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HOLLIS Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 7 (November 1997)

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Next HOLLIS Liasons Meeting


Notes from the September Meeting

Notes and Reminders


Next HOLLIS Liaisons Meeting (#112)

With the increase in HOLLIS II activities, OIS has decided to schedule HOLLIS Liaisons meetings as needed.

The next meeting is scheduled for:

Wednesday, March 11, 1998
Lamont Forum Room.

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HOLLIS II: amidst evaluations

by Julie Wetherill

Four vendors have been selected for detailed evaluation. Their names and evaluation timeframes are:

  • Endeavor: October 1 - 13, 1997
  • DRA: November 4 - 21, 1997
  • Ex Libris: December 1 - 19, 1997
  • CGI: January 14 - February 3, 1998

The October evaluation of Endeavor has concluded. Evaluation of DRA is underway and will be completed by 21 November.

Anatomy of an evaluation

Each three-week evaluation period will include a three or four-day visit by the vendor to Harvard followed by a one or two-day visit by a Harvard team to vendor headquarters. Finally, depending on the development status of the system being evaluated, a Harvard team will visit one or more library sites where the system is installed.

The Harvard visit will include in-depth meetings with the Steering Committee, each of the functional task groups, and separate sessions on

  • data structures (system and record structure, types of records used, relationships between records, etc.),
  • indexing and access (index structure, flexibility, search performance),
  • system administration (system maintenance, data import/export, output, security), and
  • desktop environment (workstation hardware and software concerns).

There will also be demonstrations of technical services functions and the public catalog. The public catalog demonstration will be opened up to faculty, students, and non-library staff.

The vendor headquarters visit will focus on company finances, more technical issues, support of non-Roman scripts, implementation issues (data conversion, training, etc.), and ongoing support services.

The library site visits will reveal the library customer's perspective on relations with the vendor, system performance, etc. Since some of the systems we are evaluating will not have installed sites during our evaluation timeframe, library site visits will not always be possible.

For more detailed information about the evaluation schedule for a particular vendor, visit the HOLLIS II web site (http://hul.harvard.edu/hollis2/).


From October 1997 to January 1998, summary findings from each evaluation meeting will be submitted to the Steering Committee at end of each evaluation.

In February, the Task Groups will prepare a report to the Steering Committee that ties together all four evaluations. This report will include:

  • an analysis of how well each system satisfies the functional needs in their original checklists,
  • a comparative evaluation of the systems analyzed,
  • an enumeration of the important functional needs that each system does not satisfy, with recommendations of how, if that system were chosen for Harvard, the need could be satisfied (contract with the vendor for development, local procedural work-arounds, third-party solutions, local development to be integrated with the vendor's system).

Also in February, the Steering Committee will complete its own financial and business analysis of each vendor and OIS will produce a final technical assessment of each system. In late February, the Steering Committee will consolidate these functional, technical, and business analyses and make a recommendation to the University about which system to acquire.

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Classic HOLLIS on the web

By Caren Smith

Imagine a HOLLIS public catalog that you can access directly via your web browser, without needing to invoke a telnet session. Imagine clicking on a URL from a HOLLIS catalog record and linking to a resource. Such features are expected of the public catalog under HOLLIS II, but may become available sooner as part of a project to develop a web front end to the current "classic" HOLLIS system. At the September liaisons meeting, Caren Smith (OIS Systems Librarian) summarized the status of this development project.


In spring of 1996 OIS began investigating systems called "screen scrapers"-programs that provide a web front end to mainframe systems like HOLLIS. The goal was to eliminate the need for telnet to reach the public catalog, and to provide for the hypertext linking of URLs in catalog records. Initial investigations revealed that available products were at a fairly primitive stage of development and would not provide the functionality we needed, so the investigation process was put on hold.

During the summer of 1997, screen-scraping technologies had evolved to the point where investigations could begin anew. OIS evaluated about a dozen vendors, finally selecting a California company called EnterpriseLink.

The design process or "Do no harm"

While vendor investigations proceeded, OIS was working on a specification for how the web front end would look and behave. The main theme was "do no harm"-meaning that all current HOLLIS catalog functionality must be preserved. This specification, which was reviewed by SSHUSH (Standing Subcommittee of HAAC on User Services in HOLLIS), called for the hotlinking of URLs, but also included hotlinking for other functions like traceable headings and the display of circulation and holdings information.

In September, HAAC (HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Committee) approved the project and design specifications.

One might expect that a web front end would in fact offer many new features not possible in a mainframe public catalog. But as those who worked on the design specification quickly realized, putting a web front end on a character based, stateful, command line system is a tricky matter. To preserve current functionality, it will be necessary for this web front end to look and behave very much like the current character interface to HOLLIS.

HOLLIS web and Z39.50 hook to holdings

While web front-end investigations proceeded, OIS was also planning the process of migrating citation databases out of HOLLIS (see the article HOLLIS Citation Databases). This process includes development of a Z39.50 hook to holdings process for databases accessed from a remote provider (to replace the HOLLIS hook to holdings that will be lost once databases are migrated out). It soon became apparent that the new web front could potentially provide this function for some of the migrated databases.

In a later newsletter issue the concept of how this would work will be explored. But for now, the point is that the web front-end project has become an important component in the process of migrating databases out of HOLLIS.


The lifespan of this web front end is about eighteen months-it will not live beyond the implementation of HOLLIS II. For maximum benefit, it needs to be in place as soon as possible and ideally sometime this fall. OIS is providing detailed design specifications and testing but most of the development is being done by EnterpriseLink. Availability of this new front end is tentatively planned for December.

An important point to remember is that this web front end will not replace the existing catalog. The web and telnet versions will both be available. Users will be able to choose the version they prefer.

More information will become available as this project proceeds. If you have questions, contact Caren Smith in OIS.

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HOLLIS citation databases-moving on out

by Stacy Kowalczyk

HOLLIS is not only an integrated library system it is also a home for 9 citation databases. Part of the HOLLIS II migration plan is to find new homes for these databases before our new system is implemented in the summer of 1999. Stacy Kowalczyk (OIS Assistant Director for Systems Development) spoke to liaisons about OIS plans to move these citation databases out of HOLLIS.

The need to move these databases stems from financial and logistical considerations. Citation databases were loaded locally in HOLLIS during a time when there were few other options. But maintaining this data locally is now much more costly compared with accessing it from a remote provider like Ovid, SilverPlatter or FirstSearch. From a logistical standpoint, removing these databases now eliminates the work that would be needed to migrate them into the next system (assuming the next system has a facility to host such databases).

Migrating these databases out of HOLLIS will take a lot of work. HOLLIS citation databases are a heterogeneous bunch-many are commercially produced and available from multiple remote providers. But some are not available remotely, and we will need a local alternative to host these databases. There are enough variations in source and content to conclude that each database to be migrated will require individual attention. Furthermore, users of HOLLIS citation databases enjoy the benefit of a hook to local holdings. Part of this migration project will involve developing a new hook to local holdings facility, based on the Z39.50 search and retrieval protocol, that can be used with remote access to these databases.

OIS is in the process of hiring a two-year term Systems Librarian who will be primarily responsible for this database migration project. The first candidate for migration will be the PsycINFO database. The American Psychological Association (APA) has notified Harvard that beginning in early 1998, the format of PsycINFO data will change significantly. To handle this change would require many months of programming work with little gain in functionality. Instead, we will switch to a remote provider for PsycINFO starting in 1998. More information about the PsycINFO switch will be available in December.

If you have questions about this migration plan, contact Stacy Kowalczyk in OIS.

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Statistics on the web

by Julie Wetherill

In the fall of each year, OIS prepares usage statistics for the HOLLIS public catalog and HOLLIS Plus. Starting this year, these statistical reports are available on the web. Point your web browser to http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/services/reporting/rptstats.html to view a menu of currently available summary statistics. The HOLLIS information includes fiscal year 1997 public catalog database transaction summaries for the HU database and for all databases. Data from the HOLLIS system and Catalog Mode of the HULPR system are included. There is also a high level summary of fiscal year 1996 activity available.

Fiscal 1997 HOLLIS Plus activity appears in the form of summary usage statistics for citation databases (the indexing and abstracting databases paid for by Harvard). There are summaries of remote versus in-library use of these databases and summaries of database use by school. Also included is a link to the monthly HOLLIS Plus database use logs going back to late 1994.

If you have questions about this data, please contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

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Notes from the September Meeting

OIS staffing changes

Stacy Kowalczyk is the new Assistant Director for Systems Development and Manager of the OIS Application, Development and Support Group. Stacy comes to Harvard from her position as Product Manager at Business Systems Corporation of America. Stacy also spent six years at NOTIS Systems, including Manager of Systems Development.

Elaine Benfatto is the new VINE Project Manager. VINE (Veritas Information Network) is Harvard's campus information system, which is jointly administered by UIS and the Library Systems Office. Elaine previously worked as Desktop Publishing and Information Management Specialist in the HUL Preservation Center.

Janet Taylor joined OIS in October as a new Systems Librarian. Janet's previous position was as Acting Director/Systems Librarian at the New England College of Optometry in Boston.

New participants in circulation and course reserves

Loeb Music and Tozzer are the latest libraries to join HOLLIS automated circulation. The other 15 participating libraries include: Cabot, Countway, Divinity, Fine Arts, Gutman, Hilles, Kennedy School, Kummel, Lamont, Law, Littauer, Loeb Design, Loeb Music, Physics Research, Tozzer, Widener, and Wolbach.

New HOLLIS course reserves participants include the Divinity, Fine Arts, and Tozzer libraries. They join four libraries-Cabot, Hilles, Kennedy School, and Lamont-that are already using the RV database in HOLLIS for reserves processing.

Fall 1997 public documentation

For fall 1997, OIS released the following public documentation:

    HOLLIS Reference Guide

    A supply to cover the 1997-1998 academic year has been distributed. HOLLIS Plus Reference Guide
    1997-1998 academic year has been distributed.

    Intra-Library Loan ("Get") information sheet
    a master copy of this from the OIS web site http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/hollis_info/pubdoc.html.

HOLLIS "xsystem" problem

Over the summer, OIS received sporadic reports from HULPR users of frozen sessions and "xsystem" messages. Initially, early reports indicated two common characteristics to these incidents: the operator was using the McGill TCP3270 client and was using a macro at the time the session froze. Recent investigations and discussion at the September liaisons meeting have revealed that staff using other 3270 clients, such as Cornell PCIP and Reflexion, are also experiencing this problem.

OIS suspects that the interaction between the 3270 client macro and the local network is the root of these frozen session reports. In most cases, if the operator reconnects to HULPR and performs the same activities without macros, the session does not freeze. OIS will continue to monitor this-library staff who suffer from this chronic HULPR session freezing problem should contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

Intra Library Loan Pilot - change in status

Lee Anne George, Librarian for Information and Document Delivery Services in Widener Library, reported on some changes to the function and status of the Intra Library Loan Pilot Project. This Pilot, which began in September of 1996, is supported by the get any command in the HOLLIS Public Catalog. Patrons can use this command to request that library materials be delivered to another Harvard library of their choice. (A detailed description of this process appears in the June 1996 issue of the HOLLIS Newsletter, on the web at http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/nls/hnl0696.html.

Earlier in 1997, the University Library Council (ULC) decided to continue this ILL Pilot through the fall 1997 semester, but without support for undergraduate requests. Only faculty, graduate students and staff are now eligible to use this service. At some point near the end of the fall semester, the ULC will consider whether to continue this service into the future. While this extended evaluation period continues, no new intra library loan participants will be added. The "get any" information sheet, site: http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/hollis_info/pubdoc.html.

Lee Anne also announced that the DASH (Document Access Service at Harvard) project, coordinated by HD staff, has been discontinued and all DASH users have been directed to use the get any request within the HOLLIS public catalog.

Digital library project updates

In early September, a new local database Environmental Periodicals Bibliography (EPB) was in the beta-testing phase. [EPB became officially available in mid-September. -the Editor.] EPB is the first local database hosted by the SiteSearch platform-a Z39.50 compliant search engine and web interface system purchased from OCLC. EPB uses the Harvard web interface called GLIPH (Graphical Library Interface for Patrons at Harvard). GLIPH is the same interface used for INSPEC-a database accessed remotely from the OCLC FirstSearch service.

Electronic Reserves is a pilot project coordinated by the College Library with technical support from OIS. For the fall 1997 semester, the reserve readings for six courses will converted to electronic format and made available via a web site set up for each course. OIS will set up the web infrastructure and maintain a repository of electronic reserve materials. Lamont Library staff are creating the web pages and converting the reserve materials. At this point, access to these materials is restricted to students in the course. Contact Lawrence Marcus at Lamont Library if you have questions.

A web front end to HOLLIS

OIS is currently developing a web front end to HOLLIS-that is, a way to access the HOLLIS public catalog directly via a World Wide Web browser. Caren Smith, OIS Systems Librarian in charge of this project, reviewed the status of development for liaisons. Consult the article Classic HOLLIS on the Web of this issue for all the details.

McGill setup and diacritic display

Over the last few months, OIS has received an increasing number of reports from library staff about problems with the display of diacritics when using McGill TCP3270 to connect to HULPR. The problem: support for diacritic and special character display is available but disabled in newly installed McGill software. OIS has changed the default configuration setting of the master copy of McGill (available from the OIS web and ftp sites) so that future installs have diacritics support activated. But for those already installed copies, follow these instructions to "turn on" diacritic support.

  1. Start a McGill session.
  2. From the menu bar, select Options, then Session Profile. A Session Profile dialog box will display.
  3. From the Category list on the left, select the Ala choice. An ALA Options dialog will display.
  4. Look for the Enable ALA Support choice near the top. Click on the checkbox to enable ALA support.
  5. Click on Save and save this change to an individual McGill profile or to "default."

These instructions are also available from a "McGill Tips & Tricks" document on the OIS web site. Point your browser to http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/hollis_info/mcgtip.html to view this document. If you have questions, contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

HOLLIS II update

Tracey Robinson, HOLLIS II Project Manager, updated liaisons on evaluation phase activities. Consult the story HOLLIS II: amidst evaluations for all the details.

HOLLIS 1998-1998 training proposal

With the spring 1998 implementation phase of HOLLIS II approaching, OIS is beginning to consider the future of current HOLLIS staff training. Beginning in the fall of 1998, OIS staff who participating in HOLLIS training will need to devote most of their energies to HOLLIS II implementation.

Julie Wetherill (OIS Training Coordinator) reviewed for liaisons a HOLLIS I training proposal to be presented to the HOLLIS Administrative Advisory Committee (HAAC) later this fall. The proposal calls for a reduction in the frequency of training classes from January through July of 1998 (from monthly to bimonthly). Starting in August 1998, HOLLIS classroom training would stop. In its place, OIS would provide access to the class outlines via the World Wide Web. Individual units would be responsible for staff training from August 1998 until HOLLIS II becomes reality in the summer of 1999. Training would resume as part of HOLLIS II implementation, and there will be some type of training program for HOLLIS II (post-implementation), but it is too early to guess what this would look like.

Liaisons endorsed this proposal, but asked that whatever class outlines and other documentation for specific classes be made available in advance of any changes to classroom schedules (that is, if classes stop after July, put class outlines and etc. on the web in the spring).

More information about any changes to central HOLLIS staff training will be available once HAAC reviews this proposal. If you have questions or suggestions, contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

HOLLIS Plus updates

New resources to be added in September include Environmental Periodicals Bibliography, RILM, and four new RLG Eureka files (Bibliography of the History of Art, Chicano Database, FRANCIS, SCIPIO: Art and Rare Book Sales Catalogs). Existing resources Dissertation Abstracts and Newspaper Abstracts switched to FirstSearch as the new provider. Further details about September enhancements are available from the "News" choice on any HOLLIS Plus screen.

There is also an ongoing project to switch IP-restricted HOLLIS Plus resources (that is, resources that can be accessed only from computers attached to a Harvard network) to Harvard ID restriction. This is achieved through use of a proxy server. The main benefit to users is that ID-restricted resources can be accessed from off campus locations. For the libraries, proxy allows the collection of detailed use statistics that are important when apportioning database costs. OIS is moving IP restricted resources to the proxy service a few at a time. As this project proceeds, further updates will appear in this newsletter.

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Notes and Reminders

Pay statement flagging

The process which flags pay statements as weedable ran in early November. This process will flag as weedable 30,875 pay statements completed between 7/1/89 and 12/31/96. Fiche of the flagged statements will be distributed during the second week of November to those with subscriptions and the actual flagging of pay statements will be done after the fiches are distributed. A notice will be posted to HULINFO when the statements are flagged. Contact Linda Marean in OIS if you have questions.

HULPR dial in lines reduced

Because the usage has been so low, OIS has reduced the number of lines used for dial access to HULPR. All the same warnings about the limited character set still apply. See Appendix A of the HOLLIS Reference manual for further details. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Marean in OIS.

HULPR and HOLLIS downtime over the holidays

The HULPR system will be unavailable on the following dates/times during the upcoming holidays.

  • Thanksgiving Eve: Wednesday, Nov. 26 after 11:00 pm
  • Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, Nov. 27 all day
  • Day after Thanksgiving: Friday, Nov. 28 5:15pm
  • Christmas Eve: Wednesday, Dec. 24 after 12:00 noon
  • Christmas Day: Thursday, Dec. 25 all day
  • New Years Eve: Wednesday, Dec. 31 after 5:00pm
  • New Years Day: Thursday, Jan. 1, 1998 all day

HULPR will be available on its regular schedule at all other times. Note that the HOLLIS system is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week and does not have scheduled holiday downtimes.

Extra downtime during Thanksgiving

UIS is installing new disk storage devices for the mainframe computer on which HOLLIS and HULPR are run. This installation will require a period of down time for both systems. The Thanksgiving holiday provides an opportunity to do this with minimal disruption.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, 11/28/97, HULPR and HOLLIS will be brought down at 5:15 p.m. to begin the installation of new disk devices and migration of data to them. It is anticipated that both HOLLIS and HULPR will return before 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, 11/29/97, which is when the first library will open for the day. If additional time is needed for the installation, the normal `window' from 1:00 - 9:00 a.m. on Sunday is available.

If you have any questions or concerns about this schedule, please contact Linda Marean.

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OIS Current Project List

This table tracks the large and medium-sized OIS developed projects that are underway or pending. For more information on a particular project, contact OIS (495-3724 or by e-mail to: hulois@harvard.edu ).

Doing title selection.


Target date

Major milestones

HOLLIS Activities

Baker's New System Fall 97 All data supplied. Baker is considering batchloading new cataloging to both OCLC and HOLLIS, a premise to be tested the week of 10/1.
Migration of Databases out of HOLLIS ongoing JW on group to decide vendor for PsycINFO, decision due 11/7. CS will plan project for hook-to-holdings for 1 external DB, probably LR. Mtg. 9/26 on future of AL database. Job posted for Z39.50 programmer to help in migrations.
Web interface for OPAC ongoing Work is proceeding on coding to our specification. Vendor has created basic functionality with no hotlinks and no special screens (ie input screens such as GET and COM). Also need in-lib/out-lib security for restricted db's. Stacy and Marty handling server issues.
New HU Chart of Accounts ?? Awaiting more information/timing...

Digital Library Projects

Digital Finding Aids Project 10/21 Preparing for EADWG meeting later this month; Customizing UofM Perl gateway/EAD interface
Ereserves 11/1 System in prod; Refining procedures; Preparing for next phase and next semester.
DTOCS 11/10

Other Projects

HOLLIS Plus New Resources   Add new JSTOR titles; switch Books in Print to Ovid. Still in development: Lexis/Nexis, ISI Web of Science, CIAO,Encyclopedia Americana, OneSource
HOLLIS Plus Infrastructure   Proxy URLs now handled centrally via web form; taking over proxy programming from NDS and explaining possible solutions; investigating mSQL for db of dbs
SiteSearch (web-based search engine & database platform)   Environmental Periordicals Bibliography update has major data problems which the vendor must address. No estimate from the vendor as to when data fix will be completed.
HOLLIS Training Schedule

HOLLIS training for library staff takes place from 10:00a.m. to 12:00pm at 1280 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 404. Staff members may sign up for these training sessions as a series or as needed. Please contact Patti Fucci in OIS (495-3724) or by e-mail to p_fucci@harvard.edu for more information or to register for a session. If you register by e-mail, be sure to include your name, the classes and dates you are registering for, and a return e-mail address or telephone number.

November 13/December 8 Session #1: Introduction to HOLLIS. Includes basic system structure, functions and record types, basic searching.
November 14/December 9 Session #2: In-Depth Searching. Includes detailed searching techniques and review of index structure.
November 18/December 11 Session #3: Bibliographic Record Creation and Maintenance. Discussion of bibliographic record creation and maintenance, in HOLLIS, utility tape processing, sources of bibliographic data (including the LC books file).
November 19/December 16 Session #4: Serial Holdings Record Creation and Maintenance. Detailed review of serial holdings record format, rules and standards for coding holdings data.
November 20/December 18 Session #5: Order/Pay/Receipt Records. Review of O/P/R records, order creation, conventions for recording receipt of materials, production of claim memoranda.
December 18 Session #6*: Fund Accounting in HOLLIS. Includes invoice creation, recording of payment transactions, accounting unit record display and maintenance.
November 17/December 23 Session #10**: Introduction to HOLLIS Distributed Reporting. Includes system overview, constructing basic queries, sort/saving results, and printed reports.
January 5, 1998 Session #11: Introduction to McGill TCP3270 for Windows. Connecting/disconnecting, fonts/toolbar/colors, keyboard maps, simple HULPR editing..
November 24 Session #12: Advanced McGill TCP3270 for Windows. Redefining the toolbar, ALA keyboard advanced topics, creating macros and assigning them to keyboard, toolbar, and poppad, advanced editing techniques.

*Session #6 meets from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
**Session #10 meets from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

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HOLLIS Plus updates

November enhancements

On November 1, Harvard switched to Ovid as the provider of the Books in Print (BIP) database. With Ovid comes a graphical web-based interface that is already familiar to users of ABI-Inform, Medline, and Current Contents. The reasons behind this switch are functional and financial. There has always been a desire to move to a web interface (and eliminate the need for a telnet connection). And Harvard has an Ovid database contract structured to make it easy to add databases without high cost.

There are several new JSTOR electronic journals scheduled to be added to HOLLIS Plus in November. These include: World Politics, Mathematics of Computation, SIAM Review, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, and Journal of Philosophy.

SilverPlatter and arrow keys

In the existing database department, there seems to be a correlation between the spread of Windows 95 desktop computers and an increase in complaints about problems using SilverPlatter databases. Some SilverPlatter databases, such as Medline, require you to use arrow keys to select specific database segments before searching can begin. The performance of arrow keys is controlled by the telnet software being used to make the connection with SilverPlatter. Most telnet packages come with working arrow keys. But it appears that the Microsoft telnet client that comes with Windows95 has its arrow keys disabled.

The procedure to activate the VT100 arrow keys in this client is:

  1. Start up a telnet session to a SilverPlatter database.
  2. From the telnet client's menu bar, select Terminal and then Preferences.
  3. Select the VT100 arrows choice by clicking on it.
  4. Press the OK button to finish this configuration change.

If you have questions about HOLLIS Plus contact Julie Wetherill in OIS.

Proxy and MSIE 4

The project to move HOLLIS Plus IP-restricted resources to ID restriction has so far converted the following resources:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Patrologia Latina
  • Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition
  • Electronic journals from JSTOR and Project Muse

A software solution called a proxy server is providing the ID restriction for these resources. As of early November, OIS has paused this project to review performance and other technical issues.

There is one access problem related to proxy that OIS recently identified, related to patrons using version 4 of the Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) web browser. There is an incompatibility between the HOLLIS Plus proxied resources and version 4.0 of MSIE. At this point we are still investigating the problem and do not have a solution, except to suggest that patrons use another browser (Netscape or an earlier version of MSIE). If you have questions, contact Lydia Ievins in OIS.

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