The Amigos eShelf℠ Service: a look under the hood

-by Christine Peterson, Amigos eShelfSM Service Manager

The Amigos eShelf℠ Service, the unique new e-book platform created by librarians for librarians, has been up and running since November 2015. Since then, we have been doing our best to get the word out about it to our member libraries through conferences, social media, direct email, and webinars. While all of this has been going on, however, we have not been idle on the development side.

In September, we hired a lead programmer, Jeff Windhorst, and in November an additional programmer, Willy Williamson. They join Robert Williams to give us three full-time staff members on the development side.

Jeff brought much experience with him as well as tools and a structure for development that he implemented almost immediately. We now utilize a modified version of Agile Software Development, as we are too small a group to use the authentic Agile methodology. This type of development revolves around sprints or iterations, which are normally either one or two weeks in length. During that time, each programmer should be able to program and test the functionality given to him for that sprint. This does not mean that we will necessarily release new functionality every two weeks, as it might be a small part of something larger that cannot be released until other pieces are finished.

So, what have we been doing for the past few months? Solidifying the foundation of the platform. We have a prioritized list of functionality, developed by our advisory working group, ready to go. Some items include:

  • Hosting e-books that libraries bring to us
  • Web-based reading of e-books
  • Purchasing collections of e-books
  • Multiple shopping carts and permissions per library

Before starting on this list, however, we have spent the last few months strengthening the platform itself and providing additional functionality, including:

  • Multiple logins and roles per library
  • Use and purchase statistics for libraries
  • During the ordering process, seeing the number of copies of each title already in a library’s Amigos eShelf℠ collection or in their cart
  • Functionality on the Amigos staff side to help us support users and understand use of the service in general

We expect to roll out this functionality to our users in February. After that, our focus will move to the prioritized list of functionality discussed above.

If you have not had a chance to find out about our Amigos eShelf℠ Service, we have posted a recording based on the just-completed series of January informational webinars, "Amigos eShelf℠: Up and Running." The recording includes a demonstration of the service as well as a detailed discussion of pricing.

For more information about the Amigos eShelf℠ Service or to offer comments and suggestions, visit the Amigos eShelf℠ website or contact us by email.