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Acquisitions Module

These are raw notes from the 4 focus groups for Acquisitions/Serials that PINES held throughout Georgia. There was attendance by non-PINES libraries, academic libraries, and vendors. These bullets should be treated as thinking and discussion points, and not as a cohesive design document or roadmap. Some of these express desired features, or gripes with existing systems, and some are just questions that got posed. There may be duplicate and contradicting points.

Evergreen Acquisitions Focus Group Meeting

Rome, February 14, 2007


  • Eliminate paper on-order records…allow patrons to place holds on on-order items
  • Interface w/ online order records in large consortium like PINES?
  • Could work like we currently add holdings
  • Already have ability to create on order records in Evergreen
  • Once placed on order…should automatically appear as ON ORDER status
  • Negotiate pricing for vendor ordering systems (like BT Link)
  • If items not available from one vendor … ability to electronically transfer order to another vendor
  • Flexibility to cancel item form an order (so orders not hanging forever)
  • Future notice system…ability for system to remind you to re-order or put order through later if items not yet published, etc.
  • Ability to add notes to vendor re: distribution to facilities, collections
  • Customizable to allow integration w/ accounting system or no integration
  • Hierarchical arrangement of funds, area… ability to history etc
  • GASB34 requirements
  • Encumbered amounts vs. expended (snapshots at anytime/ views)
  • Ability to analyze fund distribution by facilities
  • Choice to allow to enter $$ amount or % to zero out P.O. for (ex. Item costs $37 but $22 remaining)
  • Ability to have several collection dev sites embedded in software
  • Seamless ability to compare order lists w/ catalog/holdings (but w/ ability to override)
  • Ability to also search order lists as well (to avoid duplication within library)
  • Electronic status reports
  • When items confirmed/verified by vendor…ability to upload on on-order records to OPAC/catalog
  • Automatically pull records form OCLC for on order…load in catalog
  • Ability to track who requested the item so that they can be notified when item is received … system print notices, reports (ability to pull by requestor)
  • Ability to search by PO#
  • Ability to either cancel or rollover orders to new fiscal year…including partial orders or line items
  • Flexibility for centralized or distributed selection (or combination)
  • Ability to build working selection lists/differentiate from final orders (most vendors process based on profile tied to order)
  • Flexibility to order daily or on cycles like 1st and 15th of month
  • Ability to see availability from vendors along w/ discounts at one time (comparisons)
  • Real-time inventory (Elizabeth’s Dream)
  • Ability to seamlessly move holds from bad on-order record to new record
  • Ability to notify patrons if holds can’t be filled (o at least create report)
  • Capture/hold/notify patron when item is available
  • At receiving…identify items w/ holds so they become priority (flexibility to print or not)
  • Vendors may fill single copies later than multiple copies (could we create ordering consortia?)
  • Patron notification when titles by favorite authors are added/ on order… ability to place hold
  • EDI – works great except when item missing or wrong item shipped
  • When returning item – ability to credit in system…when credit given…invoicing record includes credit notes, etc.
  • Would live barcode on box…scan and pull up order
  • Flexibility to assign funds at beginning or at end or change/more at least to point of invoice
  • Standing orders…ideally, setup within serials module/ publication schedules;
  • Children’s Service
  • Award winning titles
  • Who’s Who
  • Irregular Publications…at least annual alert (frequent prediction attached)
  • What is overlay point (Acq…on order)

ISBN (but not attached to many media records) Choices…OCLC # Title Author Pub Date ISBN – 10 or 13 digits (must handle both)

  • ERM electronic rights (or resources) managements for electronic databases with subscriptions, rights, prices, licensing off site access, etc

Evergreen Acquisitions Focus Group Meeting

Athens, February 16, 2006

University of Windsor has committed to be the Evergreen development partner for Acq.

Baker & Taylor VP for product development also in the audience.

Evergreen starter list on core Acquisitions "Circle of Fulfillment" functionality:

  • CD: Web-based tools
  • Selection: Selection lists, distribution
  • Acquisition: Acq records from vendors, allocation of funds, transit orders
  • Cataloging, Processing workflows
  • Loading items: shipping notice, MARC records
  • Receiving Invoicing

Audience requirements:

  • Interfaces with multiple vendors so that selections can feed acquisitions w/o rekeying
  • Interface with local accounting systems
  • Encumbrance tracking
  • AFPL appears to have the most complex requirements of the public libraries in this audience with need to track over multiple branches
  • Standards-based interactions with vendors
  • OCLC has acquired "It's so CUL" from Cornell, and is developing a web-based selection tool
  • Financial accounting system interfaces are less standardized than vendors
  • In consortial settings, privacy of financial data is important, with a large amount of granularity
  • Hierarchical fund structures are required, and need to be locally customizable, especially for multi-library/multi-branch systems
  • However, collection analysis and financial accounting systems require different fund structures, or different expressions of the fund structures.
  • Need to be able to attach order lines from multiple sources to a single invoice
  • Flexibility to handle both centralized and de-centralized acquisitions models
  • Ability to query multiple vendor sites simultaneously for pricing and availability
  • Vendor performance metrics
  • Export acq data to Excel for additional analysis
  • Multiple currencies are important for Windsor, some of the others (e.g., Mexico)
  • Mechanisms for handling OP and cancellations
  • Audit trail, but with intelligent flexibility; e.g., ability to delete orders
  • Flexible, timely reporting system, especially for cancellations and selectors
  • Patron notifications, based on acq activity and interest profiles; i.e., "We've just ordered a new Dan Brown book; would you like us to hold it for you when it is received?
  • XISBN searching and matching
  • Management tools for identifying and removing (or de-activating) inactive vendors
  • Able to work with e-book workflows, including lack of physical items.
  • Plan for differences in recurring purchasing (such as serials) versus one-time purchases
  • Ability to track partial receipts for an order line, whether paid in full or not
  • Claiming for replacement item when the original item that was received and paid has been returned
  • Keyboard commands as opposed to lots of mousing

What about Amazon? Windsor uses Amazon heavily; most of the PLs in this audience do not. When used, price and delivery are important. Amazon orders in the SE may be filled from B&T warehouse in Georgia. Amazon is not used by many libraries because its billing model doesn't work as well as traditional book vendors.

Art Rhyno brings a business perspective because he and his wife run a small business (newspaper); he sees OSS OffBiz as a possible component of the Acquisitions module of Evergreen.

B&T envisages a delivery system ("license plating") where the order/invoice information will be represented on a barcode or RFID on the outside of the box, tied to ASN (Advance Shipping Notification). Interest expressed in using RFID tags on items to allow scanning and receiving without opening the box. Vendor error rates are critical for this to work; B&T reports their error rate is 0.2%; i.e, 99.8% accuracy. In a batch receiving process of this sort, library staff need special notifications for exception handling; e.g., rush, hold, special bookplates, etc. However, whenever possible, items should be able to go from receiving directly to shelf with as little intervention as possible; i.e. bypassing cataloging.

B&T argues that there is an insufficient business case for EDI-based monograph order claiming; therefore, claiming functions in the local acq system are an important functional requirement.

Extended discussion and mixed messages on accepting holds for on-order materials because of delayed fulfillment, cancellations, lots of holds on high-demand materials, etc.

The Acq system should be able to provide a single user interface to both the local system and multiple vendor systems, based on web services. Search, select, and order, but enter data once, no matter which vendor actually gets the order. This is impractical for dealing with smaller vendors (esp. without online presences), but would reduce learning requirements for staff, who would only have to learn the local system, rather than each vendor separately.

PINES does not currently permit batch loading of catalog records, but this is a policy issue (to minimize duplicates), not an Evergreen design constraint.

Partial receipts and partial payments complicate things, especially when multiple funds are involved, and credits are needed for damaged/wrong items.

Evergreen Acquisitions Focus Group Meeting

Dublin, February 19, 2007


  • question about different vendors? how can we bring them all in?
  • ordering online.. want to be sure that the invoice has the branch on it
  • are you going to interface with the vendor's software?
  • it's the invoice we can't get right (as far as reconciling which item goes to what library)
  • selection is the easiest part at the moment (with vendor websites)
  • the biggest problem is branches and designations
  • problem of resolving purchase price vs invoice price wrt imported marc records / item attributes
  • question about separation of databases, and non-catalogers putting records in the bib database
  • not a good idea when you order a book to have it go straight to the catalog (concern of reserves getting put on books that aren't or will never be there)
  • we like the shadowing of records idea
  • does not like confirmation reports from the vendors (issues with back orders and cancelled orders, changing titles)
  • librarians who want pre-notifications/etc. for patrons have too much time on their hands :)
  • we miss how many times a book has been checked out (needed for collection development)
  • not too excited about setting up bidding wars between vendors
  • would like to see On Order / OPAC behavior be configurable by library
  • be able to name selection lists, and search by date.. maybe tag lists.. search history for previous orders… duplicate detection
  • it would be nice to have a master list.. ability to merge lists, may reference back to original lists
  • running total of funds available, etc. percentages Display
  • potential discounts, S&H
  • potential for separate funds for S&H, etc. keyboard shortcuts, etc.
  • way to split shipping among the branches wrt that, make it proportional so little branch isn't paying disproportionate amount of shipping
  • invoice per branch (breakdowns)
  • or preferably by fund codes
  • flexibility of how you handle incidental charges, etc.
  • no trust in lower vendor error rate :)
  • way to share a list? buckets for acquisitions, useful for grants (these are good books for this grant, etc.) expirable
  • configurable time frame for placing orders configurable time frame for allowing vendor to fulfill orders, relative to calendar months as well as order dates
  • enter suggested deadlines for funding sources (grants)
  • trivia: more books are returned for damage/defect than they are for being the wrong order
  • very rarely do you get refunds in acq
  • we don't pay the invoice until we get the items (don't prepay either)
  • alerts for at risk-funds
  • afraid of math problems with sub-funds
  • standing orders for new stuff by authors (you don't know how much money you're going to spend) they don't like the uncertainty in standing orders
  • verification/confirmation for standing orders
  • book leasing
  • be able to take money "off the top" for standing orders
  • manage funding by percentage
  • something to help with (alerts?) purchase orders that aren't standing orders that go through a fiscal year changeover Some libs close all such purchase orders at the end of the fiscal year, and re-open them the next year
  • a way to clone purchase orders
  • we try to spend our state money first
  • be nice if you can things as reference or YA Need notes, drop-down lists for common values
  • they don't send damaged books to processing.. it's not even "received"
  • they predict our biggest headache will be getting the stuff into the catalog, patron holds, etc.
  • they don't seem to expect/need a lot out of serials.. biggest issue will be cataloging (some don't want to do that, would almost be better to have a separate system for that they think)
  • if you have a really long order, it's annoying to have a paged interface for orders (need the whole order)
  • be able to pull up every title they have ever ordered (for say, a year) sortable by every single field/element they want it interactive, not a static report
  • different fields for order price and discount price
  • order by, received by, etc. record every person and time involved
  • some folks overspend mentally outside of the system because they expect outstanding issues at the end of the year

Evergreen Acquisitions Focus Group Meeting

Albany, February 20, 2007

  • keep up with the budget (encumberance, remaining, spendable, etc. per category/funding)
  • unlimited accounts/funds/budgets etc. branch specific and summary/overview views… useful breakdowns
  • support multiple people for each "role" or decision point based on privledges/permissions
  • permissions per account/fund/etc
  • accounting breakdowns for state money / local money
  • bridge to accounting at invoice step?
  • auditor gave one librarian a finding because they could not give the number of books that came from a specific fund
  • retail price vs book price vs discount price vs complete price (all fees, etc. for shelf-ready, etc.)
  • We never know how much money we really spend until the invoice with all the fees
  • way to update funds during the year (and have it take care of sub-accounts, etc.) if things change unexpectedly (may need to just take money out or put money in)
  • make it easy.. some top-down approaches are cumbersome
  • realtime money updates
  • question on vendor integration
  • question on On Order, patron holds
  • question on marc records, brief records
  • question on vendors providing records or doing cataloging
  • acq records vs marc records, concern over duplicates
  • centralized evergreen orders (GPLS/PINES does the ordering, processing)
  • branches want to see what's on order (and be to put stuff on hold)
  • duplicate order checking across vendors
  • have a generic order form/page for electronic-less vendors.. templates for snail mail / filled details are saveable and searchable
  • integration with cataloging??? even with manual acq processes with electronic-less vendors
  • outsourcing cataloging
  • if on-order holds are allowed have the hold notices come up during receiving
  • route to right branch upon receiving
  • flag certain items upon receiving for special action
  • can pick and choose which parts of acq to use, turn things on and off
  • protect sensitive funding information based on permissions
  • let us have a choice for anything that can be a choice
  • pricefinder, frugal, vendor comparison, etc.
  • can use acq module apart from Evergreen
  • interested in bidding/auctions for vendors
  • be wary of automation, allow human sanity checks
  • colorful sortable lists
  • icons/buttons
  • multiple totals, predicted vs reality
  • be able to add accounts at any time.. don't lock at first of the year
  • spend certain funds first
  • some libraries have more trouble splitting the books rather than splitting the money (how many books were paid by state funds instead of how much money was spent, etc.)
  • sit down with a good audit firm, find out what is legally required. book keepers, real professionals. Build for future/expected changes in laws, regulations
  • simple fiscal report that shows actual discounts from vendors

% not fulfilled analyze vendor performance time frames damaged goods

  • maybe automated claims
  • vendors have different ways of handling branches.. multiple carts vs branch/collection codes vs multiple PO's
  • ability to copy items across accounts
  • one big cart / selection list
  • tangent: advanced information for focus groups (like the slides Katherine had) to jog ideas
  • separation of staff orders vs library orders
  • move standing order logic to acq module if vendor gives rss feeds of new items
  • ability to link adhoc/unexpected orders to funding sources without dealing with prior encumberance/setup
  • electronic records for adhoc purchases that didn't have purchase orders ("fake" PO's?)
  • notify patron (snail and/or email) for on-order holds where on-order gets cancelled
  • serials: alert/reminder of missed issues is most important thing.
  • electronic claims is also important
  • serials: way to handle patron replacement cost for lost issues (especially if not cataloged as items)
  • serials: auto-weeding-deletion for certain age-based criteria
  • keep a fiscal year active to pay stuff or shut it down and roll over..give choices
  • different fiscal years in use across/within branches
  • comment: eg was easy compared to this (re: legal/financial reporting obligations)

Email Responses

From: Barbara

I think one of the most important features and one of the biggest challenges of an acquisitions system will be standardizing as much as possible, yet allowing local control and flexibility over accounts. Acquisitions will need much more local leeway than a circulation or opac.

We use a home grown system with drop down boxes for budget year, fund name, branch, type of material, and category (adult, juv, etc). We are then able to manipulate the data for each purchase order, and each copy within that purchase order. We can easily correct and change any one piece of data.

scratchpad/acq_focus_groups.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/10 13:34 by

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