I suggest you make it easier to place a hold on library materials. Place
a button on search result pages that links right to a hold for the item
being viewed. It will save so much time and hassle, eliminate errors and
Interim Associate University Librarian for Public Services Barbara Anderson replies...
I don't know if this is your first semester at VCU or if you're a returning student, so welcome or welcome back, whichever applies! And let me congratulate you on your early attention to your studies. It's phenomenal that on the very first morning of classes you're checking the library catalog and placing holds on library materials!
Let me also say that I can't agree more with your suggestion. In fact, a group of library staff has been working on a project that will make it possible to place library holds directly from our online catalog records. We're getting very close to making this operational, but we're not quite there yet.
Probably you're familiar with our online Item Request Form. When you fill this out and submit it, a library staff member receives it via email, analyzes the situation (is the item on loan? is it on order? is it lost?), tries to determine the best and quickest way to obtain the requested item (place a hold, perform a search, request a recall from someone who has it on loan, recommend our interlibrary loan service, etc.), and corresponds with the person who made the request.
When we do activate the "request item" function within our catalog, some of this process will be managed automatically by our online catalog system. Right now we are doing some "behind the scenes" testing of the system. We hope that the resulting workflow will save library users and staff time, process hold requests more quickly and still allow for at least the same level of analysis, decision making and personal communication.
So, thanks again for your suggestion. We're on it!