ReShare Implementation: An Interview with Pam Jones, Executive Director at ConnectNY

Photo of Pam Jones

ConnectNY implemented ReShare Returnables in September 2021. Jon Jeffryes, Interim Associate Dean at Grand Valley State University and ReShare Communication Team member, talked with ConnectNY Executive Director Pam Jones about the implementation.

Project ReShare: When did ConnectNY go live with ReShare Returnables?
Pam Jones: September 1. It’s been a little over two weeks.

PR: What features of ReShare are most exciting for ConnectNY?
PJ: The fact that it’s open source and we can have some agency in the development of it going forward. That was huge for us.

PR: What are you hearing from member libraries about ReShare?
PJ: So far, so good. Of course, any time you do implementation you can test all you want in a testing environment and when you go to production it’s always different. Originally, we were going to implement and go live in mid-August but when PALCI [Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation] went live the week before us, there were issues that came out. So, we put ours off for two weeks while those bugs were fixed and those issues were addressed. Then when we went live.

The first week or so, there were a lot of messages about “This isn’t working,” and “I don’t know how to do that.” We got through those and it’s — knock on wood – it’s calmed down this week. But I just saw two emails asking questions, so we’ll see. But we’re getting through it and it seems to be working. Patrons are using it. That’s the bottom line, that that’s working.

PR: What has your experience been like leading up to your implementation?
PJ: Well we were on INN-Reach, Innovative’s product, for the last twenty years, and we needed to exit that, so we did that. We talked with Index Data, the board approved moving to ReShare in late 2020, and I got contracts signed in late December/early January. Then we started the implementation process with Index Data while we were exiting from INN-Reach. So, it was a little hairy for a while, exiting one product and starting to implement another. There is a process to exiting INN-Reach; we wound down circulation and exited. That went very smoothly.

In the implementation, the biggest hurdle for us, was our Sierra and Millennium libraries did not have the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) API added, so they all decided to do implement that. You don’t have to, but it does make things work with your system. It took us a while but the Director of Support Services at Innovative helped us get all of NCIP APIs up and running. That was probably our biggest hurdle, getting all the NCIP set up.

And then getting SSO set up for everybody took a bit of work for the Index Data staff. At most institutions you have to work with your IT department and the library, and in our case, Index Data. They did it and we’re all up and running. We have resolved all but one NCIP issue, which actually had been resolved and now it’s not working again. So, we’re working on that one between Innovative and Index Data and it will get resolved. We’ll figure it out. “It’s brand new,” that’s what I tell everybody. It’s not going to be perfect and we will figure it out.

PR: Other than the NCIP APIs were there any other things you had to deal with around working with different libraries?
PJ: What was nice for us was that we use Basecamp for all of our committees and projects. So, I set up a Basecamp for the systems folks and then I set one up for, what we call the trainers – your practitioners, front line folks. When we were getting everything set up the implementers, the systems Basecamp was super busy. We have staff from Index Data on the Basecamp projects and when there were questions, they helped answer them. We’re going to move away from that pretty soon, but for implementing it worked. There were a lot questions and it was nice because my crew — there’s a lot who are on Alma, and some on Sierra, there’s one on Millennium, there’s one WMS — the Sierra folks would ping and help each other. The same with the ALMA users. They were sharing their settings and knowledge and we got everything figured out. The nice thing is that it actually does work with all the different systems. It gives everybody the same experience.

PR: What advice do you have for others considering ReShare?
PJ: Plan your support for after implementation. Talk to your service provider if you’re not going to be your own host and make sure that you’re able to handle it. Know that it is different and there are going to be a lot more issues maybe than you’re used to. We increased the hours for our members service coordinator recently just to help us going forward with that, because we’re just two part-time people, we’re a small shop.