Posted by Lori Ayre on April 1, 2014

Grand Rapids Public Library is breaking new ground again!  They've implemented Smart Float in their Evergreen system.  They've written the code and its working. Now they are working to get that code into the next release of Evergreen.  

I don't know of any other ILS that has solved the problem of re-allocating copies that are floating.  It's a problem for everyone and I see ridiculously labor-intensive workarounds to solve the problem of "puddling" as I like to call it...the problem with floating collections that results in too much of one thing ending up in one place.

Anyway, here's how "smart float" works for Grand Rapids:

Smart Float automates the redistribution of floating collections based on available shelf space and duplicate copies. Smart Float also allows automatic "re-homing" of items based on a number of circulations from the original library or a specified time frame.

Upon checkin Smart Float will first check if an item needs to be sent home, if not the item will float to the checkin branch if space is available and there are not too many duplicate copies.  If space and or duplicates don't allow floating to the checkin branch, it will next float to the branch with most space and no excess duplicates, then to the branch with most space regardless of duplicates. If no branches have shelf space it will stay where it is (float to the checkin library).

Copy locations are the units of Smart Float operation. Copy locations are mapped to the following attributes that Smart Float uses to determine how to distribute copies.

active: if true, Smart Float will be used, otherwise traditional floating will occur.

  • items_allowed: the number of items the shelving location can hold.
  • dups_threshold: the number of duplicate titles allowed for that copy location.
  • homing_threshold: number of circulations from the original owning library.
  • homing_lifespan: time interval, such as "3 months".

Items will be sent home within the homing_lifespan from creation date, until the homing_threshold is met. So if shelving location 'kids movies' has a homing_threshold of 1 and a homing_lifespan of "3 months", items in that shelving location won't start floating until they have circulated once from the owning library, or its been 3 months or more since they were created.