Syracuse University Libraries assists University of Rochester in planning high-density storage facility

With fresh experience in designing its own offsite storage facility, Syracuse University Libraries recently hosted staff from the University of Rochester as they begin planning a similar facility for their campus. Rochester is hoping to replicate a number of technical innovations developed by SU Libraries.

Staff from the Access and Resource Sharing and Information Technology departments conducted an in-depth session on all aspects of the development of SU’s year-old high density storage facility. The exchange included a tour of the Facility, an overview and observation of daily operations, and a discussion of the technical customizations to the underlying systems that seamlessly guide the patron through the public interfaces to the proper request forms.

Syracuse and Rochester are comparably-sized institutions that use the same software configuration for library automation: Voyager integrated Library System, ILLiad interlibrary loan, and GFA inventory systems.  These systems are fairly common tools to many American university libraries, but are most often only nominally integrated with one another.

Syracuse University Libraries is the first institution to bridge these systems with a variety of customizations to facilitate online delivery of articles via ILLiad, same-day delivery of print materials, streamlined uptake into the inventory system, and integration with the existing faculty delivery service, all with minimized staff involvement in request processing. The design goals were to enable easy access to materials stored in the Facility via several mechanisms, all from a single starting point in the Classic Catalog.

A number of Libraries’ staff members were involved in designing the protocols and underlying technologies. Charlie Russo and Melinda Dermody of Access and Resource Sharing developed the list of requirements for the streamlined services needed, while Joe Foote, Jeremy Morgan, and Merritt Lennox designed and implemented the code and configurations for the various pieces of software to meet the requirements.

Following presentations on SU’s pioneering workflows and automation by Brian Dobreski at the American Library Association annual meeting, and by Merritt Lennox at the ExLibris North American Users’ Group, SU Libraries has been approached for more information by a number of other institutions, including Notre Dame, the University of Western Michigan, and the University of Rochester.

For background on the Facility, see the introductory video at

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