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OCLC Website for Small Libraries project makes getting on the Web easy and fast for small libraries

DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 14 February 2012—The Website for Small Libraries project, which began as an OCLC Innovation Lab experiment in 2011, is now available as a beta service for any library wishing to set up its own website.

By participating in the project, libraries will be able to quickly and easily set up a website that provides basic functionality for making small collection information available on the Web, setting up users, checking materials in and out, placing holds, and providing library contact, location, service and event information.

"The goal of the Website for Small Libraries project was easily stated, but not so easily realized," said Mike Teets, OCLC Vice President, Innovation. “We wanted small libraries with collections of 20,000 items or less to be able to have a simple, inexpensive yet functional presence on the Web."

Four South Dakota libraries, as well as the South Dakota State Library, were part of the project’s pilot. "Many of our libraries have a staff of just one or two, and small budgets," said Dan Siebersma, South Dakota State Librarian. "A product that makes it easy for these libraries to have a website with a minimum amount of effort and at a low cost is very desirable. The inventory feature that would allow people to access a library’s collection from the comfort of their home is the icing on the cake."

In order to make the site as easy to use as possible, the site relies on simple editing of predefined templates to populate the Web presence. It can take just a few minutes to have a library site up and available to patrons on the Web, as well as on mobile and tablet devices. The service uses a set of wizards to import collection and user information in a wide variety of formats. It uses statistical algorithms and WorldCat to determine structure and field contents to ease the import processes. Complexity is kept to a minimum by focusing on the minimum fields necessary to make collections accessible.

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