Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Cloudflow: Using a Tailored Workflow and Cloud Computing to Get Better Material Requests from Classroom Faculty


University Libraries


University Libraries

Date Range



When library material request procedures force academic departments into a one-size-fits-all approach, we shouldn't be surprised that they respond with varying degrees of success. Prior to the subject librarian's revamping of their workflow for requests, one humanities department at Grand Valley State University was failing to meet deadlines and variously overspending and underspending targets. What's more, its request lists were punctuated by peculiar requests for obscure, out-of-print scholarship that lacked a clear relationship to the curriculum. Both the department chair and the subject librarian were dissatisfied with the process and open to change. Armed with a creative application of cloud computing and a pair of the department's graduate assistants, the librarian transformed the workflow to procedures that have steered the department toward on-time requests for materials demonstrably more likely to meet the needs of the faculty, their students, and of future patrons. More, the new workflow provides faculty with timely feedback on budgeting, ordering, and title availability while also doubling as needed information literacy instruction that faculty and graduate assistants can apply to their own research activity. This presentation will move from the specifics of this project to a discussion of the larger idea behind department-specific workflows for library materials requests. We'll discuss the conditions that suggest a department would do well with a tailored workflow, the ways new technologies can facilitate these workflows, and the various incentives and processes a librarian can put in place to encourage materials requests that heighten the relevance of their collections to both research and learning.

Conference Name

2011 Charleston Conference

Conference Location

Charleston, South Carolina

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