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HOLLIS Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 3/4 (March/April 1997)

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  • Next HOLLIS Liaisons Meeting (#110)
  • Feature Articles
  • Eureka, FirstSearch, SilverPlatter -- where's the web?
  • HOLLIS II Project timing adjusted
  • Public Catalog survey responses
  • HOLLIS II Glossary Available
  • Electronic journals from HOLLIS Plus
  • HOLLIS Plus update
  • Notes and Reminders
  • March system problems
  • McGill update
  • Harvard Libraries web site additions
  • OIS staff changes
  • HULPR extended hours in May
  • HOLLIS Newsletters Online
  • Distributed Reporting reload
  • HOLLIS Training Schedule

    Next HOLLIS Liaisons Meeting (#110)

    May 14, 1997
    9:30-11:00 am
    Lamont Forum Room


    1. Announcements: Julie Wetherill
    2. HOLLIS II updates: Tracey Robinson
    3. SiteSearch at Harvard: Caren Smith

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    Eureka, FirstSearch, Silver Platter -- Where's The Web?
    by Julie Wetherill

    RLG’s Eureka, OCLC’s FirstSearch, and SilverPlatter’s ERL systems now offer World Wide Web interfaces to their bibliographic databases. Since HOLLIS Plus currently provides only character-based (VT100) access to these databases, it is reasonable to ask w hen some type of web access will be available. The more important question might be what type of web interface do we provide. There is no single answer, but some options and an update on current status are provided below.

    What vendors are offering

    Web interfaces to Eureka, FirstSearch, and SilverPlatter are available to us now, and for many users they would provide a simpler, easier-to-use interface. There is the additional benefit that a user’s web browser does not need to use telnet as a “helper” to make the connection. The web interface for each system has a different design and features, depending on what is available from the underlying search engine.

    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.

    SiteSearch at Harvard

    Harvard is also developing Z39.50 capabilities. OIS has acquired OCLC’s SiteSearch package, which includes a search engine (Newton), a Z39.50 server (Zserv), and a World Wide Web gateway (WebZ). This last component, WebZ, provides the web-to-Z39.50 gatewa y that will allow us to develop a single “Harvard web interface” to local and remote bibliographic databases that are available via Z39.50 (see Figure 1). HOLLIS Plus will provide the menu structure connecting the user to all local and remote databases under WebZ.

    SiteSearch diagram

    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.

    Following INSPEC, 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.”

    Web interface tradeoffs
    With SiteSearch available the question is, when do we use a Harvard web interface to remote Z39.50-compliant databases (like Eureka, FirstSearch, SilverPlatter), and when do we use the remote system’s own 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.

    One disadvantage 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?

    Sites to explore

    Staff interested in SiteSearch/WebZ can take a look at the University of California Berkeley’s implementation, called “CyberLib.” Point your web browser to: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu:8000/html/homenoframes.html to see Berkeley’s web/Z39.50 interface to the Gladis and Melvyl online catalogs. In this implementation, Gladis is a SiteSearch database using Z39.50, while Melvyl is a remote Z39.50-compliant, (but not SiteSearch) system.

    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.

    How to proceed?

    The HOLLIS Plus Working Group has tabled any decisions regarding vendor web interfaces until the end of the spring semester. Once we implement SiteSearch and have an opportunity to refine the web interface, it will be easier to identify what the tradeoffs will be to choosing a Harvard or a vendor web interface for a database. Decisions about which interface to use are likely to be made one database at a time.

    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 .

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    HOLLIS II Project timing adjusted
    by Dale Flecker

    The HOLLIS II Steering Committee has determined that a revision to the HOLLIS II project schedule is necessary. The new schedule will call for the initial implementation of HOLLIS II in the summer of 1999 rather than the summer of 1998. A new time line has been developed. The key changes are:

    • the selection of the vendor “short list” will be scheduled for late summer/early fall of this year
    • the in-depth analysis phase will begin in the fall
    • a new target date for the implementation of HOLLIS II of summer 1999.
    The interim period between now and the selection of the short list will be used to hone our vendor analysis methodology, and to begin the process of migrating non-union catalog databases out of HOLLIS. In addition, the HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Commi ttee (HAAC) will be asked to consider whether there are additional changes which should be made to the current HOLLIS system given the delay in HOLLIS II implementation.

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    Public Catalog survey responses
    by Caren Smith and Julie Wetherill

    As part of its needs analysis, the HOLLIS II Public Services Task Group was interested in gathering feedback from as many types of HOLLIS users as possible. Between December 1996 and March 1997, surveys in printed and electronic form were conducted among a variety of campus groups. The results and the Task Group’s analysis are summarized below. Survey contents
    The Task Group distributed a simple printed survey to libraries. A similar survey was sent to faculty in FAS and a few other Faculties. During selected days in February 1997, an automatic survey screen appeared when ever a user selected a database in HO LLIS. In each case the content of the survey was the same:

    • What do you like best about HOLLIS?
    • What do you like least about HOLLIS?
    • What would you like to see in a replacement of HOLLIS?
    The surveys also included a brief description of the HOLLIS II Project and the URL for the HOLLIS II web site. 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:

    1. ability to store and send sets of records by e-mail
    2. ease of use
    3. circulation status
    4. speed
    5. keyword searching

    Least liked in HOLLIS or needed in HOLLIS II:

    1. reader empowerment
    2. need for a graphical user interface
    3. problem with the backspace key
    4. need for support of other character sets (vernacular Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, etc.)
    5. need for search limits
    Analyzing results
    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.

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    HOLLIS II Glossary available
    Stumped by the term “API”? Wondering if “fat client” is a patron with a weight problem? These terms and many more have come into common usage since the beginning of the HOLLIS II Project. There is now a glossary available from the HOLLIS II web site th at defines many technical and library terms. Point your browser to: http://hul.harvard.edu/hollis2/admin/gloss.html to display the glossary.

    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.

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    Electronic journals from HOLLIS Plus
    by Julie Wetherill

    In September 1994, HOLLIS Plus first appeared on the Harvard online information scene with a list of 39 resources. The majority of these were databases or directories, with very few full text sources. As of March 1997, there were 210 resources, 88 (42%) o f which are full text electronic journals (ejournals). Later in 1997, OIS expects to add over 50 Academic Press electronic journals. In the face of this ejournal onslaught, the HOLLIS Plus Working Group worked with OIS to make some changes to HOLLIS Plus . What follows is a description of these changes and consequences for bibliographic records in HOLLIS.

    Divide and conquer?
    To facilitate discovery of electronic journals (and to prevent them from overwhelming listings of non-journal resources), HOLLIS Plus now has a separate alphabetical list of electronic journals. All other resources appear in a separate list arranged alpha betically by title. Both lists are available from the main menu.

    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.

    Ejournal URLs change

    As part of the new ejournal handling process, journal resource pages have changed their physical location in the HOLLIS Plus file structure. A “resource page” is what you get after selecting a resource from the alphabetical or subject listings. It provide s a brief abstract, information about access restrictions, and a direct link to the resource. The path to an ejournal resource page has changed from:




    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).

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    HOLLIS Plus update
    New resources coming soon

    The following resources are tentatively scheduled to become available from HOLLIS Plus in the mid-April to early-May timeframe:

    • New JSTOR titles:
      • Journal of the American Mathematical Society
      • Population and Development Review
      • Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking
    • Patrologia Latina
    • 57 Academic Press science journals
    • The Harvard Book
    • Literature Online (LiOn) will change from a trial resource to a regular resource. Separate links to the following LiOn resources will be added:
      • African-American Poetry
      • American Poetry
      • Eighteenth-Century Fiction
      • English Drama
      • English Poetry
      • Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged
      • Bibliography of American Literature
    As of early April, OIS is completing the migration of the HOLLIS Plus system to a new server. Once this is done, the HOLLIS Plus Team will be able to pinpoint more precisely when these enhancements will become available. Look for announcements on HULINFO regarding availability. If you have questions, contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

    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.

    New Content

    • Population and Development Review
    • Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking
    These two journals will be added to the JSTOR collection on Monday, April 7. Once these journals are released, more information about them will be found on the "Currently Available JSTOR Content Page" at h ttp://www.jstor.org/about/content.html. These titles will be added to HOLLIS Plus in mid-April.


    New 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.

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    Notes and Reminders
    March system problems

    The letter fails, the systems fall,
    And every symbol wanes:
    The Spirit over-brooding all,
    Eternal Love, remains.
    - John Greenleaf Whittier

    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.

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    McGill Update

    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/

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    Harvard Libraries web site additions

    Three new links were added to the Harvard Libraries web site (http://hul.harvard.edu/libinfo/) in early April:

    In addition, the link to the Houghton Library Manuscript Department has been changed to “Houghton Library” now that the Printing and Graphic Arts Department has joined the web. Contact Julie Wetherill in OI S if you have questions.

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    OIS staff changes

    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.

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    HULPR extended hours in May

    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.

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    HOLLIS newsletters online

    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.

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    Distributed Reporting reload

    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:


    1. Increase the Title (Brief) attribute from 50 to 75 characters.
    2. Drop the index *Union Catalog Date
    3. Add the index *Record Creation Date

    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.

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