This is an introduction to the technology services offered by SILS. These services are delivered by the SILS Office and have been approved by the SILS Board.
Integrated Library System
SILS uses the Polaris integrated library software to help member libraries manage many aspects of their operations, including tracking assets, facilitating the cataloguing of materials, powering end-user search interfaces and self-serve account pages, and relaying account notifications to third-party services for delivery via email, telephone and SMS. The SILS Office is responsible for maintaining, hosting and configuring this software as required to meet the needs of SILS member libraries.
SILS migrated to Polaris in 2015. SILS Office staff work closely with Polaris product analysts and engineers to develop and implement solutions that meet our member libraries' needs. SILS hosts the Polaris ILS at Canadian owned and operated datacentres with facilities located across Canada.
Web Development and Hosting
SILS implemented the website framework for member regional libraries in 2015. This framework provided a common user experience for public library patrons across the province and allowed libraries to collaborate on new developments. The framework includes an integrated user interface for the SILS catalogue search. The interface was developed by the SILS Office and was designed to be easy for patrons to use. It integrates a number of other services into the library website as well, including readers advisory (recommendations) services. RPL and SPL use the custom software for these integrations to various degrees within their library websites.
The website framework and integrated search and account components are regularly updated by the SILS Office. Improving user experience, the responsive layout for mobile access, and backend infrastructure is often the focus of these updates. Integration of search and account tools directly within library websites is an important component of providing a good online user experience.
Mobile apps for iOS and Android were launched in the fall of 2017. The apps, developed and maintained by SILS staff, provide patrons with access to catalogue search and library account functions, such as the ability to refine a search, place and manage holds, renew items, view reading history, and check hold pickup notifications and fines. The apps are available in their respective app stores and are regularly updated.
The SILS Office maintains the system that electronically notifies borrowers of requests that are ready for pick-up and overdue items. SILS uses cloud-based third-party service providers to deliver notifications generated in the ILS by phone, e-mail or SMS. These service providers are industry leaders that help SILS guarantee delivery of approximately 250,000 notices each month.
Consortium members have the option of implementing an online fines payment system. Member libraries that choose to implement this system will contract independently with a service provider; SILS staff provide support for the technical implementation.
The SILS Office offers consortium members a number of options for data reporting, extraction and formatting of statistics from the ILS. This data allows members to track library use in a number of ways and provides information to assist with decision making. As well as offering members access to a number of staff-driven reporting options, SILS Office staff also build custom reports that are available on CNET using the appropriate library staff credentials. A statistics repository is also available for member library staff.
In addition to the standard ILS reporting options, the SILS Office introduced a real time visual reporting service in the fall of 2016. The purpose of this service is to make data more accessible and more immediately transparent in order to generate an understanding of the volume and types of interactions member libraries have with their patrons via the ILS. The visual reporting service is meant to inspire evidence-based decision making, create an understanding of the data that is common to all staff, help member libraries celebrate their achievements, and discover new and emerging trends. The data is displayed in real time in order to be immediately relevant and to inspire SILS member libraries to make data-driven decisions to improve their services.
The SILS Intranet is accessible to member library staff. It provides a directory, a calendar of upcoming events, and a document repository for library staff and committee members.
Google is the primary email service provider for SILS members. The SILS Office provides support and training for SILS members that self-manage the Google Apps for Business platform. Google Apps for Business is designed to enable organizations to more easily manage email, calendars, documents and online storage. Self-service and limited operational infrastructure are what make the service a good fit for SILS and its member libraries.
SILS Office staff maintain a Helpdesk and they actively maintain a knowledge base for the most common questions encountered with all services. The knowledge base is accessible to all member library staff.
Library2go is a shared province-wide collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks provided by the members on behalf of the consortium. The collection is purchased and maintained by all the public library systems and the Provincial Library and Literacy Office and is available to all public library patrons in the province. The SILS Office helps to coordinate and facilitate this service, and plays a primary role in reporting.
The following services are not offered directly by SILS, but these services are critical to the delivery of public library service in Saskatchewan.
Interlibrary loan services are provided by Palliser Regional Library. Interlibrary loans allow patrons access to materials that are not owned by any Saskatchewan public libraries. Palliser coordinates the loan of these materials from university collections or public libraries outside the province.
Community Net is an initiative of the provincial government which provides libraries with access to a protected, controlled network environment.
Cataloguing is coordinated by the Provincial Library and Literacy Office and performed by staff at designated cataloguing agencies.
Database authentication through EZProxy is managed by the Provincial Library and Literacy Office, which contracts with OCLC to host EZProxy.