HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Committee
Meeting 60
June 15, 1993

1. Second Report of the Task Group on Large Index Searching in HOLLIS (LISH)
1.a. HU Subset File
1.b. Default Keyword Operator
1.c. LOC c Qualification in Call Number Searching
2. Prioritization of OIS Projects


Bob Buckwalter, Priscilla Caplan, Michael Fitzgerald, Dale Flecker, Carrie Kent, Lynne Schmelz-Keil (chair), Mark Van Baalen, Judy Warnement, Robin Wendler (recording), Charles Willard

Absent: Marianne Burke, John Collins, Rodney Goins, Ted Pappadopoulos

Guests: Tracey Robinson, MacKenzie Smith

Future Meetings: In the OIS Conference Room,

               July 14, 10:00-12:00

1. Second Report of the Task Group on Large Index Searching in HOLLIS (LISH)

Michael Fitzgerald presented the task group's second report, resolving 3 issues raised in their first report.

1.a. HU Subset File

In its initial recommendations, LISH proposed the ability to qualify keyword searches by language, format, and date. However, in case this proved too difficult or expensive, alternatives were proposed, including the provision of subset files. HAAC had charged LISH to poll groups such as SSHUSH and RRIC for their ideas about the most useful subset and to consider the best way to solicit the views of library patrons. LISH put out a survey in the Harvard University Library Research Forum, and also surveyed Harvard reference librarians. Based on a limited response, there was a mild preference for a subset file of items published in the past ten years. The last ten years subset would include about 1.5 million records, or just under half of the current file. Given the small size and the ambivalence of the response, LISH recommended that the issue be revisited if the subset file fallback is necessary.

1.b. Default Keyword Operator

LISH re-examined the choice of default Boolean operator in keyword searches. Those surveyed were recommended keeping AND by a two-to-one margin rather than switching to ADJacent. Two additional suggestions were made by respondents to improve phrase searching:

  1. Single quotation marks would be easier to use than double quotation marks. HAAC recommended that HOLLIS treat single and double quotation marks the same way in keyword searching.
  2. A help message should be added to the maximum hits screen to tell people to reenter words with quotation marks for an exact phrase search.

1.c. LOC c Qualification in Call Number Searching

LISH recommended allowing call number searches to be qualified LOC subfield c in three ways:

  1. by the text of subfield c, e.g.

                        FIND CL PS3509.43//lo=lam//rm=POETRY
  2. by the absence of subfield c

                        FIND CL PN//lo=lam//rm=NONE
  3. by searching for all occurrences of a particular c for all entries within a call number type, e.g.

                        FIND CL ALL//lo=lam//rm=POETRY

This will allow searches to be limited to a particular subcollection or location within a library. Libraries would be able to perform online shelflisting more easily. Searchers will still encounter the 5000 item limit. While true shelflist capability would require a browse or scan function, that would be incompatible with search qualification. The disadvantages to adding subfield c to the index entries include increased storage and difficulty of implementation. Since subfield c is variable in size and HOLLIS index entries are fixed-length, OIS will have to determine the extent of subfield c text to be included.

HAAC approved LISH's second report.

2. Prioritization of OIS Projects

Discussion continued on the prioritization of OIS projects. Priscilla Caplan noted that Call Number Browse capability should be added to the list of projects for consideration. HAAC asked for more information about some items on the list.

Two OCLC products have potential to change the way Harvard libraries access OCLC systems. TLP, the OCLC Telecommunications Linking Project, would allow the OCLC network to attach as a node on the Harvard HSDN network. Any workstation on the HSDN with the right software could then access OCLC. TLP does away with the need for specific machines and OCLC links. It also allows pool access to OCLC, almost certain to reduce costs, since the university could pay for fewer simultaneous sessions.

If an institution opts for TLP, it may also choose to use the OCLC Gateway. The Gateway allows devices not running Passport software (i.e. terminals or Macintoshs) to access OCLC. It also allows the export function to be centralized. It allows any device to support multiple sessions, and can provide menuing functions. There is not much technical work to either TLP or the OCLC Gateway, but there will be some organizational complexity in funding pooled access. TLP could be made available in a few months; the Gateway is in the final testing stage.

Charles Willard commented that the mechanisms may change, but OCLC generally manages to charge us the same amount. Dale agreed: expect telecommunications charges to go down, but expect usage, and therefore search charges, to go up. OCLC is changing their cost structure to recover from searching rather than from FTU. Dale added that TLP and Gateway are smart things to pursue. They have a high benefit to staff and require little work by OIS.

The group discussed the proposal to provide a method of uploading data from the ABLE bindery system into HOLLIS. It became clear that being able to transfer data from HOLLIS to ABLE may also be desirable, in order to allow bindery preparation work to be decentralized. The first task in the ABLE project would be fuller specification of the libraries' needs.

Dale commented that OIS had not yet received an official request for the HOLLIS User Comment Facility. Carrie has been asked to write a paper for the College Library on the logistics of their support of the facility, and Cilla noted that there will need to be a task group to design it. Charles added that we need to determine just what this project encompasses, whether just a user comment facility, online reference, or other functions as well.

Lynne noted that it was difficult to assign priorities when units lacked clear information on the cost and timeframe required for each project. Cilla responded that it is impossible to orchestrate these projects that finely. Estimations of cost and timeframe of each project are dependent on external factors, the number of staff assigned to it, and other variables. OIS has had better experience with simply identifying a few top priorities for action.

Charles expressed concern that no principles would inform HAAC's decisions about where HOLLIS is going, and that there needs to be a way to improve basic services as well as to develop new, sophisticated functions. Carrie added to Charles' point, saying that historically, important functions were implemented less-than-ideally due to limitations at the time, and that such functions should be revisited to make them better and more accessible. Michael pointed to the LISH report as an example of improving existing functions. LISH has requested changes to the way search qualification is done, for example. There's been an evolution in people's thinking about retrieval issues as we've gained expertise. Cilla suggested that libraries which have undergone strategic planning evaluate projects in light of the needs they've identified. In addition, the Automation Planning Committee will be developing some principles for longer term decisions. She also pointed out that the new mechanism for prioritizing projects is not like the old annual event, but rather a fluid process where OIS will work on one or two projects and then HAAC will have the opportunity to revisit the list.

Lynne then asked members to give their units' highest priorities. After some discussion, a vote was held, and these projects received the greatest (and roughly equal) number of votes:

Since the first two projects would require the same OIS staff members, they cannot be done simultaneously. Cilla proposed that OIS work on Course Reserves, while the outstanding policy issues of Patron-Initiated Retrieval are worked out. The group agreed. OIS will start the Course Reserves project and will return to HAAC with a development plan for the next 4-6 months based on today's discussion.


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