April 30th, 2012 by Elizabeth Watts Pope
Ever had your hand cramp up from filling out a whole stack of call slips? Or have you wondered, “What was that book I looked at last October? I’d love to see it again.” (This question actually came up earlier this week and a colleague and I had to go through stacks of call slips for those months to find the one requested, but you’d better believe we found it!)
Have you thought to yourself, as I did that day, “There has to be an easier way”?
Well that easier way is here and we’re calling it My Web AAS (or MWA for short). My Web AAS uses Aeon, an automated request system for special collections libraries, from the company Atlas Systems. You may even already be familiar with it, as other research libraries like Yale’s Beinecke Library and Harvard’s Houghton Library are using the Aeon system.
Starting today, any readers coming in to do research at AAS (including those who have been in before) will need to be registered in our new system, which we are calling My Web AAS. Your MWA account will allow you request items or order copies with a click of the button at the bottom of any record in the AAS Online Catalog. When you click on the “Request” link you will be prompted to log in to your MWA account. After entering your user name and password, you will be taken to a request form already filled out where you either schedule the date you want to look at the materials (which could be today), save the request for later, or cancel it.
What’s so great about the new system is that through it you can submit requests whenever inspiration strikes. From home, from the airport, from the coffee shop — anywhere there’s an internet connection. And you will always be able to login to your MWA account and see your current and completed requests. You’ll even be able to resubmit cancelled requests, or the one for that book you looked at last October without us having to wade through piles of call slips!
You may be asking, “How do I sign up?” You will be able to do so when you arrive at the library, but you can also get the process started by registering online from home.
1. My Web AAS can be accessed from a link on the AAS homepage or by clicking on the “Request” button from any record. Either method will take you to the MWA login page (pictured at right).
2. If this is your first time using the system, click on “First Time Users.” You will be taken to a page listing our policies and links to Frequently Asked Questions (which includes the answer to the question “Why MWA?”). Please read through the information carefully. It will also be available to you in the future in the sidebar menu on your MWA homepage under “About”.
3. After you click on the button signaling you agree to abide by the library policies you will be taken to a form where you will be asked to provide your information and to select a username and password.
4. Click on “Submit information” and your MWA account will be created. You will be taken to your personal MWA homepage (or to a filled out form if you had clicked on “Request” from the online catalog).
Please Note: You will still need to complete your registration in person at the library with a brief orientation, during which we will take your photo and issue you an AAS library card which you will use to be signed in to the system at the reception desk.
In case you ever get nostalgic for the old system, you can check out a previous Past is Present post on “Paper Rituals” that contains images of the call slips. But we hope the convenience of our new system will win you over — and to help those of us who like the tactile experience we have created AAS library cards, which have already become hot commodities. One undergraduate student came in last week to register in the new system (even though she was essentially done with her research) because another student was showing off the AAS library card in the lunchroom.
It’s the thing to have, and we’re holding one for you so come on down!