Editor’s note: After reading the press release announcing UC Berkeley Law’s selection of a brand new ILS, we reached out to the folks at UC Berkeley Law to tell us more about how this transition happened and how the new ILS compares to their old one. Thanks to Christina Tarr, head of the Cataloging Department at UC Berkeley Law, for this blog post.
We were contacted in September, 2016, by Kathy McCarthy, who had formerly been our Sales Consultant at Innovative and is now the Vice President for Partnership Development for TIND. TIND offered us “ a unique opportunity to work closely with a small group of talented developers to shape an ILS platform to your individual needs. And likely at a much lower cost than what you are currently accustomed to,” and we took them up on it. In August 2018 we went live with TIND.
We had not been actively looking for a new ILS, but when contacted, we found that we were ready to make a move. We’d been with III since the early ’90s when we were one of Innovative’s first customers, and I think TIND offered us now what III had offered us in the ’90s – a new and modern approach to doing our work.
Some appealing things about TIND are that it is new and modern. While Sierra felt like a tank – a specialized but rigid vehicle well suited to doing our work, but with perhaps more horsepower than we needed, TIND is more like a Toyota – light, flexible, and more fuel efficient. For example, because it’s web-based, lists are simple to create, and we no longer need to save lists in a special place. We now just save URLs for searches. In Sierra, of course, we could export lists to excel, or export records to MARCedit and reimport them, but in TIND it’s quicker and easier, and patrons, without our intervention, can export lists of records themselves to Excel, and can easily update their patron records. It’s lighter, and more flexible, and yes, less expensive.
There are drawbacks. TIND built an acquisitions system based on our workflow, and they are still working out some kinks. We appear to be their first real research library client, and there are things, like the lack of a browse feature, that gives us pause (although they have committed to adding this feature). Statistics are not yet as robust as they were in Sierra. Still, I think we are glad we’ve made the change. The flip side of having no browse feature is that searching is great – basically, you can search for anything that’s in the record, you don’t need to use indexes, and you can combine any element. Moving has also caused us to rethink our workflows, and there are things we felt we could not do without that we have now happily forgotten. The collection feature is handy for all sorts of purposes. We like the clean, uncluttered design. The authorities system promises to link headings and authority records in a modern way. We have managed, in TIND, to straighten out our item and patron types in a way we never could in Sierra, though that was probably our fault. And that may, in fact, be part of it – it’s probably not a bad idea to switch systems every now and then, just to reassess messed up workflows that you have been living with for years because you didn’t realize you didn’t need to.
Overall, we are pleased with our new ILS and really appreciate the customer service provided by TIND. Take a look for yourself at lawcat.berkeley.edu.