[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Question about Setting up OU Types

Jason Etheridge jason at esilibrary.com
Fri Mar 6 01:33:40 EST 2009

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 10:10 AM, Catherine Buck Morgan <
Cmorgan at statelibrary.sc.gov> wrote:
> Or considering future expansion, would it be better to have the single
> library listed at both the system level and the branch level, with the
> holdings and users at the branch level?
> Actually, I’m not trying to set up the types; I’m trying to set up the OUs
> themselves.

Hi Catherine,

You should definitely consider doing both, and I'd vote for considering
future expansion now, as it may save you from drastic re-organization of
your org tree later.

So one way to think of this from top to bottom (errr, or left to right in
this case):

Consortium ->  Some level or levels of Abstraction -> Physical Locations ->
> Possible sub-locations, sections, departments, etc.
Depth 0    ->  Depth 1                             -> Depth 2            ->
> Depth 3

If you define an org unit at any layer here, the org unit type associated
with that org unit must have an appropriate depth for the org's position in
the tree.  So depending on how you do this, you'll likely need to tweak the
org unit types.

The example hierarchy in a stock install looks like:

Consortium -> System -> Branch -> Sub-library / Bookmobile

System in this case is an abstraction, and not a real physical library, so
the org unit type for that depth has settings that say Can't Have Volumes
and Can't Have Users.  You only want those for locations that are more

System is also more of a political abstraction, but you can organize your
libraries on other criteria, for example, by geography or functional type.
 Perhaps something like this:

Consortium -> Geographical Region -> Political System -> Physical Building

Being from South Carolina myself, I'll take the liberty of constructing a
more concrete fictional example and hopefully not offend anyone (I
personally don't know which libraries are in your consortium).
I'm going to resort to HTML email here to help with the formatting:

> -------------------------------------------+---------------------------------------------------------+
  \                                                    \
>                                     \
   Lowcountry                                           Midlands
>                                      Piedmont
    \                                                    \
>                                       \
     Charleston Public County Library ---------+          Orangeburg County
> Library ----+---------------+           Spartanburg County Public Libraries
      \              \                          \          \               \
>             \               \           \                  \          \
       Main Library   Cooper River Memorial      etc.       Orangeburg
>  Holly Hill    Bookmobile      etc.        Headquarters       Chesnee
>  etc.

If you were to organize your consortium like this, then you would want 4 org
unit types to represent a 4-tier hierarchy, something like: Consortium,
Region, System, Branch

One feature that exists but needs some polish involves a concept called Org
Lassos.  For example, in the hierarchy above, we could arbitrarily group (or
lasso) together Cooper, Orangeburg, and Chesnee and give them a shared label
like "Good Libraries", and then staff and patrons would be able to do a
search against "Good Libraries" and automatically search across just those

Does this help give you any ideas?

Jason Etheridge
| VP, Community Support and Advocacy
| Equinox Software, Inc. / The Evergreen Experts
| phone:  1-877-OPEN-ILS (673-6457)
| email:  jason at esilibrary.com
| web:  http://www.esilibrary.com
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