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5 Reasons Why illumin is the Ideal Partner for Academic Libraries

Why is illumin, our Knowledge and Research Management System, the ideal partner for academic libraries? Let us count the ways – well some of them at least!

1. Centralize Your Information

The service and reference workload carried out by academic library staff is significant. Centralizing all information in one place makes for easy search and retrieval of all the task and reference query data. It makes extracting the data, using the analytical reporting feature, accurate and uncomplicated.

Even email “conversations” sent from any form, standard or customized, leave a “trail”. This means email communications are, like other entered data, reportable.

2. Library Size Doesn’t Matter

Many academic institutions have just one library with relatively few staff. They may operate in teams or as individuals who multi-task. illumin makes their challenging workload simpler to manage by recording all their task information in the one system.

Other institutions have multiple libraries on campus, with staff working across more than one library in more than one team, each with different roles! Teams may be assigned various tasks and responsibilities.

3. Reduce Duplication of Research

Library researchers can quickly identify whether someone else has worked on a similar question and see the resources used to resolve it. It saves time.

illumin automatically creates research requests from emails, and researchers can create requests manually from telephone queries. Researchers can link their assigned request to a similar request already created for another library user. Existing requests can be simply duplicated (or not) depending on library policy.

4. Automatically Create a Knowledge Base

Research requests created in illumin will automatically build a knowledge base. Staff can tag these requests to ensure they are grouped in a logical order. Searching the knowledge base is simple and intuitive.

It is a useful tool for logged-in staff to find the correct answers to questions they are frequently asked. In many instances, they will have accurate information at their fingertips. If there is a self-help preference, the knowledge base can be made accessible to the academic library’s users.

5. Accurate Statistical Reporting

Informed decision-making depends on accurate statistical reporting. Many academic libraries use different tools, for example, survey tools and spreadsheets, to track various tasks. It makes completing required reports a nightmare with no guarantee that all information is accounted for.

illumin’s Analytical Reporting feature enables staff to easily:

  • Report on all fields, including custom ones, to generate the data library staff need.
  • Export graphs and tables for inclusion in monthly management reports.
  • Identify every service and task the library delivers.
  • Save or print reports in Excel, PDF, or Word format.

There are over 300 standard reports in illumin. Authorized staff can also create their own custom reports with ease and running them takes minutes, not days. With all information entered in illumin, missing data is a thing of the past.

Multiple Teams with Specific Responsibilities Scenario

Illumin is flexible and customizable. It is a powerful tool for managing the different roles and workflows in a multi-team, multiple library environment.

For our example academic campus library, there are three library locations. Each library has multiple teams, operating within each site, with different responsibilities.

Using illumin allows the team members to enter qualitative and quantitative information in standard or custom forms and fields.

The Dedicated Services Team

Using their mobile devices, this team deals with walk-in questions, so they use a customized form to record information such as:

  • The library location.
  • The time each client enters the library.
  • The broad question – for example, where are the computers, where is the section on a particular subject or “I need help finding…”

The information entered on the custom illumin form used by the services team members is useful. It identifies trends such as:

  • The busiest times for services teams throughout the day – to ensure there is an appropriate level of staff.
  • The most frequently asked questions – this can direct the editing of the library created FAQ sheets and guides meet users’ needs.

The Research Consultation Team

This team provides research consultations. Consultation booking times can be predetermined, for example, 1 hour.

To record the necessary information, they would use a different custom form. The details entered or selected on their form could include:

  • Course code
  • Student ID
  • Clarification questions
  • Tag
  • Priority
  • Resources used to search for the required information
  • Research time

The Subject Guides Team

Most libraries will find “broken” links in their subject guides. Library staff enter these in illumin as a task on their specific form.

The subject guides staff can access them from a queue. They would then locate the broken link, enter the correct link, and reply to the person who reported it in illumin.

Want to Know More?

We at Softlink Information Centres believe illumin is an ideal partner for academic libraries big and small. Check out our short illumin highlights video, and then click here to contact us for more information.