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Learn More About Your Library's WISCAT Usage with Activity & Request Reports

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Have you ever wondered what percentage of your WISCAT requests end up being filled? Or how many requests are initiated by patrons vs. staff? Would you like to see the titles that your patrons are most frequently requesting? You can find all these statistics and more in the Activity & Request Reports section of the Statistics module when logged into your WISCAT staff account.

 Activity and Request Reports screen with options

There are 5 report types available in this section:

  • Borrowing Activity - Provides activity statistics for your library as a borrower.
  • Lending Activity - Provides activity statistics for your library as a lender.
  • Net Activity - Provides a summary comparison of borrowing versus lending activity.
  • Request Records (Excel only) - Provides a list of records for all requests submitted by your library as a borrower.
  • Lender Response Records (Excel only) - Provides a list of records for all responses to requests received by your library as a lender.

The reports generated are best viewed in Excel-- this way you can change how the data is arranged to suit your needs, or add formulas to give you more information about the data provided -- for example, fill rate is not a column provided automatically in the Borrowing Activity report, but you can figure this out easily by dividing the number present in the Filled field by the number present in the Unique Requests Sent field, then multiplying that number by 100. Note that requests appear as Filled once all activity on the request has ceased and it's marked as Complete, so fill rate calculations work best on data that's not from recent months.

Please contact us with any WISCAT statistics questions!


Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


Top ten most ILL'd titles of 2017

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

At the end of March, OCLC released the top 10 most shared titles in 2017. This list mirrors what we have seen in WISCAT ILL requestsHillbilly elegy jacket art.

For the second year in a row, the most requested title was Hillbilly Elegy. It was published in June 2016 and has been on the New York Times bestseller list ever since. Here are the top 10 in order of popularity:

  1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  2. Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow,Yoshua Bengio, and Aaron Courville
  3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  5. Iris & Lily: Book One by by Angela and Julie Scipioni
  6. Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor by Seth Klarman
  7. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  9. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
  10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Written by:  Christine Barth, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning


Submit a Session Proposal for the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference

Friday, March 23, 2018


Guest post from the WLA 2018 Annual Conference Committee

Started that new cake pan collection this year? Have a fabulous inclusive storytime? Tell us about it!

The 2018 WLA Conference Committee invites you to share your experience and creativity with the Wisconsin library community at our annual conference, to be held on October 23-26, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse & La Crosse Center.

Professionals learn best from their peers. We’re looking for local expertise to provide a relevant, timely, and intentional learning experience at this year’s conference.

Feel free to suggest any program you'd like to present. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need a passion to share what you do. Examples include: your innovative program, a new service you unveiled, unique community collaborations, management hacks, self-care tips, your new safety initiative, and more.

Consider sessions related to topics such as: Advocacy, Diverse Collections, Collaborations, Innovations, Engaging People, Marketing, Social Media, Technology Trends, Support Staff and more.

Submit your proposal here.

First consideration for program proposals is April 6, 2018.

Guest post from the WLA 2018 Annual Conference Committee


New to ILL? Check out some of these helpful resources

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Guest post by Carol Nelson, Minitex

Angels carrying books

There are a lot of great sources for information about interlibrary loan (ILL) on the Internet. If you are looking for ways to connect to other ILL staff, or to read up on trends in interlibrary loan, check out these links:

ShareILL is a website designed and maintained by interlibrary loan staff. You will find ILL codes and guidelines, OCLC Custom Holdings lists created and shared by other ILL staff, and online directories.The "Keeping Current" section has links to conferences, e-mail lists, associations, and publications.

ILLers; a FB Group For Interlibrary Loan is a closed group, so send a request to the group if you would like to join. The posts range from helpful information to examples of the fun and interesting things that happen in our ILL offices. Many members post to the group regularly.

ILL-L is a discussion forum for ILL practitioners in all types of libraries around the world. You will see messages requesting help locating an item, asking for advice, or providing information to other ILL staff.

OCLC-Sharing-L is an email list for announcements, changes, and enhancements to OCLC resource sharing services. Subscribers cannot post items on this list, but it will keep you up-to-date on OCLC news.

@OCLC is one twitter account you should follow when you need information about OCLC outages. When OCLC had system issues this fall, their staff e-mail accounts were also affected. Twitter was the only place OCLC users could get information about the downtime, so OCLC recommends checking here if you suspect system issues.

Workflowtoolkit-l should be on your radar if your library uses ILLiad. This is the best list for sharing news, support, ideas, and best practices for ILLiad.

Library Science Daily is a curated list of links to library news gathered from the web. Reading up on the latest news about libraries will give you something to discuss with your colleagues in the breakroom.

Written by:  Carol Nelson, Minitex



Curate BadgerLink Resources with your Catalog or LMS at WEMTA

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Join a panel of your peers from both large and small districts on Tuesday, March 27 at 11:00am as they discuss the benefits and roadblocks of integrating BadgerLink (and non-BadgerLink) resources into their LMS or library catalog platforms.  Make the most of the tools your district is already using by placing quality content at the fingertips of educators, librarians, and students!     

Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning staff Ben Miller, Monica Treptow, and Elizabeth Neuman will facilitate the conversation.  For more information on panelists and to view the entire WEMTA schedule, visit

We hope to see you there!  

Written by: Elizabeth Neuman, Resource for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


For questions about this information, contact Elizabeth Neuman (608) 224-5389

Announcing the 2018 Inclusive Services Institute Cohort

Monday, February 26, 2018

The first-ever Inclusive Services Institute will take place March 12-14 and August 12-14, 2018. The Inclusive Services Institute is a professional development and workgroup opportunity for Wisconsin public library and regional system staff who are committed to making Wisconsin libraries more inclusive to all community members and potential library users. The Institute will offer reflective learning experiences on topics of equity and social justice. Participants will work on small teams to develop tools for a new statewide resource. The Inclusive Services Statement from the Division of Libraries and Technology will provide the foundation for the Institute content and workgroup efforts. The Institute is supported through an LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the Public Library Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

The recent application process was competitive for the Institute. Sixteen participants were selected from a large pool of applicants representing all 16 regional library systems. Cohort members are listed alphabetically by library system and last name.

The 2018 Inclusive Services Institute Cohort

  • Rene Bue, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville), Arrowhead Library System
  • Mark Jochem, New Berlin Public Library, Bridges Library System
  • Samantha Johnson, Augusta Memorial Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System
  • Lisa Rivers, Southwest Library (Kenosha), Kenosha County Library System
  • Jessica MacPhail, Racine Public Library, Lakeshores Library System
  • Glenny Whitcomb, Chilton Public Library, Manitowoc Calumet Library System
  • Kristina Gomez, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee County Federated Library System
  • Holly K. Smith, Monarch Library System
  • Bobbie Kuehn, Brown County Library (Green Bay), Nicolet Federated Library System
  • Emilie Braunel, Plum Lake Public Library, Northern Waters Library Service
  • Elizabeth Timmins, Muehl Public Library (Seymour), Outagamie Waupaca Library System
  • Shauna Koszegi, Sun Prairie Public Library, South Central Library System
  • Martha Bauer, Brewer Public Library (Richland Center), Southwest Wisconsin Library System
  • Irma Keller, Tomah Public Library, Winding Rivers Library System
  • Susan Younger, Wautoma Public Library, Winnefox Library System
  • Laurie Ollhoff, T. B. Scott Free Library (Merrill), Wisconsin Valley Library Service


What's new with WISCAT: recent updates and faster searching!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


On Tuesday February 13th, an update was pushed out by the WISCAT platform vendor, Auto-Graphics. This update provided additional information when downloading statistics -- specifically, the username of the patron or staff member who placed a request is now visible in the Request Records report in the Activity and Request Reports section of the Statistics menu.

Another new option, which is not fully deployed at this time, will give borrowers the option to indicate with a check mark whether or not they would like their requests to be filled by out of state lenders, which involves shipping costs. This feature will eliminate the need for borrowers to indicate in their borrower’s notes that they don’t want out-of-state lenders. We are still awaiting additional functionality options from Auto-Graphics before making this live across all WISCAT accounts. Additional information will be provided on this feature once it is fully functional. For the time being, we ask that borrowers continue to indicate in the Borrower’s Notes field if they do not want a request to go out of state.

In other WISCAT news, we are happy to report that searches are now performing considerably faster than in recent months. The WISCAT team worked with Auto-Graphics, Wisconsin libraries, and ILS vendors to update and optimize many of our live connections to library catalogs, resulting in faster searching. If the configuration parameters for live connections to your catalog (known as Z39.50 connections) change, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can ensure our connections are up to date and running smoothly and quickly.

Have questions about WISCAT? Contact us!

Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning


Minitex visits the South Central Library System Delivery Service

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Guest Post written by:  Becky  Ringwelski, Minitex

In November, Carol Nelson and Becky Ringwelski from the Minitex office visited the South Central Library System (SCLS) Delivery Service headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The visit provided an opportunity to see how a high volume operationSCLS Delivery Service handles statewide delivery, to share information, and to learn more about each other's delivery service. Minitex has exchanged ILL materials with Wisconsin libraries for over 45 years. They are an important partner and we are both motivated to provide the most efficient, fastest and affordable service we can. The SCLS delivery staff comprise 31 full and part-time employees. They own their own vehicles and have drivers traversing much of Wisconsin on a daily basis. They make about 170 stops per day at libraries within the Madison area and in outstate areas. The delivery system distributes materials going between branches of the South Central Library System as well as interlibrary loan materials and other materials that need special handling. In 2017 they delivered over 12,000,000 items.

We were fortunate to plan our visit during their peak time when all the staff were working furiously to get the materials sorted into bins for hand-off to the drivers. The flurry of activity was impressive as the staff worked on sorting the 600-800 tubs they pack each day. Everyone had their task and the work was done to maximize efficiency. While there we discussed doing a check of our turnaround time for items going between Minitex and the SCLS delivery headquarters and have since verified that we have 24-hour delivery between our sites. We appreciate the partnership we have with SCLS and the opportunity to view their operation firsthand. Many thanks to Brinnan Shaffer, Delivery Operations Manager for her hospitality!

Written by:  Becky Ringwelski, Minitex


Science Reference Center

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Science Reference Center, BadgerLink's premier STEM resource for students, educators and librarians, is chock full of full-text reference books, images and magazines.  Over the years we've heard many of you comment on its usefulness teaching not only key topics but the research skills needed to succeed in college and beyond. 

As Arlen Kimmelman, School Librarian and Techbrarian at Clearview Regional High School in New Jersey, writes in her EBSCOpost blog article Sprouting Good Habits with Science Reference Center, this database is key for teaching information literacy and critical thinking skills.  According to one of her students, "Googling can give you thousands of websites to use as a source, but they aren't always reliable, and it's hard to narrow them down using Google.  Using the databases helps us find good sources that support our research instead of finding a weird and random website with something that could be completely made up." 

Read Arlen's article and find more supplemental tools about Science Reference Center on the BadgerLink website at, including a Scavenger Hunt and Educator Resources.


Written by:

Elizabeth Neuman, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning   




For questions about this information, contact Elizabeth Neuman (608) 224-5389

Patron Privacy in WISCAT

Thursday, January 18, 2018

We can all agree that patron privacy is important -- but did you know that in WISCAT, you can take extra steps to ensure patron privacy? Within your library's Participant Record, you have the option to Hide Patron Data. This option applies to your library's patrons only, and will omit your patrons' information on shipping labels printed by you and by lending libraries.

Radio buttons in WISCAT displaying options in the Participant Record

Some libraries do make use of patron information on shipping labels in their ILL workflows, but for other libraries, especially those with open hold shelves, this option is particularly useful. Consider whether hiding patron data makes sense for your library and if so, make the change in your Participant Record.

Written by Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning