Q. Will SUNY be implementing an Automated Fulfillment Network (AFN)?

Answer

The COVID-19 pandemic, the SUNY Online initiative, and general trends in higher education will contribute to a long term increase in online learning in the SUNY system, which means more SUNY library users will not be in the same physical location as their home institution's library.  However, these SUNY library users may be close to another SUNY library.  SUNY Board of Trustees Open Access to Libraries (established in 1974)  allows any SUNY student, faculty, or staff to access any SUNY library collection.  To help better serve all SUNY library users, SUNY Library Services is investigating the possibility of implementing Alma's Automated Fulfillment Network (AFN) Functionality for SUNY libraries.

AFN functionality allows users to:

  • borrow items from any institution in the network as a walk-in borrower
  • request items from any institution in the network
  • pick-up requested items at any institution in the network
  • return checked out items to any library in the network

Example: A user from the University at Buffalo could request an item owned by SUNY Potsdam, pick that item up at the University at Albany, and then return that item to Hudson Valley Community College.

The purpose of this FAQ is to provide information on the following:

Questions about this project should be directed to info@slcny.libanswers.com.

Last Updated January 14, 2020

 

Automated Fulfillment Network Implementation Project Outline, Timeline, and Updates

Project Outline

The purpose of this project is to determine if AFN functionality should be implemented for the SUNY system.

  • Decision on whether to implement an AFN for SUNY will be determined by feedback from all SUNY campuses. 
  • It is possible only some AFN functionality will be implemented.
  • Participation in an AFN is voluntary.  Campuses will have the option of opting out from AFN participation.   
  • SLS staff will handle all configuration work needed to implement AFN functionality.
  • Implementing an AFN will require several hundred hours of SLS staff time.  For that reason, we will not be implementing AFN functionality on a temporary basis.  Implementing an AFN will be a permanent change for the SUNY system.

The Access Services and Resource Sharing (ASRS) working group will be responsible for:

  • Evaluating AFN functionality and configuration options
  • Gathering and assessing AFN feedback from campuses
  • Making AFN policy recommendations to the LSP Advisory Board
  • Assisting SLS staff with AFN training and documentation

 

Project Timeline (as of January 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have a major impact on the timeline for this project.  The current timeline is below, but this timeline is subject to change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

  • February – December:  Monthly Project Update Webinars
  • February – April:  ASRS will evaluate AFN functionality and configuration options, assess campus interest in AFN participation, develop AFN policies, develop plan for implementing AFN functionality, and identify potential beta testers
  • May:  Small group training sessions for AFN beta testers, AFN implementation for beta testers
  • June – July:  Gather and assess feedback from beta testers, small group AFN training sessions for all participating campuses
  • AugustAFN implementation for all participating campuses
  • September – December:  Gather and assess feedback from all AFN campuses

 

Project Updates

Project updates will be posted to Basecamp.  Direct links to those posts are below.

 

Automated Fulfillment Network Workflows

For information on AFN workflows, please visit the following FAQs

 

Automated Fulfillment Network Configuration Options

Walk In Borrowing

Configuration:  The libraries that appear in the "Find user in other institution" dropdown are determined by Fulfillment Network Group configuration in the Network Zone.  All libraries included in the Network Group appear in the "Find user in other institution" dropdown. 

Customization Options:  SUNY currently has a single Network Group for the entire system configured in the Network Zone.  The only way to customize which libraries appear in the "Find user in other institution" dropdown would be to break that single Network Group up into multiple Network Groups.  This is possible, but it would also limit return anywhere functionality, hold request preferred pickup institution, and AFN resource sharing preferred pickup institution functionality to only libraries within a specific Network Group. 

Implementation Options: This functionality has already been implemented without implementing other AFN functionality. 

 

Pickup Anywhere for Hold Requests

Configuration: In order for an institution to function as a preferred pickup institution for hold requests, it must be in the same Fulfillment Network Group and both the Circulate For and Deliver To box must be checked in the Institutions Relations table.  Fulfillment Network Groups are configured in the Network Zone.  The Institutions Relations table can be configured in either the Network Zone or individual Institution Zones.  Institution Zone configuration takes precedent over Network Zone configuration in the event the two tables are in conflict.  Individual libraries within an institution can be removed from the preferred pickup library dropdown by unchecking the "Serves Other Institution" box in the library configuration settings.

Customization Options: It is possible to remove individual libraries from the Institution dropdown by unchecking that library's Deliver To check box in the Institutions Relations table. 

Implementation Options: It is possible to implement hold request pickup institution functionality independent of resource sharing pickup institution functionality through Borrowing Resource Sharing TOU configuration.  It is not possible to implement hold request pickup institution functionality independent of walk-in borrowing and return anywhere functionality.  

 

Pickup Anywhere for Resource Sharing Requests

Configuration: The libraries that appear in the Preferred Pickup Institution dropdown are determined by Fulfillment Network Group configuration in the Network Zone.  All libraries included in the Network Group appear in the Preferred Pickup Institution dropdown. 

Customization Options:  SUNY currently has a single Network Group for the entire system configured in the Network Zone.  The only way to customize which libraries appear in the "Find user in other institution" dropdown would be to break that single Network Group up into multiple Network Groups.  This is possible, but it would also impact return anywhere, hold request pickup institution, and walk-in borrowing functionality. Individual libraries within an institution can be removed from the preferred pickup library dropdown by removing the hold shelf from that library's circulation desk.  Doing that would prevent any items from ever being placed on hold at that library.

Implementation Options: It is possible to implement AFN resource sharing functionality independent of return anywhere and hold request pickup institution functionality.  It is not possible to implement hold request pickup institution functionality independent of walk-in borrowing.  

 

Return Anywhere

Configuration: In order for a library to appear in the Institutions dropdown, it must be in the same Fulfillment Network Group and the Circulate For box must be checked in the Institutions Relations table.  Fulfillment Network Groups are configured in the Network Zone.  The Institutions Relations table can be configured in either the Network Zone or individual Institution Zones.  Institution Zone configuration takes precedent over Network Zone configuration in the event the two tables are in conflict. 

Customization Options: It is possible to remove individual libraries from the Institution dropdown by unchecking that library's Circulate For check box in the Institutions Relations table. 

Implementation Options: It is possible to implement return anywhere functionality independent of other AFN functionality through a combination of Institutions Relations table and Borrowing Resource Sharing TOU configuration.

 

Automated Fulfillment Network Policies

AFN policy proposals will be developed by ASRS based on feedback from all campuses.  These policy proposals will be sent to the LSP Advisory Board for approval.  Approved policies will be posted below.

No AFN policies have been approved at this time

  • Last Updated Jan 14, 2021
  • Views 237
  • Answered By Timothy Jackson

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