May 14, 1997
Eureka, FirstSearch, Silver Platter -- Where's The
To complicate the
picture, these three systems also offer Z39.50 access to their databases.
Z39.50 is a protocol for computer-to-computer information retrieval.
Z39.50 provides a uniform way for a patron to search a variety of databases
without having to know the searching methods used by each individual
database. For this to work, Z39.50 must be implemented at the user’s
end and at the database end. Often, Z39.50 access is delivered via the
web — that is, the user employs a web browser to connect with a web-to-Z39.50
gateway, which connects to the database.
Harvard’s first SiteSearch project will be the development of a web interface to INSPEC (a FirstSearch database available from HOLLIS Plus). Availability of this interface is tentatively set for May 1997, followed by an evaluation period that is expected to continue into the summer. Since this web interface will eventually be used for other local and remote databases, the extended evaluation period will allow for refinement of the interface and associated online help. During this time, access to the exist ing character-based connection to INSPEC will continue.
OIS plans to implement a local database under SiteSearch. A likely candidate
is Environmental Periodicals Bibliography, a dataset recently purchased
by the Harvard College Library. Another project will be to have SiteSearch
support a loc al “hook to holdings” feature, that would, for example,
make it possible for INSPEC citations to link to Harvard holdings. This
would involve extracting copies of HOLLIS holdings data to a database
under SiteSearch. Another obvious application of SiteSearch would be
integration of Z39.50 databases offered by FirstSearch, Eureka, and
SilverPlatter under a “Harvard web interface.”
The big advantage to SiteSearch would be the ability to integrate multiple Z39.50-compliant databases under a uniform interface over which Harvard has control. Another advantage would be the proposed hook to holdings feature.
would be timing — SiteSearch development will begin bearing fruit in
May while vendor-produced web interfaces are available now. It is also
true that using Z39.50 to integrate databases under a single interface
might “homogenize” the sear ch methods and other features for databases
that are otherwise very different. Vendors are not restricted to the
Z39.50 protocol so they could provide more features and functionality
than SiteSearch/WebZ allows for. Is consistency more important than
add ed functionality that may not be supported in Z39.50?
In addition, OCLC offers a WebZ interface to NCSU, University of Kentucky, and several other online library catalogs. Point your browser to: http://cypress.dev.oclc.org:8000/html1/remote.html This site is interesting because it provides a WebZ interface to several remote Z39.50-compliant systems, including DRA, Horizon, and Sirsi.
The look and feel
of Berkeley’s WebZ implementation differs from OCLC’s because the host
site has local control of interface design. Of course we will design
Harvard’s implementation of WebZ to suit our local needs.
Work on the WebZ interface to INSPEC is proceeding, with implementation scheduled for May 1997. SSHUSH (HAAC’s Standing Subcommittee on User Services in HOLLIS) has charged a small working group (Caren Smith, Kathleen Donovan, Tom Parris, Mary Angelini, J ulie Wetherill) with designing online help for the database and the interface.
If you have questions about the status of web interfaces and HOLLIS Plus, contact Michael Fitzgerald (Chair of the HOLLIS Plus Working Group). Questions about SiteSearch should be directed to Caren Smith in OIS .
II Project timing adjusted
Catalog survey responses
There were approximately 350 survey responses: 54% from the online HOLLIS survey, 42% from the printed survey in libraries, and 4% from faculty. It is not possible to identify who responded via HOLLIS or the printed forms, since many comments were anony mous. Faculty comments could be present among the HOLLIS comments or the manual surveys.
There were a wide range of comments regarding what respondents like most and least about the current HOLLIS system. The top five from each category are listed below. More detailed listings are available from the HOLLIS II web site: http://hul.harvard.edu/hollis2/task_groups/public/survey.html
Best liked in HOLLIS:
Least liked in HOLLIS or needed in HOLLIS II:
The “best liked” features are relatively self-explanatory. Under “least liked” or “needed in HOLLIS II,” the top most requested feature is actually a host of features collectively identified as “reader empowerment.” These are activities currently perfor med by library staff, such as renewing a book, getting a list of books already checked out, recalling a book, etc. Patrons want these and other self-service features from our next public catalog. The third feature (backspace key) refers to lack of a working backspace key in HOLLIS sessions. Most users expect the backspace key to delete the character to the left of the cursor. The fact that it frequently does not do so is more a function of the s oftware being used to connect to HOLLIS.
The need for search limits (item five) is a cause for concern because several types of limit are currently available in HOLLIS (and transaction logs indicate these are used in less than two percent of searches). Generally, the Task Group was surprised and a little dismayed at the number of people who asked for existing HOLLIS features, such as boolean searching, search combinations (keyword author and title, subject and author, etc.), keyword subject heading searches, document request (the get command), a nd record downloading. Note that requests for existing features are not included in the detailed survey results.
The results of these surveys have proved valuable in two ways. First, the Public Services Task Group’s list of functional needs appears to be on target — all survey comments match up with existing entries on the list. Second, survey responses have provid ed a sense of the functional priorities of our users that will be important during the system evaluation phase. If you have questions about these surveys or the results, contact Caren Smith in OIS.
II Glossary available
This glossary is an evolving project and library staff are welcome to use the comment form to send suggestions. There is also a list of terms to be added — we welcome staff interested in providing definitions. If you have questions contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.
journals from HOLLIS Plus
The list of resources arranged in broad subject categories still exists, but ejournals are not listed in the subject categories for both technical and policy reasons. The Working Group thought that scholars are more likely to look for a journal by its tit le. Also, the general subject categories used on HOLLIS Plus would not necessarily be helpful and the inclusion of ejournals might hide the other databases and Library home pages.
The “Search” choice
appearing on most HOLLIS Plus pages allows a user to search for an electronic
journal by its title.
This may not be apparent or important to most HOLLIS Plus users, but it has implications for catalog records in the HU database of HOLLIS. The HU cataloging for these ejournals includes an 856 field (in a holdings record) containing the URL for the resour ce page on HOLLIS Plus. These URLs should be accurate so a patron can write down or screen copy the URL and use it in a web browser. (Of course, in HOLLIS II this URL will be “hot”; allowing the patron to link directly to the ejournal from the HU catalog record.)
Ruth Haas (CONSER and Widener Serials Cataloging) has agreed to coordinate the changes to cataloging records affected by the relocation of resource pages (and subsequent changes to URLs). Contact Ruth if you have questions.
Neither the HOLLIS Plus Working Group nor OIS expect changes in resource page URLs to be a regular event. The URL change described above was a necessary part of the new ejournal handling process. The change was made now, while there are a relatively small number of titles and the process of changing URLs in HOLLIS is still manageable.
If you have questions about electronic journals in HOLLIS Plus, contact Michael Fitzgerald (Chair of the HOLLIS Plus Working Group).
JSTOR Update for April 3, 1997
JSTOR (Journal Storage; an archive of scholarly journal literature in digital format) announced the following changes in early April.
Updates/FixesNew Informational Pages. The "About JSTOR" page (http://www.jstor.org/about/) has been reorganized into sections. An updated page listing hardware and software requirements has been added under the "Using the Collection" section.
Macintosh Printer Helper Application. The Macintosh version of the printer helper application now supports printing from non-postscript printers. Examples of non-postscript printers include ink jet printers, dot matrix printers, and laser printers which use PCL printer language. The current Macintosh version number is 1.9.
fails, the systems fall,
The two recent failures of HULPR and HOLLIS (March 5th and 12th) were caused by a hardware failure on the mainframe computer which necessitated the shut down of both systems. The particular part which failed was something called an ‘Analog Card’, a compon ent of the disk drives on which our data is stored. In both cases, as soon as the card was replaced, the disk drives could function again. Unfortunately, it took several hours to return systems to operation.
The major contributor to the length of time required to restore the systems was the time required for IBM to deliver a replacement part from their warehouse in Westborough to UIS. For the future, UIS has requested that IBM store parts on site. While IBM i s considering this possibility, UIS has freed up from current use a pair of disk drives, thus making them available as an immediate source of spare parts in case of another failure. We certainly hope that two such failures is all we ever see; but if there are more in our future, they should at least be of a shorter duration.
People who were updating records after the hardware failure received Abends which indicated that records might not have been indexed properly. OIS has isolated the records which might have such a problem and has manually forced them to be fully re-indexed . Although all these records now have the correct index entries, it is possible that a few may also have index entries which are no longer appropriate (that is, an entry representing a heading before update). We call these unmatched index deletes, which are a nuisance but will not interfere with searching. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
If you have a question, please contact Linda Marean in OIS.
McGill TCP3270 is the Windows-based TN3270 emulation software recommended by OIS for staff access to HOLLIS. What follows is a summary of the changes this product has undergone in the last six months.
In the fall of 1996, version 4 of this product became available and at that time its name changed from TCP3270 to HostExplorer (tm). Harvard has a site license for TCP3270. The most current release available from our local FTP site is version 3.14.
In January 1997, McGill Systems Inc. sold the HostExplorer technology to Hummingbird Communications Ltd. Hummingbird, an international company headquartered in North York, Ontario, Canada, specializes in PC-to-mainframe communications services. You can find the press release about this sale at: http://www.hcl.com/press/mcgill.html
As far as support goes, McGill Systems no longer represents HostExplorer, except as part of the transition process to Hummingbird. McGill can still answer questions about the product and is theoretically providing interim technical support as the new Hum mingbird support team develops its product confidence. Hummingbird’s web site: http://www.hcl.com/
Three new links were added to the Harvard Libraries web site (http://hul.harvard.edu/libinfo/) in early April:
Clare McInerney has joined the OIS Applications Development and Support Group as a Programmer/Analyst. She will be working primarily on Unix applications, including HOLLIS Plus. Clare has a bachelors in Computer Science from Trinity College. Her previou s position was as a programmer/analyst for Planmatics where she was responsible for developing client/server-based applications in the metal manufacturing industry.
During the Spring reading/exam period from Sunday, 4 May through Friday, 23 May, Cabot Science Library will be open 24 hours a day. During this period, HULPR system availability will also be extended. From May 4-23, HULPR availability will be:
Mon/Tue Down @ 3am Tue/Wed Down @ 3am Wed/Thurs Down @ 1am Fri/Sat Down @ 4:30am Sat/Sun Down @ 4:30am “Sun/Mon” and so forth, means Late Sunday night/early Monday morning.
On all nights HULPR will be brought up as soon as possible after 4:30am. On Mon/Tue and Wed/Thurs, restoration of HULPR may be delayed by use of the regularly scheduled “window” for system maintenance and testing.
After the night of May 23, HULPR hours will return to normal. During this period, the HOLLIS system will maintain its regular schedule. If you have questions, contact Linda Marean in OIS.
The OIS web site now offers the 1991-1996 backfile of HOLLIS Newsletters in HTML format. These online issues are searchable. Point your browser to: http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/nls/hnls.html where the current issue and all 1991-1996 back issues are listed. Contact Julie Wetherill in OIS if you have questions.
Over the weekend of March 22nd, OIS performed a complete re-load of the databases for HOLLIS Distributed Reporting. In addition to recovering some disk space and re-generating all indexes and data, the following changes were made:
Add new item records created by a recent Countway smart barcoding project. Users should plan on downloading the new model the next time they log in to Distributed Reporting (this process can take several minutes, so planning ahead is advised). Please contact Martha Creedon in OIS i f you have any questions.