HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Committee
Meeting 84
March 19, 1997

1. HOLLIS II / Continuation of HOLLIS
2. Updates
2.a. HOLLIS Plus
2.b. Bibliographic Standards and Policy
2.d. Mainframe reliability
2.e. ILL
2.f. Circulation
2.g. OW


Bob Buckwalter, Michael Fitzgerald, Rod Goins, Carrie Kent, Tracey Robinson, Lynne Schmelz (chair), Ann Sitkin, Hinda Sklar, Dorothy Solbrig, Ted Pappadopoulos, Mark Van Baalen, Judy Warnement, Robin Wendler (recording)

Absent: Marianne Burke

Guest: Dale Flecker

Future Meetings:

    May 21, 10:00-12:00           OIS Conference Room
     June 18, 10:00-12:00          OIS Conference Room
     July 16, 10:00-12:00          OIS Conference Room

1. HOLLIS II / Continuation of HOLLIS

The HOLLIS II Steering Committee has adjusted the schedule for HOLLIS II, delaying the implementation of a new system by one year. Dale Flecker joined HAAC to describe the reasons for the change and how the extra time will be apportioned, and to ask HAAC for guidance on the continuing development of HOLLIS.

After visits from nine leading systems vendors, including public presentations, detailed technical sessions, and financial/business plan reviews, the Steering Committee concluded that the vendor systems are not yet developed enough to evaluate. While many of the systems have promising technical architectures, the functionality required for a university library as large and complex as Harvard's is lacking. In addition, there was concern about the amount of work that will be required during the transition. For this reason, the year's delay in implementation will be split: six months will be given over to allowing the vendors to make progress in developing their products, and the other six months will be farmed back into the project time line, allowing more time for evaluation and conversion. Some HOLLIS II work will continue during the first six months, including the development of testing scripts and analysis planning for data model and reporting issues.

OIS continues to work on HOLLIS, and there are a number of necessary projects which staff will be pursuing in the coming months:

  1. Continue CICS upgrade: the software environment in which HOLLIS currently runs is a version of CICS no longer supported by IBM. Upgrade to a newer version is necessary to assure continuing operability. This will require pervasive changes to all HOLLIS programs written in IBM Assembler language as well as minor changes to some programs written in PL/I. Careful testing of each subsystem in the new environment will be required to ensure against inadvertent loss of functionality.
  2. The year 2000 problem: an effort has already been made to identify and solve problems which the turn of the century may raise. The online parts of the system are believed to be well-prepared, but not all of the batch processes are ready. A thorough review of both batch and online operations will be performed in an attempt to avoid unpleasant surprises. Additional work may be required as 21st century strategies developed outside of HOLLIS become known; e.g., the pending revision of the format of Library of Congress card numbers.
  3. Patron data from Central Administration: the mechanism by which HOLLIS obtains employee and student name, address, and status data is a chain with many links. The new strategy of the university to centralize distribution of such data from the ID card office offers an opportunity to shorten the chain and provide faster and more reliable service to users, with a concomitant reduction in the staff time, in libraries and OIS, currently required to deal with problems.

Projects outside of HOLLIS are absorbing more and more staff time:

  1. HOLLIS Plus has been growing at a tremendous rate. At least 1+1/2 FTE are devoted to it today, and they can barely keep up with the demand.
  2. SiteSearch/Z39.50 and http gateway: A web interface to INSPEC is under development, to be followed by the mounting of the Environmental Periodicals Bibliography and web access to RLIN databases. This project will introduce a common interface to a wide variety of sources and make hook-to-holdings possible for distributed databases.
  3. Open Text: this SGML-aware search engine is already being used to deliver the Oxford English Dictionary and the Patrologia Latina, and will be used for a database of archival finding aids.

A number of other large-scale projects are just beginning to coalesce at this point, including

  1. Electronic Reserves
  2. Visual Resources Task Group, which may result in a project on search access across visual collections at Harvard
  3. Digital library area: several projects are under development, including some under the auspices of the national Digital Library Federation, such as Making of America II.

So although the delay in the HOLLIS II project gives us an unexpected six month reprieve, there are already many projects to which OIS staff is committed. Dale asked HAAC to think about how additional development of HOLLIS should be addressed. For example, should there be another open round of solicitation and prioritization of HOLLIS development? HAAC members noted that the extra six months does not really allow for much new work. They agreed that the libraries were more focused on the future than they had been at the beginning of the HOLLIS II process, and that since no critical functionality is missing from the present system, effort should be focused on developments which will help in the system transition or provide benefits beyond the life of HOLLIS.

Dale suggested that one new area where substantial benefits could be gained in the near term would be in the development of a web front-end for HOLLIS. There are several products on the market, using a variety of approaches, which might prove adaptable to HOLLIS and which would provide both a semi-graphical user interface (GUI) to the public catalog and live linking from URLs in catalog records to web-based resources. This would make it possible to bypass HOLLIS Plus for access to electronic journals, for example.

HAAC agreed that a web front-end would be a valuable and popular feature. Tracey and Lynne will draft a memo to APC and ULC with the recommendation that a web front-end be developed for HOLLIS and that the question of other HOLLIS developments not be reopened.

2. Updates

2.a. HOLLIS Plus: Michael Fitzgerald reported major activity on HOLLIS Plus, including a reorganization to make the menus easier to use, which split the electronic journals into their own alphabetical list, separate from other resources. Lydia Ievins, Julie Wetherill and MacKenzie Smith made this change, and will be adding dozens of journals from Academic Press in the near future. The HOLLIS Plus Working Group receives one or two requests a week for resources to be added to the system.

2.b. Bibliographic Standards and Policy: BSP has been relatively quiet recently.

2.c. SSHUSH: Dorothy Solbrig reported that SSHUSH has been reviewing the Z39.50/http interface to INSPEC.

2.d. Mainframe reliability: Mark Van Baalen reported on the hardware problems which caused several hours of HOLLIS outages in recent weeks. Aging disks drives failed immediately after they were scheduled to be retired. Replacement parts for these oldest drives were not available on site, which caused most of the repair delay. UIS has cleared several drives so that if other failures occur before new drives are installed, live replacements will be available and downtime should be very brief.

2.e. ILL: The online ILL project is due for evaluation, and participants will be producing statistics on use of the capability.

2.f. Circulation: Tracey reported that once again OIS has implemented the last of the new libraries using HOLLIS circulation -- Tozzer and Music have joined the ranks.

2.g. OW: Robin reported that although the OW database was scheduled to be removed from the OPAC, there are still 35,000 records in the file which represent recon problems of one kind or another. Widener Database Maintenance will be resolving those problems over the next year. While significant numbers of items remain in the OW database, it will remain a choice on the database options screen in HOLLIS.

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rev. 7/18/97