Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Using Technology to Facilitate Search Committee Work in Academic Library Environment

When there is a vacancy at the Ball State University Libraries, the Dean of University Libraries forms a search committee of generally three persons. In discharging their responsibility, the search committee carefully follows many procedures and protocols that lead to identifying the best candidates to invite to interview on campus.

Part of this selection process requires collecting the applicant’s curriculum vitae or résumé, transcripts, and his/her letters of recommendation. Committee members can review, study, and discuss these items by visiting the Dean’s Office where the credentials are held in paper format.

When a candidate is invited to campus for an interview, the job description, interview schedule, and the candidate’s curriculum vitae are posted on the Libraries’ Intranet after a PDF file is made of each of these documents and sent to the Libraries’ Web Developer for posting. After each interview, the Web Developer then removes the documents.

In early March 2007, the University Libraries began to use version 1.0 of software it developed to simplify and streamline the posting of candidate materials to the Libraries’ Intranet.

Calling the software Online Candidate Information System (OCIS), the Dean’s Office Administrator posts digital documents directly to the Intranet. This eliminates the step of sending e-mail and PDF file attachments to the Web Developer. It also reduces posting delays and eliminates the need for the Web Developer to remove a candidate’s documents at the end of a campus interview.

Between now and the end of the calendar year, the University Libraries expect to incorporate several software enhancements to further streamline the handling of each applicant’s documents.

For example, the new version will allow search committee members to view all applicant files at their desktop without requiring them to come to the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office Administrator will be able to identify which documents for each candidate can be seen and by whom. This enhancement holds much promise for improving workflow and access to an applicant’s credentials by search committee members and the viewing of selected documents by the Libraries’ personnel when candidates visit campus.

When the new version of OCIS software is available and after it has been tested, it will be offered to interested libraries for additional testing and improvement.

For more information, contact Robert L. Seaton, Ball State University Libraries’ Web Developer, Library Information Technology Services, RLSeaton@bsu.edu, (765) 285-8032.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(5): 3; May 2007.

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