Recent Posts

Monday, December 24, 2012

Visiting a Local Temple on Nathan Road in Hong Kong

by Michael D. Cooper
December 3, 2012

taurus-headed deity holding a trident

laughing big-bellied buddha-like figure

ah, Quan Yin
how wonderful to meet you again

scholars, warriors

all on the altars of this old temple
where i visit this morning

huge protectors carved from wood blocks
towering seven feet tall
(the cleaning woman got up on a stool
with a washcloth to bathe one
of their fierce faces)

monkey man in the midst
of many revered beings
as devotees light ten sticks of incense
and waft in worship with the fragrance

where is chairman mao now?

undoubtedly in the tao, all of us

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Technology and the Academic Library Supplier

Presented to a library group in China (November, 2012)

For many years I have been operating as the owner and operator of a supply company to academic libraries.  My business, BUSCA, INC., has primarily been a provider of traditional books, music, and DVD films.  Now we are getting more involved in the area of e-books.

Naturally, e-books will continue to be a growing force in libraries.  They have numerous advantages over print books.  However, print books will also continue, for most libraries, to be an integral part of collection development.  This is particularly true of non-scienific specialty fields where the movement to digitize publications has not yet experienced a big impact.

One trend that we have noticed for a while is the demand by customers to be able to directly access their vendor's website.  As a consequence our company has had to develop a sophisticated back-end to our website.  This allows clients to more seamlessly transmit orders from their own ILS software directly to our system.  The motivation was to reduce staff time by eliminating steps involved with data entry redundancies. On a daily basis, BUSCA's Orders  Dept. now uploads and downloads files.  Some customers prefer to use another feature on our website that allows them to search and order items from the bibliographic database on our website.

Our EDI services include receiving orders from EDIFACT, a standard established by the United Nations Economic Commission.  We are now able to interact with various Integrated Library Systems, such as Aleph, Innopac/Millennium, Sirsi, Voyager, and the legacy system BISAC.  To compensate for the ability to receive orders electronically, our programmers had to develop software enabling BUSCA to  invoice our customers via electronic means.  Technical Services, Acquisitions, and Collection Development have also benefited from the capacity to download brief MARC bibliographic records from our website.

All of this website development has required our operation to become more of a technology-based operation. Our staff has had to upgrade skills.  We have numerous ongoing consultants to help us, including a librarian and a professor at Cornell University.  Increasingly I feel that I am running an engineering firm!

Not only have vendors needed to increase communications with libraries to ensure greater system compatability, vendors have had to do the same with other agencies.  For example, BUSCA now is a partner with OCLC, thus allowing us to send some of our customers electronic manifests containing OCLC records for all the books and DVDs that they have ordered and can expect to receive soon from our warehouse.  We must maintain an ongoing relationship with OCLC to upgrade software and help our library clients simplify their cataloging needs.

- Michael Cooper, President Busca, Inc.