Posts tagged Library

Here’s a really quick one.

Now we’ve got awesome self service machines in the Library which can print decent receipts, why not rearrange receipts to be a bit more useful? Presenting Receipt v2, which doubles as an awesome bookmark (if you just take out one book… not quite figured out two or more), shows you the due date at the top (so it’s sticking out) and includes a QR code for quickly grabbing more details or renewing.

This is standard 80mm receipt paper (although it would easily move to 70mm if that’s what the machines use) and QR codes are easily readable by all modern mobiles at that kind of scale. Should probably include a web link as well using the magic of Linking You.

Hot on the heels of my ability to extract key information from Zendesk, I’m pleased to announce that we now have two new bits of data available for people to digest. The first one is a set of numbers from our current service desk software, which will (hopefully) be appearing in the ICT service desk sometime in the next week whilst we try hammer through some old tickets.

The next, more usefully for everyone on the academic side, is a summary display of PC availability in the GCW. There’s a bit of worry that the numbers may not be 100% accurate, but we’ve got a hardware audit planned so hopefully by the 24/5 opening these stats will be shockingly accurate, and possibly arranged into zones so you can find a free seat even easier.


There’s been an article recently on Bullet Online about the new self service machines in the library, and how some students find them difficult to use. This, I feel, is a fair point given that it took me a couple of minutes to get to grips with them and I’m pretty darn technology savvy.

What annoys me however is not that the Library didn’t make fixing the problem its number 1 priority (which it should – the system should have been overhauled for usability within days, not 2 months later and nothing done), but what one of the comments on the blog says. I’m not even annoyed at the contents of the comment, but what a subject librarian said when a student rep brought up the issue in a subject committee:

The subject librarin told us that the machines are state of the art and that the library has recived national regonision for this.

How to issue books using the self service machines.

Step back, and think about that. “It’s not a problem, these machines are state of the art”. So was the baggage handling system at Heathrow Terminal 5, and look what happened there. “It’s not our fault that your bags are lost somewhere because we didn’t test and train properly, the machine is state of the art”. That subject librarian should be hauled over the coals. It’s a problem because the student rep has told you it is, so what you need to do is acknowledge it and say what you’re going to do to fix it.

It has taken me a few minutes to put together this poster which explains (very clearly) how to take books out in 8 steps, and what to do if things go wrong. In my personal opinion this is about three steps too long, but these things can be improved on later. It is something like this which the Library should have done as soon as they realised there was a usability issue, not form a subcommittee (yes, there really is one) to discuss how they can improve usability and consider writing some help documentation.