OIS News -- September 2001
Aleph Implementation Project
Library Digital Initiative
Notes & Reminders
Aleph Implementation Project
There is progress to report in areas of conversion, system configuration, work of the implementation teams, hardware planning, system developments, and training. Remember, use the AIP comment facility to send your comments and questions about the Aleph implementation project.
Conversion activities are speeding up as we approach the climax of subset #2 data loading. This will be a comprehensive subset load including approximately 200,000 bibliographic records plus holdings, order, item, vendor, and patron data. Around the end of September, the implementation teams will be able to start review of the converted data beginning in October.
System configuration. Efforts continue to configure our local Aleph test server. The blessing and the curse of Aleph is its high degree of configurability. There are roughly 300 different tables that need set up. Implementers face a steep learning curve as they figure out functions of each table and the implications of the changes they make.
Implementation teams continue to meet weekly, working on functional workflows. Primary focus is on basic functions (the things we do regularly), to be followed by more exceptional practices. Aleph trainers, activated during the summer, will be assisting in workflow investigations.
Hardware planning. OIS has made a decision on the platform for the Aleph production server. The new server – from a powerful new hardware line called "SUN Fire" – is expected to arrive in December and be ready in January for data loading and scale testing. Eventually, OIS also expects to put in place a second server for backup and testing purposes.
OIS is now forming a server operations team that will work out the details of daily Aleph operations. OIS will work with University Information Systems (UIS) to develop prodecures for Aleph operations support.
System developments. Ex Libris continues to work on Aleph enhancements specified by Harvard. The original goal was for these enhancements to be available by Harvard’s Day One (July 1 2002). It is becoming clear that while the bulk of these will be there on Day One, some will be delivered later. The next scheduled release of Aleph software is due in December. The vendor is pushing hard to get most of Harvard’s Day One enhancements into this release.
There are also local developments that OIS must complete in order for Aleph to work smoothly in our environment. Most of these involve flows of data into and out of Aleph, such as bibliographic record import/export, loading resource files, and links to local Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable systems. Systems staff, currently working on conversion, will shift focus to local developments in the near future.
Planning for a local management reporting system is getting underway with the formation of a reporting system implementation team. Aleph does not currently have a reporting system along the lines of our Distributed Reporting System (accessed by the BI/Query desktop client). Unlike other implementation teams, the reporting team will focus on designing a system rather than converting from what we have now.
Training program. Trainers completed their Aleph functional training in August and have been meeting with their related implementation team to review implementation decisions and status of Harvard developments. Their first step in the Aleph staff training design process will be developing an inventory of job tasks in their respective functional areas. In late October, trainers will participate in a workshop on course design methods. Ì
With budget preparation season upon us, library managers should keep in mind the recommended desktop hardware and software configurations to support Aleph access for staff and patrons. These recommendations, first announced in February 2001, are available on the OIS web site:
These recommendations, based on specifications provided by Ex Libris, are intended to assist libraries in budgeting for upgrade or replacement of existing workstations. In general, it will be no surprise that these recommendations emphasize PCs with fast processors and increased RAM, especially for staff use. Also notable is their minimum recommendation of 17" monitors. The experience of implementation and training staff has verified that larger monitors will be key to effective use of the windows-intensive software.
If you have specific questions about Aleph desktop configurations, contact Lesly Corrielus in OIS. Ì
Updated policies and procedures for adding resources to the HOLLIS portal have recently been approved and published on the Digital Acquisitions website. Separate procedures have been developed for restricted resources -- that is, those for which payment is required or a license must be signed -- and for unrestricted resources such as government or academic websites that are freely available on the net. The respective procedures have been approved by the Digital Acquisitions and Collections Committee and the Public Services Committee of the University Library Council.
Restricted resources require sponsorship by a Harvard library that is prepared to provide some level of funding. If a library is funding a resource in full, only technical and license issues require additional review. If the resource is from an unfamiliar vendor, a trial will generally be mounted for technical evaluation purposes. Resources for which some amount of shared funding is sought will usually receive a more thorough evaluation by COERS (Committee on Electronic Resources and Services) or another appropriate group before funding is approved.
Unrestricted resources can be added to the portal at the discretion of the sponsoring library. The sponsor must assume ongoing stewardship of the resource and arrange for cataloging in HOLLIS.
Procedures and request forms for each type of resource can be found on the Digital Acquisitions website at http://hul.harvard.edu/digacq/sponsorship.html. Contact Ivy Anderson, Coordinator for Digital Acquisitions, for more information. Ì
This is a reminder about the Library information section of the HOLLIS portal Pages. Each library is responsible for keeping information on these pages current. During transition periods when regular hours do not apply, you may wish to add a note that directs people to the "irregular hours" section (or to your own library page hours) to avoid misleading them. Please contact Ben Noeske in OIS if you have questions about how to do this.
If you are unsure of who is maintaining library information for your library, please consult the library contact list at http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/systems/hplus/libinfo_list.html. Ì
Regretfully, Jean Spoolstra (OIS Manager of System administration and operations support) has left OIS for a position in the library at UMass/Amherst. Jean was the lead person responsible for HOLLIS/HULPR operations support. Her responsibilities included security/operator profiles in HULPR, oversight for data loading, and for many other jobs and procedures that keep HOLLIS and HULPR healthy and stable.
Maureen O'Drisceoil in OIS has assumed responsibility for most of Jean's mainframe support duties. Please send security requests to email@example.com. If you have any other related questions feel free to contact Maureen, Caren Smith or Tracey Robinson. Ì
OIS has modified the HOLLIS ILS patron file to accommodate the changes to library access mandated by Harvard Human Resources for "limited regular" employees and casual employees who have worked longer than two years. (These employees have been issued ID cards that include the word PART-TIME. They are sometimes known as 'EP's or 'EPE's.) Library circulation staff should be made aware of these changes.
Records for these employees are now loaded into the HOLLIS ILS patron file from the central HR system. Patrons of this type are assigned patron category STAF. Their privileges will cease on the ID expiration date shown on the card. It is the understanding of OIS that these PART-TIME ID cards will expire on the first 31 August after they are issued.
Some EP employees are also registered students who already appear in the patron file with other patron categories. These will retain their student categories, but their expiration dates will be determined only from the ID card expiration date instead of involving the expected date of graduation as is done for other students. Frequently this means that the computed expiration date for EP students is further in the future than it would be were they not EPs.
EPs who are not students frequently lack HR records sufficiently complete to allow the HOLLIS ILS to assign a faculty code. Such patron records are given a faculty code of 99. When a faculty code is assigned it may reflect a previous full-time job unrelated to the current employment.
A general problem with casual employees is that it is hard to tell when they have ceased to be employed. Their termination is only erratically reported to HR. For this and other technical reasons the HOLLIS ILS cannot rely on a termination date reported to the HR system. That is why only the ID card expiration date is used to compute the end date of privileges for these employees. This opens the door to abuse of privileges, but university departments, being made aware of this potential, have been urged to collect the ID cards of departing employees. Fortunately the number of employees involved is small, likely in the 150 to 300 range. It has been difficult to obtain a reliable figure from the Human Resources staff.
Direct any questions about this change to Patty Hatch in OIS. Ì
Replacement pages for HOLLIS Holdings field 807 - Physical Description Fixed Field are available on the web as a pdf document
You may access the document directly or via the homepages of those preparing the vetting the document:
-- Standing Subcommittee on Bibliographic Standards and Policy
-- Standing Subcommittee on Serials, Series and Continuations
The 17 replacement pages (numbered 3:44 through 3:54, 3:55-a through 3:55-g) replace pages 3:44-56 in the printed version of the HOLLIS Holdings Editing Guide. Tables include information about OCLC and RLIN definitions for 007 data; when RLIN completes its implementation, the pages will be reissued to incorporate RLIN definitions.
Please print the replacement pages and insert them in your copies of the Holdings Editing Guide. If you are unable to print the pages, please contact Patti Fucci in OIS to request a printed copy. Ì
Library Digital Initiative
The new call for proposals for Round 5 of the Library Digital Initiative (LDI) Internal Challenge Grant Program will be posted on the LDI web site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ldi/ ] on October 19, 2001 with a deadline for submission of December 14, 2001. Since LDI resources are fully dedicated to the development of the core infrastructure that supports projects awarded in Rounds 1-4, new proposals must show how they will use existing LDI infrastructure in a production environment. New infrastructure projects will be on hold for the next two rounds. Round 5 will be competitive with only visual material projects eligible. These projects will require matching funds on a 1:1 basis.
Contact Wendy Gogel (495-3724) for more information. Ì
New on the OIS Web site
In the Systems part of the web site, a new section has been added with information about the Harvard Geospatial Library system. In the EReserves section, added a Troubleshooting EReserves problems document. In the HOLLIS portal section, revised the Adding new resources portion of the About e-resources page.
On the introductory page of the Under Development part of the web site, added a link to a FY2001/2002 system development priorities document (in PDF). In the Aleph Implementation Project section, revised the list of trainers and list of project liaisons. Ì
Recommended desktop configurations for Aleph
HOLLIS portal resource sponsorship instructions
"Libraries" section of HOLLIS portal web site
About HOLLIS portal library information, on OIS web site
Holdings Editing Guide 807 replacement pages
Standing Subcommittee on Bibliographic Standards home page
Standing Subcommittee on Serials, Series and Continuations
Library Digital Initiative (LDI) web site
New Harvard Geospatial Library system pages
New EReserves troubleshooting instructions
Adding new resources to HOLLIS portal
FY2001/2002 system development priorities
Aleph Implementation Project: list of trainers
Aleph Implementation Project: list of project liaisons