HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Committee
Meeting 34
May 8, 1990

1. PHOCSI Revision
2. SSHUSH Report on Downloading

Attending:

Julie Blattner, Priscilla Caplan, Heather Cole, John Collins, Alan Erickson, Dale Flecker, Carol Ishimoto, Terry Martin (chair), Ted Pappadopoulos, Robin Wendler (recording), Susan Whitehead.

Guests:

Nora Bird, Ellen Isenstein, Charles Husbands, Carrie Kent, Jon Rothman.

1. PHOCSI Revision

In response to concerns expressed by HAAC at the last meeting, Carrie Kent presented a solution which compromises between always noting that an item is "Not checked out" and never doing so. PHOCSI proposes that the message "Not checked out" be generated for all formats except serials. This prevents the undesirable effect of having to page through several screens of volumes not checked out to find the information about the single volume of interest, while allowing detailed information to display on monographs, where patrons might be misled into thinking that no copies were available if a single one was checked out.

Mr. Flecker noted that inconsistent display might be very confusing to patrons, who would find it difficult to interpret. Ms. Caplan suggested an additional message for serial screens, explaining that the volumes listed were only those checked out. This suggestion was adopted. To avoid confusion, Ms. Caplan suggested that for consistency's sake the phrase "Not checked out" be removed from the "Recently returned" message for serials. The phrase would be retained in the message for non-serial items. This also was approved.

Mr. Collins wondered if the level of detail in such messages as "In a reader's stall. Ask at Circulation Desk" was really valuable rather than confusing. Ms. Kent reiterated PHOCSI's assumption that it was best to give the patron as much information as possible. Ms. Cole felt that for collections like Widener's, such navigational aids were necessary, both within Widener and for other libraries referring their patrons to materials in Widener. Ms. Caplan explained that some circulation messages were generated from the item record and some from the patron record. This type of message, from the patron record, is library-specific, and libraries would not be required to have that level of detail. Mr. Flecker wondered if it was desirable to have any uniformity across units. Mr. Husbands noted that the pattern in the PHOCSI report is recommended.

2. SSHUSH Report on Downloading

Susan Whitehead, chair of the Standing Subcommittee of HAAC on User Services in HOLLIS (SSHUSH), introduced the committee's report "Proposal for Downloading in HOLLIS." She noted that the report had been a very difficult one to write, given the complexity of the subject and the level of current development. The committee first attempted to clarify the issues involved, then gathered facts on current technology. The investigation centered on three questions:

  1. How to designate selected data
  2. How to download it
  3. What to do with it once you've got it

Ms. Whitehead then opened the floor to HAAC members for discussion of the report. The initial part of the discussion focussed on the definitions of downloading. By "downloading", people often mean what they do from BRS, which is not file transfer. True file transfer generally requires 2 complementary pieces of software, one on the mainframe and one on the PC. This is extremely expensive and can be unfriendly, in the sense that each PC user would be required to have the software. The SSHUSH proposals generally use capture techniques (session logging or screen dumping) rather than transfer techniques.

Ms. Cole asked what users might want from file transfer that is not available through session logging. Mr. Flecker explained that file transfer is faster and more reliable. In session logging, we do not have control of the data flow all the way from HOLLIS to the PC. If the buffers are full, data may be overwritten and lost. Mr. Pappadopoulos said that an interactive LUCK package would be necessary to insure that the data was captured. Mr. Flecker said that using Kermit or some over method of file transfer would be much preferred; it would give near certainty of successfully capturing the data.

Ms. Cole asked if there were constraints on the number of records that could be processed at a time. Mr. Flecker said there should be to avoid performance interference. Mr. Rothman said those limits would be part of the functional specification.

Mr. Flecker raised the issue of network HOLLIS users. As network use increases, we can expect to see greater demand for downloading capability from network workstations. Currently, the technical ability does not exist to provide downloading to network users.

Mr. Pappadopoulos passed on Mr. Van Baalen's concern about the report's dismissal of using a PC-end package to flag records. Mr. Rothman said the committee disliked having to use a different interface depending on whether one accessed HOLLIS at a dedicated terminal or from a PC. Mr. Flecker noted that the question of where to do the development, that is, on the mainframe or on the PC, should be asked for each piece of the project: set saving, transmission, format, and usage.

Mr. Pappadopoulos asked where the development effort would be, based on the recommendations in the report. Ms. Caplan said that lots of mainframe work was necessary, and some PC work. Mr. Rothman noted that the mainframe work would be very different depending on the option selected. Mr. Martin asked how much work the project required, to which Ms. Caplan replied 4 man-months of programming plus specification time. Mr. Flecker added that adding file transfer would lengthen that estimate because it does not exist now.

Mr. Erickson questioned the priority this has been given since it only effects 10% of HOLLIS users, but Mr. Pappadopoulos said that 10% was a very high number for this type of application and that it would only increase.

Mr. Flecker proposed that OSPR proceed with development of set saving capability, and postpone other questions until the next meeting. This was approved.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, June 12, 1990 at 2:30 in the Law Library Conference Room.


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