Nothing but Coal

By Robert Drake

The gift giving season has nearly arrived which means it’s time to make a list.  I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I’ve been pretty good this year, and so I would like the following features added to my ILS or Online Catalog:

  1. Address verification when adding new patrons to prevent data error.  You know, like most websites do when you input an address for shipping.  
  2. Audit logs on API requests and activity (for security and to keep third party vendors honest).  Bonus points if there can be some sort of meaningful connection between the ILS and tools like IFTTT or Zapier that would allow that data to be used with other programs in the world.
  3. The inclusion of a donation option in the online fine payment screen (double bonus points if it allows reoccurring donations ala Patreon)
  4. An automated process for messaging soon-to-expire patrons with Mailchimp or Constant Contract so I can see how many of those emails are opened and have that email look nice.  
  5. Some rational grouping of formats in the online catalog – i.e. group the DVD and Blue Ray or Book and Large Print version on the same bibliographic record.  An extended golf clap if we can specify other items you might want to check out (“Upsells”).
  6. The ability to easily update the content of patron receipts and ILS email notifications.  An extended orchestral applause if content can be pulled in automatically from a calendar or newsletter.
  7. A programming calendar system that uses library card number for reservations and updates the ‘last active date’ or a similar field in the patron record so that program-only patrons can still be identified as meaningfully active.  An iCal export would also be nice.
  8. The addition of a ‘days active’ or similar patron value which would indicate the number of days a patron has performed a circulation activity in order to better identify ‘regulars’ versus infrequent users in a consistent, automated way (who might then be marketed to differently using mailchimp / constant contact.  See #2 and #4)
  9. The ability to distribute management of ILS logins across a consortia by giving local administrators the capacity to add, remove, or update logins within their location but nowhere else.  
  10. Some level of gamification in the catalog such as badges awarded for number of titles read, programs attended (see #7), and so on.  Triple bonus points, two rounds of applause, and a slice of cake if this can be tied in with social media accounts / other marketing.  

I also have a running list of bug fixes, but I don’t want to be greedy.  

Please, please, please, and thank you.

Cordially yours,

Robert Drake is the Assistant Director for Technology Operations at the Nassau Library System.  He volunteers at an environmental center where he cares for a tortoise, a chinchilla, and a pair of wild grouse.  The views, opinions, and positions here expressed are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of NLS, Robert Drake himself, or probably anyone...