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OIS News -- March 2001

Feature Aleph implementation: library participation
Implementation teams

How to get involved



PIN Project to change HOLLIS authentication process HOLLIS ILS Recent record weeds
Accounts Receivable update

Change in Term Bill report procedure

Notes & reminders

Contacting a reorganized OIS

URLs in this issue



Aleph implementation: library participation

Sixteen months from now, Harvard libraries will replace the legacy HOLLIS integrated library system with the Aleph 500 system. Although there is a significant amount of "technical" work to be done, some of the biggest challenges lie in the areas of training, communication, data collection for conversion specifications, and the process of analyzing and reworking our many highly tuned workflows. Much of this work will require significant involvement on the part of library staff.

The Aleph Steering Committee recently asked library administrators to recognize and commit to a process which will rely heavily on the involvement of staff in key areas including implementation teams, training and communication. This article summarizes these key areas and outlines how interested staff can get involved.

Implementation teams

There will be ten basic functional teams (with approximately 6-7 members on each team):

Financial functions
Serial processing/serial holdings
Desktop client configuration and support

Additional ad hoc or cross-team work groups may be established as needed. Implementation teams will work with OIS staff to review conversion specifications and data, develop functional expertise, draft workflow guidelines, write configuration specifications, and recommend policy issues to the Steering Committee. Implementation team members will need to commit, on average, at least 20-30 percent of their time to the project over the course of the next 16-18 months.


OIS plans to design a program that will train library staff in critical functions during the months of March-July 2002. Early estimates suggest that such an intensive program will need 18-22 trainers plus 20-30 training facilitators. There is a strong interest in using existing library staff for this program rather than hiring training consultants but clearly this approach will only work if we get enough qualified volunteers.

Trainers will begin to acquire functional knowledge of Aleph in the summer of 2001 with the expectation that they will assist in the development of curricula during the fall and winter of 2001-2002. Training experience is not required. In addition to appropriate Aleph training, a training skills workshop will be offered to all participants. Trainers will need to commit an average of 20% of their time to the project starting in the summer of 2001 through the winter of 2002. During the intensive training period (March-June 2002) trainers will be expected to devote 2 days per week to the training effort.

Training facilitators will receive early training (winter 2002) and then will assist in classrooms during the intensive training period (Spring 2002), on average, one day per week.


During the course of the implementation project, OIS will need to collect information as well as to disseminate information to library staff on a regular basis. To facilitate this process each library has been asked to designate a library project liaison. Starting in April OIS expects to convene monthly liaison meetings to provide a forum for communication with library staff. We will also need to conduct surveys to collect information about library requirements, workflow and data practices. A key role of project liaisons will be to coordinate and facilitate the survey process for their unit. Liaisons will likely need to commit 15-30 hours a month to this process. Some libraries may choose a project liaison who also has a training or implementation team role.

Developing a network of IT support liaisons is another important part of project communication. Issues related to desktop client distribution and configuration will be managed by a small implementation team comprised of IT support staff from OIS and several other units. This team will meet as needed with a representational group of IT support staff from each of the schools to insure that client setup and support issues are well understood by local IT staff.

How to get involved

The process of filling project positions is the responsibility of the Aleph Steering Committee. Library administrators have been asked to pass their staff nominations to OIS, which will forward them to the Steering Committee for consideration. Staff interested in volunteering should contact their supervisors. Note that it will not be possible to represent all libraries on all teams. The Steering Committee will work very hard to select team members who will broadly represent the library community and will also take into consideration any unique needs or expertise of the libraries.

OIS has asked that administrators submit their nominations for project liaisons and implementation team members no later than 26 March to Kathleen Anderson in OIS.

Administrators are also encouraged to consider whether there are staff in their libraries who would be willing, interested and qualified to act as trainers. OIS will be asking for training program volunteers later this spring once we have a clearer sense of the full scope of the program.

Contact Kathleen Anderson or Tracey Robinson in OIS if you have questions. Ì




PIN Project to change HOLLIS authentication process

The PIN (personal identification number) Project is a joint effort of HUL Office for Information Systems, UIS and Central Administration. Scheduled for implementation in late August 2001, the PIN Project will involve migrating to the University PIN server for HOLLIS Portal authentication. Currently, people who are not located in library buildings need to type in last name and Harvard ID number in order to use most HOLLIS Portal electronic resources. Migration to the University PIN server will require keying in a Harvard ID number and a PIN. One of the major aims of this project is to move members of the Harvard community closer to the goal of a single signon for an increasing number of web-based Harvard University systems. For example, the same ID number/PIN combination will be used for reader empowerment functions in the Aleph online catalog in 2002.

While some university populations (FAS; anyone who can be term-billed) have already been given PINS, other members of the Harvard community can currently obtain a PIN by going to https://www.huid.harvard.edu/pin/default.asp and clicking on the link "Request a New Harvard University PIN". At present, a PIN letter is sent by mail in about a week. Newly distributed PINs expire after a month if not used. Since the current turnaround time is too short for critical applications like HOLLIS, an e-mail-based PIN delivery system is planned for the Spring. For added security, newly distributed PINs (in the future) will have a shorter "lifespan" as well.

Communication and user support, rather than OIS development, are key components of this project. Informing HOLLIS users about what will be changing and why will be among the most important tasks over the coming months.

More information about the PIN Project will appear in this newsletter and in the Under Development section of the OIS web site as developments proceed. Consult the University's PIN Administration Site.

If you have questions or concerns about the project, please contact Caren Smith in OIS. Ì


Recent record weeds

On 26 February, 155,733 orders completed before 12/31/1998 were weeded from the HULPR order file. Microfiche of these orders have been distributed to libraries with subscriptions. If you have questions, contact Maureen O'Drisceoil in OIS. Ì


Accounts Receivable update

On Monday, February 26, libraries using HOLLIS for circulation received a new preliminary report for of all patrons who have bill/fine records eligible to be sent to Accounts Receivable.

The new preliminary report contains the following information:

Bill/fine date
Patron name
HOLLIS Bill/Fine Record Number
A/R Invoice Number (in the preliminary report, this field will say "preliminary.")
A/R Customer Number (if the patron does not yet have a customer number in the A/R database, this field will be blank).
Service Unit
Fine Reason ("overdue", which will mean regular overdue fines as well as recall fines or "replacement")
Fine Amount
Invoice Total
Patron Total

Libraries should use this report to waive any fines that should not be sent to Accounts Receivable for billing.

On the evening of Wednesday, February 28, HOLLIS sent an electronic feed of all outstanding bill/fine records to Accounts Receivable for invoice processing. The libraries received a final report from OIS of all patrons who were included in this electronic feed. The final report contains the A/R invoice number assigned to the patron's bill, as well as A/R customer numbers for all those patrons submitted as part of the feed. If a patron does not have an A/R customer number at the time that HOLLIS submits the feed, that individual's bill will not be processed until next month's external billing run.

In the past, libraries signed off on their final report and sent it to Accounts Receivable. Libraries should no longer send this final report to Accounts Receivable; this report should be used to assist with possible patron inquiries about bills.

Documentation about the new process for Accounts Receivable, including information about the preliminary and final reports, the electronic feed, and aged invoice reporting, can be found in the HOLLIS ILS / Circulation section of the OIS web site. A link to this information also appears on the Circulation Liaisons Committee page.

Please address any questions about the new Accounts Receivable process to Patty Hatch in OIS. Ì


Change in Term Bill report procedure

Please note that the regular monthly external billing run includes both A/R and student term bill processing. While there is a new preliminary report for A/R transactions, the report for term bill will be the same as always.

In late February, libraries were contacted by the Term Bill office indicating that it was no longer necessary for the libraries to send a printed report to the Term Bill Office. Although the Term Bill office no longer wishes to receive this report, HOLLIS will still print this report for the libraries' records. The Term Bill office has also requested that whoever signed off on the Term Bill report in the past send a note on the library unit's letterhead to the Term Bill office with the appropriate signature(s) to comply with University audit policies.

Please address any questions about Term Bill to Patty Hatch in OIS. Ì

Notes & reminders

Contacting a reorganized OIS

The December 2000 issue of OIS News described the recent reorganization of OIS operations. A revised organization chart representing the new team structure of the office is now available (in HTML and PDF formats) from the OIS web site. This chart is one way to identify contacts in OIS. A potentially more useful way to get in touch with OIS is the Guide to Services page. Formerly called "Service Contacts", this page lists OIS systems and services, who in OIS to contact about them, and links to more information.

As always, if despite these tools you are unsure who to contact in OIS, just call 617-495-3724 and ask your question. We will direct your call to the appropriate person. Or send e-mail to hulois@hulmail.harvard.edu.

Contact Julie Wetherill in OIS if you have questions. Ì


URLs in this issue

HOLLIS Steering Committee:

OIS website -- 'Under Development' section:

Harvard University PIN administration site:

PIN management utilities:

OIS website -- new accounts receivable procedure:

HOLLIS Circulation Liaisons committee:

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