Supporting Information Technology

Today the use of information technology permeates the entire organization, making system support both a library-wide and a university-wide issue. This presentation describes several types of support for information technology, including some within the library and some outside of it, and also touches on the areas of responsibility that should be considered in building a systems department.

Training for Staff

Staff should receive training in order to make effective use of information technology. Staff training should be continuous and may consist of varying levels from on-campus sources and off.

Basic Support for Staff

Staff have many questions and experience many frustrations in dealing with information technology. One way to deal with this is to have a support group at the department level which can answer basic questions and remediate simple problems. A support group can consist of members from different departments of the library who meet together to share ideas and answers to questions.

Interactions between Systems and User Departments

Most university libraries will need a systems department to provide support for the wide range of information technologies deployed in the library. There must be effective communication between the systems staff and the library departments from the planning stages through implementation and support.

Extended Technical Support and Troubleshooting

The systems department will provide extended technical support, including the setup, installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of the various technologies used in the libraries. What responsibilities it takes on and how it is staffed will depend upon local needs and conditions. Suggested areas of responsibility below.

Extended Technical Support: University Computer Systems and Networking

In a university setting many of the centralized support services will be run by a university computing and/or networking center. This could include administrative information systems (personnel, registration, payroll, benefits), student computer laboratories, the campus network, the telephone system, and linkages to the Internet.

The library, and the systems department, in particular, will need good working relationships with the centralized support services so that the library may benefit from them.

Potential Areas of Responsibility for the Systems Department

Comments: Jerry V. Caswell or Chris Neuhaus
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th St., Cedar Falls, IA 50613-3675
Revised: 21 May 2002