OIS News -- August 2001
Aleph Implementation Project
Notes & reminders
This fall the Harvard University Library will unveil one of the first LDI funded projects the Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL). The goal of the Harvard Geospatial Library is to alleviate the most common challenges users face when they embark upon a geospatial analysis project: finding interesting data, obtaining that data in a useable form, learning to use new data analysis tools, and accessing appropriate computing platforms. The Harvard Geospatial Library is an innovative combination of library and analytical laboratory services that will enable students, faculty, and other members of the Harvard University community to perform meaningful geospatial analyses within the strict time requirements of a problem set, term paper, or real-world issues.
The purpose of the Harvard Geospatial Library is threefold:
An introduction to the functions and services of the Harvard Geospatial Library will be held at an Open Meeting in the Lamont Forum Room on September 10 at 2 pm. The meeting will provide a general overview of the system and services.
Two HGL training events are planned. An introduction to HGL, covering use of the catalog and geospatial resources of the Harvard Geospatial Library, will be provided in the Lamont Forum Room in September. To accommodate schedules, two sessions are offered.
September 14 2 - 4 pm
A second "hands-on" session featuring use of the Explore function -- the HGL cartography tool -- will be offered in Lamont ELF2 later in September.
September 21 9:30 11 am
The HGL open meeting is open to all interested members of the Harvard library and museum community. To attend either of the two HGL training events, pre-registration is required. Contact Patti Fucci in OIS (firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to 617-495-3724). Contact Stacy Kowalczyk in OIS if you have questions. Ì
What follows originally appeared as an 8 August HULINFO message from Dale Flecker (Associate Director of the University Library for Planning and Systems).
As the number of systems developed and operated by the Office for Information Systems grows, the competing demands for system maintenance and enhancement grows proportionately, The University Library Council has been increasingly concerned about the complexity of resource allocation for developing and maintaining our systems. Early this summer, all of the steering committees for our various systems presented status reports to the ULC, along with lists of development priorities. In addition, OIS prepared an inventory of all developments underway or in queue. The ULC considered this list in detail, and decided on a list of top maintenance and development priorities for the next academic year. These priorities are described below.
The intent of this list is to provide general guidance in resource allocation, not to be a detailed blueprint for developments. It is unlikely that everything on this list will be completed (or perhaps even started) during the year. Also some of these items (such as Aleph implementation enhancements) are actually composed of a long list of individual work items which are likely to have differing time-frames for completion. It is expected that the ULC will revisit this list during the year, and that priorities may need to be adjusted in response to changes in the environment.
The following list in priority order was approved by the University Library Council (ULC) at its meeting of July 19, 2001 for the coming academic year:
(Note: in light of the inter-relationship between items 3 through 6, and of the immediate importance and complexity of issues related to digital image support, the ULC established a new, ad hoc group to oversee these developments.) The intent of this list is to provide general guidance to the Office for Information Systems in initiating projects and allocating development resources. Other factors (such as the availability of specific development resources, developments in the outside world, or changed circumstances) will also likely influence specific project timing. OIS will consult with the ULC periodically during the year on development progress and the initiation of new projects. Ì
This is a reminder that starting Sunday 19 August, Harvard users will need an ID and PIN (instead of last name and ID) in order to access restricted HOLLIS electronic resources from outside of libraries. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the switchover to PINs. If you have questions, contact Caren Smith in OIS. See the next article announcing an open meeting on the PIN migration, to be held on 14 August.
Although PINs can not be used UNTIL 19 August, dont wait until the last minute request your PIN today at http://www.pin.harvard.edu!
WHAT IS CHANGING? In order to log into HOLLIS electronic resources
from outside of libraries, you will need to use a PIN instead of last
name and ID.
There will be an Open Meeting on Tuesday, August 14th from 4-5pm in
the Lamont Forum Room about PIN Migration. This meeting is intended
for circulation, access services, reference and other staff who are likely
to field questions about the move to use the University PIN for HOLLIS
- Why are we migrating to PIN use for HOLLIS electronic resources?
By the end of August, it will be possible to perform "deep linking" of HOLLIS portal resources, that is, bookmark and reuse URLs that point directly to a specific section of a providers site. This will enable (for example) faculty to provide links to journal articles from course web sites and library staff to include similar links for EReserves. This feature has been available on a very limited basis to EReserves staff for a few years, but OIS has made modifications to expand its scope. The details about scope and URL building process follow.
Portal deep linking is designed to work for any portal resource accessible from EZProxy. Most portal resources that require you to enter your name and Harvard ID are under EZProxy. In portal resource listings, the letter "i" to the left of a resource name indicates access by Harvard ID.
When deep linking will not work. Deep linking will not work with resources restricted to on-campus use (denoted with a letter C to the left of the resource name listing), as well as resources that do not use EZProxy (including resources in ProQuest and RLGs Eureka on the Web). In addition, Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe is ineligible because individual articles on this site are not assigned persistent URLs.
Deep linking also will not work with resources that include a session identifier in their URLs. If you "deep link" to such a resource, it is likely that the session will have expired when you try using that URL again and the link will fail. Beta-testing of deep linking revealed that the AccessUN resource is of this type, but there may be others. If you are not sure, best practice would be to build a link and then check it several hours or a day later to verify it still works.
What about OVID? OIS is in the process of moving OVID resources under EZProxy, but functionality of these with deep linking has not yet been tested. More information on OVID status will be available in the near future.
What about ProQuest? Although ProQuest resources are not compatible with the portal's deep linking function, a separate process for constructing persistent links is available through ProQuest's Sitebuilder service. To date, this service has been used primarily by library staff in support of electronic reserves (EReserves). OIS is now contemplating how to expand access to this service and is interested to hear from those at Harvard who would want to use it. Contact Ivy Anderson or Julie Wetherill in OIS if you are interested in deep linking to ProQuest resources.
The deep linking function is expected to be available around the end of August. The following are simple instructions for building a deep link.
From the HOLLIS portal, select a resource and navigate through the providers site to locate the article or section of interest. Bookmark or copy the URL for the article or section and use as needed. It is advisable to test this type of URL a day after creation to insure it works.
These "deep links" are still subject to portal (EZProxy) access control, so users accessing the URL from outside of a Harvard library will be asked for a Harvard ID.
If you have questions about deep links to portal resources, contact Ben Noeske in OIS. Ì
In mid-July, OIS staff who support the HOLLIS portal bid a final farewell to the APC proxy. All electronic resources that had been using APC have been switched to EZProxy. OIS is now evaluating those resources restricted to on-campus access as candidates for EZProxy.
APC (Automatic Proxy Configuration) was introduced in 1999 as a new method of controlling access to licensed resources. However, APC had downsides (including the need for local browser configuration) that kept OIS on the hunt for a better method. EZProxy was implemented in 2000 and is now the primary access control mechanism for portal resources . Ì
The Union Catalog of the Harvard Libraries (HU database) reached the 9 million record level at the end of June 2001 -- still the largest academic library union catalog in the world. HU has been growing steadily by an average of 270,000 records per year since the end of Retrospective Conversion (Recon) in December 1996. It was the Recon project that really broke growth records -- by adding 4.3 million records for core books and serials from 1993 to 1996.
HOLLIS ILS is Harvards first fully automated library system. It began operation in mid-1985 as an acquisitions system that also supported serial control and fund accounting. Over the years, Harvard libraries enhanced the system to include cataloging (1987), a public catalog (1988), circulation (1989), and course reserves (1994).
The HOLLIS ILS timeline is nearing its end, as planning for implementation of its replacement Aleph 500 is well underway. All functions of the HOLLIS ILS will be replaced by Aleph on 1 July 2002. Aleph Implementation Project information is available from the OIS web site. Ì
The Aleph Implementation Steering Committee has approved an OIS request to scale back central staff training on HOLLIS ILS functions. OIS needs to redirect training staff and classroom resources into the Aleph implementation effort. The program's five basic classes (introduction, searching, bibliographic records, orders, and holdings) will continue on a monthly basis through Fall 2001. Other classes (items, circulation introduction) will be offered once during Fall 2001. All classes will be discontinued at the end of December 2001.
Staff training for Aleph will begin in the March-April 2002 timeframe and continue well past July 2002. Eventually (after implementation activities wind down) a regular program of central Aleph staff training will again be offered.
The Fall 2001 training schedule is now available on the OIS web site. Although no centralized training will be offered starting in January 2002, all class handouts will continue to be available. If you have questions, contact Patty Hatch in OIS. Ì
Information in this article first appeared in a HULINFO message from Charles Husbands on 25 July.
Back in January 2000, OIS introduced the 806H abend to prevent storage problems caused by necessary changes to application programs. Its purpose is to terminate a task that acquires but does not release storage space. ("Abend" stands for abnormal end; the result of which is a frozen screen with an abend message near the bottom. The Abend will cost you your context in the system and any unsaved record changes, but pressing clear allows you to continue with the session.)
806H has been effective in eliminating the "short on storage" condition it was introduced to prevent, and the small number of calls into OIS seem to indicate that staff have adjusted to 806H as an unpleasant fact of life. However, the number of 806H occurrences has increased significantly recently. This prompted OIS to reissue the reminder of 806H causes and possible work arounds.
There are five common 806H cases, including (1) paging through a long index (or a series of bibliographic records from an index), (2) browsing invoices in an invoice ID index, (3) paging through screens of a single invoice, (4) using next/prev to look at items linked to a location, and (5) paging through a long item summary. Consult Charles Husbands' HULINFO message for the workarounds in these cases. Ì
"Using EAD (Encoded Archival Description)" is a day-long workshop for Harvard repository staff offering a basic introduction to finding aid markup using SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and the EAD document type definition. The Fall 2001 offering of this workshop will be held on:
Thursday, 8 November
Location: ELF2 classroom, Lamont Library Level 5
This workshop is free but requires pre-registration. Please contact Patti Fucci in OIS to register (617-495-3724 or by email to email@example.com). More information about this workshop is available from the OASIS section of the OIS web site. Ì
There is progress to report in areas of conversion, data clean-up, enhancements, and training. Remember, use the AIP comment facility to send your comments and questions about the Aleph implementation project.
Conversion. During the first week of August, OIS plans to send the second subset of records for loading on to Harvard's Aleph test system. This second subset will include all record formats (unlike the first test subset, which was limited to bibliographic, authority, and holdings records). These subset loads are important for testing conversion programs and indexing of data. Consult the May OIS News for details on the conversion and record loading schedule.
Cleanup of library data. Back in May, libraries were surveyed (via their Aleph Project Liaisons) about local uses of the HOLLIS location subfield $c (text before call number) to express collection names (e.g., Reference, Microfiche). (The May OIS News issue has the details.) Results of this survey will be used to establish collection names for each library in Aleph. This process also revealed errors in current collection naming, some of which are being corrected manually by library staff, the rest to be corrected automatically during conversion of records to Aleph.
The latest survey -- on use of unlinked item records in HULPR -- was sent to Project Liaisons in July. Aleph does not support our current model for unlinked items in HULPR (but it does offer support for functions like "on the fly" barcoding--the most common use of unlinked items). Therefore it is important for us to develop alternative strategies for workflows currently relying on unlinked item records. Survey responses were due by 9 August.
Harvard enhancements. OIS and implementation teams are now in the process of reviewing enhancements scheduled to be available in release 15.1 of Aleph. Most of these enhancements were already in process when Harvard contracted to implement Aleph. Many relate to small changes in circulation or billing displays. Harvard will sign off on enhancements in this release, but will wait for version 15.2 (due late 2001) before installing a new release locally. Our test system is currently running on Aleph version 14.2.
Training development. The Harvard library community responded generously to the May call for Aleph trainers. There are currently 37 trainers (see the list) participating in "train the trainer" classes offered by Ex Libris staff during July and August. Trainers, grouped into functional areas based on their particular expertise and interest, will be responsible for developing course content, assisting with documentation creation, and classroom instruction.
Those July and August "train the trainer" classes are well underway. Ex Libris training staff (Susan Marshall, Helen Gbala, and Debbie Cheesman) have completed classes on staff searching, OPAC, and cataloging. Acquisitions classes are in process, to be followed by circulation, serials, and course reserves. In addition to trainers, representatives from implementation teams have also attended these classes. All this learning will be followed in early September by the start of course development activities. Ì
Aleph Project Liaisons are responsible for facilitating the flow of information between OIS and their unit, and representing the interests of their unit during the implementation process. At upcoming Liaison monthly meetings, OIS plans to offer (among other things) progress reports by individual functional implementation teams. For example, at the June 2001 meeting, Ellen Cohen reported on the progress of the Financial Operations Team.
For upcoming Liaisons meetings, OIS has tentatively scheduled the following implementation team reports:
Project liaisons are welcome to bring along 1-2 colleagues from their unit who have a specific interest in the functional areas covered at each meeting. All of these meetings (except for November) will be held in the Lamont Forum Room from 2-3:30pm. Since the Forum Room is not available for the November meeting, OIS will announce alternate arrangements at a later date.
The Aleph Project Liaison section of the OIS web site offers a list of liaisons, a description of their responsibilities, and a meeting schedule. Contact Julie Wetherill in OIS if you have questions. Ì
Notes & reminders
In the DRS section, additions include: version 2 of the User Manual for Data Loading and a new metadata page with links to the DRS batch DTD, metadata dictionaries, sample batch XML files, and a web-based XML validator specifically for DRS batch XML files.
Harvard PIN website:
HOLLIS ILS training page:
HULINFO message regarding 806H abends:
EReserves: new RV bibliographic entry guidelines:
EReserves: revised URL building instructions:
AIP: implementation teams:
Updated AIP training page:
DRS: version 2 of the User Manual for Data Loading:
DRS: metadata page: