Welcome back to the CORAL Close-up, where we interview a CORAL user and profile their local CORAL system. This month, we’re profiling the work of two CORAL administrators from Olivet Nazarene University (ONU). Ann Johnston, Informatics & Curriculum Librarian, and Matt Marcukaitis, Web Application Manager, handle first-line technology troubleshooting and in-house application development, as well as the eResource management and maintenance functions of their library.
ONU is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and their library serves more than 4,900 students at the Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels. “We are the home to the summer training camp for the Chicago Bears,” Ann and Matt said of ONU, which “also has the third largest marching band in Illinois.” The library employs five librarians, nine staff members, and 62 student workers in three departments: Informatics, eResources, and Curriculum.
In addition to providing extensive e-resource and digital services at four public locations, Ann and Matt have been managing their library’s CORAL instance since the summer of 2017. “In the past, we tried SerialsSolutions ERM for one year,” they report. “Otherwise we have used two different homegrown ERMs for the last eleven years that Ann has been here.” They now perform many of their library’s ERM functions in CORAL and have unique developments on the way:
Getting to Know the System
What modules or tools from CORAL does your institution use the most?
Our team uses mostly the Resources and Organizations modules. Since we have only been using the program for about a year, we are still learning all of its nuances and getting data inputted.
What modules do you NOT use and what do you use instead?
We are currently not using Licensing but have plans to implement it in the future once we have all of our content stable and our workflows seamless. Matt did an extensive examination of the Usage Statistics to see if we could transition to it but he decided that at this time it will not meet all of our needs. We are looking forward to seeing the changes within the new update. He did a research project about the advantages and disadvantages of SUSHI emphasizing CORAL as the tool to collect the data. He is planning on submitting it for publication.
What do you think might be unique about your CORAL instance, something not many other libraries may be doing?
Matt and his student development team have developed three interfaces using CORAL.
- Subject Guide Builder - Using php scripts, designated eResources (from CORAL database) can be added to a web page by simply choosing the correct subjects in the Resources module for each resource. If designated fields are properly filled out, it will also add a description, Organization name, proxy prefix, fulltext description graphic, and a tutorial graphic and link. These scripts can also be organized by type. Our main three types are: Databases, eBooks, and eJournals. (See screenshot or any of our subject guide pages on the library website: https://library.olivet.edu/subject-guides/index.php). The advantage to this functionality is that when the eResource data gets changed in CORAL the changes are automatically reflected on any pages that the eResource is being displayed on. This is useful to the webmaster because everytime a detail changes on an eResource they do not have to make official website changes. This is especially helpful if the resource was listed on more than one webpage. Team members without web publishing training or permissions can make changes to the website through CORAL. Other function
alities that Matt is working on include:
- Adding a new and/or trial graphic to designated resources that will disappear after a specific time period
- Adding a component to CORAL that will actually build the php script based off of requested selections. For example, the description might display, float, dropdown, or not be included.
- The scripts were setup to include code for our specific website CSS code. He wants to design it so that it can be shared as OSS code without specific CSS. This may be as simple as separating the CSS into a separate file.
- Resource Builder - functions identically to the Subject Guide Builder but the code does not use the subjects field in CORAL. It utilizes the CORAL ID of the resource itself. This feature already allows the user to choose specific characteristics like different formats of the description as talked about earlier.
- eResource Checks - designated student employees and staff check the end user experience for all of our eResource platforms and even some specific individual titles. Our homegrown application uses the CORAL database to pull title names and subject page location (from subjects field).
Getting to Know the Users
How many people use your CORAL instance?
There are four of us from Informatics and eResource departments that use it. Ann H. and Ann J. spend most of the time adding and editing content while Matt M. helps them troubleshoot and maintains the actual program. Kent K. is just learning the ropes, but will help with content editing.
How has CORAL been the most helpful to these users (and the users beyond)?
We love CORAL because it has made provisions for all of the nuances of the eResource world. The flexibility with parent organizations and multiple types of organizations has made our content organization more streamlined.
Ann and Matt have been keeping the CORAL limited during these earlier stages of CORAL adoption in their library. "Since we are still learning, we discover new functionalities and uses often," they explain of their approach to CORAL. "We have learned to be flexible and try to make it a priority to make changes when we realize we might not have recorded the metadata as intended." However, the team see new possibilities in CORAL's Workflow options. "Our next goal is to start experimenting with the workflow functionalities in the Resources Module. Once our team is feeling confident, we hope to begin to expand it to other library departments." Ann and Matt have found a lot value in the CORAL user community throughout their adoption. "We really appreciate the CORAL community and those who have reached out to help us with the transition. Hopefully, soon we will be able to return the favor and help strengthen the community." Thanks, Ann and Matt! Your contribution has been great already!
We want to hear about your CORAL! If you'd be willing to talk about your ERM system for the CORAL Close-Up, please hit us up!