"you cannot control what you do not measure"
A database packed full of information is a huge mine of potential, and just like a real mine it requires tools and techniques to exploit it.
Many library systems allow you to enter a great range of data and then restrict access through a limited set of pre-defined reports, which can be incredibly frustrating. Heritage Cirqa is much better than that. Certainly there is an extensive library of pre-defined reports, gathered over the years and available to users either within the system or to download from our Support Services Website. However, Heritage Cirqa also comes with a powerful command-driven tool that allows you direct reporting access to your raw data. Search on any data, sort it and then format it with powerful graphical representations for analysis and presentation to colleagues.
There are over 1,000 hundred pre-defined reports supplied with Heritage Cirqa, so we have made it possible to search for them by terms in the title, notes or command line. Favourite reports can be grouped together in your own 'Favourites' folder, and a record is kept of recently run reports which makes it easy to spot which one you last used.
In addition to the standard reports, Heritage offers two report writing environments.
Banded reports are generally provided with a pre-defined layout. The Banded reporter also handles letter creation, not just for overdues and reservations, but also for your notifications such as membership renewals or library news. Heritage Cirqa letters allow mail merging, just like reports and names, addresses, courses, department and any other data from Heritage Cirqa, can be merged automatically using the`banded' layout structure. Headers, footers and page numbers are all automatically added and the layout can be designed around your own corporate stationery for a very professional look.
Command Line reports are used to quickly retrieve information from Heritage Cirqa fields (either via a wizard or an easy-to-learn syntax) and present the information in a tabular format.
Tools are provided for library staff to produce, export, save and re-use their own reports (site-specific where necessary). You can group together your favourite reports whilst 'date last run' allows you to see when they were last used. A comprehensive search facility eases the finding of new or less frequently used reports from the several hundred that are provided with the system.
For information that is required on a regular basis, it is possible to schedule report generation using the Heritage Cirqa Event Scheduler. Reports can then be produced automatically at regular intervals without the intervention of library staff, further easing the burden of administrative tasks necessary in a busy resource centre.
Tresham College of Further and Higher Education wrote a case study for the Excellence Gateway outlining how the information offered by Heritage's flexible reporter was used to help integrate the learning resources with the curriculum and ultimately double the amount of resources borrowed by learners.
As well the graphical Report Designer interface Heritage also includes a simple English language based reporting tool, which is much easier to understand and use than SQL. It makes extensive use of "views" and calculated fields, so there is no need to know the full database schema just to join the appropriate tables together for a report.
For example if you wanted a list of all readers (borrowers) with a course of Physics, in Heritage Cirqa you would write the report as:
List Reader with Courses = "Physics" showing name category course expirydate sorted by surname
In SQL you would probably write the same report as:
SELECT rdr.name, rdr.category, courses.course, rdr.expirydate FROM courses
LEFT JOIN courses_readers cs_rdr ON courses_readers.courses_id = courses.id
LEFT JOIN readers rdr ON courses_readers.reader_id = readers.id
WHERE courses.name = "Physics"
ORDER BY rdr.surname
Using the report wizard in Heritage Cirqa makes this easier still as you are presented with simple choices for each element of the report.