • Prepare library staff to support patrons in the beta launch.
  • Beta launch - February 2021
    • Aspen is available to patrons as a beta catalog.
  • Research activities - Februrary 2021 - March 2021
    • Could include usability testing, surveys, desk observations, time-capture screen recordings, and other methods.
  • Catalog decision and board approval - March 31, 2021

If the consortium decides to move forward with Aspen, pilot libraries would go live in May 2021.

How to apply

If you want to be a pilot library, fill out the online application form by Thursday, November 19th. SWAN will select 5-7 libraries based on the following criteria:

  • Cataloging libraries: We would like at least two cataloging libraries to participate to help in testing of cataloging functions. 
  • E-resource coverage: Between all of the pilot libraries, we want to ensure we’re testing all of the available e-resource connections to the catalog. We don’t need all of the pilot libraries to have large e-resource collections, we just need collective coverage between all pilot libraries. 
  • Diversity in size and location: Unfortunately the time commitment may mean smaller libraries simply don’t have enough staff to devote to the pilot, but we hope to recruit a sample of libraries that is reflective of the diversity of our membership. 
  • Past participation: We will give preference to libraries and staff that have previously made meaningful contributions to user groups and task forces in the past.