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Education

Boston College University Libraries Revolutionize Access and Distribution Through Mobile Devices

With Logi, Boston College has been able to easily and securely deliver mobile BI to a large number of end users, including students & faculty.

Boston College University Libraries work collaboratively and effectively with Boston College to offer strong and relevant collections and programs to the institution’s more than 14,000 students. Comprised of six academic libraries and an educational resource center, the libraries include a vast physical and digital collection that supports student research and study. This collection has grown progressively over the past decade and now encompasses over 2.5 million total volumes and over 37,000 total serials. Boston College University Libraries’ dedication to cultivating library resources has continuously aided students in achieving academic success for more than 100 years

The Challenge

Academic libraries are constantly trying to promote their services to students and faculty. Each year they are measured by the University in terms of how frequently patrons (students and faculty) access library resources relative to peer institutions. In other words, the success, and in many cases the budgetary allocation for the coming year, is based on how well academic libraries ‘market’ and ‘distribute’ their collections and services.

At the same time, mobile devices of every brand, shape, size and model are prevalent on Boston College’s campus. Students and faculty utilize a broad array of devices, from the latest phones and tablets, to older devices passed on from family members. They rely heavily on mobile devices for communication, to access online content, and to organize their lives. With mobile devices being so entrenched in campus and student life, Boston College recognized the opportunity to not only market their libraries, but to also make content and services convenient and accessible for students and faculty on the go. However, developing, deploying and supporting the broad array of mobile devices owned by students presented a significant challenge. Bob Gerrity, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Library Systems at Boston College, commented that, “Our students use a wide variety of mobile devices, so having a device neutral BI platform is essential.”

The college conducted an exhaustive search for a business intelligence solution that could support their expanding needs. Prior to engaging Logi Analytics, they had relied on an aging platform, Crystal Reports, provided by a traditional BI vendor, Business Objects, which was beginning to fail. As the college began its investigation into upgrading to the latest version of what the vendor provided, they found the complexity and the user-based pricing prohibitive, particularly since they had a mobile application for thousands of students in mind.

They also evaluated several open-source options, but found them overly complex and lacking strength in the core functionality they deemed essential. Specifically, they required interactive reporting, self-service reporting, and the capability to distribute information to a large group of end users through a wide variety of mobile devices.

Getting the app onto a wide variety of mobile devices quickly, with minimal development effort, and without having to use an app store is tremendous value and convenience to IT and our students.

Bob Gerrity - Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Library System

The Solution

Following their intense investigation into BI applications, Boston College Libraries found the solution to meet their mobile BI needs in Logi Analytics.

“Boston College University Libraries selected Logi Mobile because it offered us a business intelligence solution that we could implement quickly with just one developer, has a real strength when it comes to distributing information through interactive reports, self-service reporting, and mobile applications; and had a licensing model allowing us to affordably serve thousands of users,” remarked Mr. Gerrity.

Implementation of the mobile application took approximately two months with one developer, and involved bringing in data from three different applications, all running Oracle databases.

The first application developed by Boston College University Libraries, using Logi Analytics technology, allows students to use their mobile devices to access confidential library account information, browse library catalogues, and place holds on library resources. A second mobile application built and deployed allows librarians equipped with iPads to create lists of library resources to be re-shelved or removed by library volunteers. They were able to create mobile menus, interactive reports showing resources available, tailor to courses that individual students are enrolled in, offer study room booking, catalog search, and even computer lab availability graphs.

The Results

Boston College University Libraries mobile solution delivers information that reaches more than 14,000 students, in addition to 120 librarians and 1,000 faculty members. Students and faculty can now access library services from anywhere, on campus or around the world, from any device.

Mr. Gerrity, commented, “Getting the application onto a wide variety of mobile devices quickly, with minimal development effort, and without having to use an app store is a tremendous value and convenience to IT and our students.”From their phones, tablets, and personal computers, library patrons access a variety of library resources and services, including the ability to book study rooms, which has increased overall visitor utilization. They are able to instantly access an interactive and personalized view of information and resources that are relevant to them, whenever, and wherever they are. The deployment of the mobile application fully supports and complements the components of the University Libraries mission statement of:

  • Providing access to the highest quality scholarly/information resources and services whenever and wherever the users need them
  • Providing leadership and expertise to faculty and students in the creation and dissemination of scholarship in a digital format
  • Improving the physical and virtual environment in order to support user self-sufficiency and productivity
  • Developing an organization that facilitates operational flexibility and fosters collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement

The college has been able to easily and securely deliver BI to a large number of end users, regardless of where they are and what mobile device they are using. With Logi Mobile, Boston College University Libraries have been able to continue their innovative approach to delivering interactive library services that support academic success.

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