OIS News -- November 2001
Implementation teams are busily working on many fronts at once: data conversion, current Aleph functionality, and training. Teams are reviewing Harvard data from the second subset conversion completed in mid-October (more on this in the Conversion section below). They continue to investigate Aleph functions -- making recommendations to the Aleph Implementation Steering Commitee on workflows, implementation of specific Aleph features, and conversion of certain data types in HOLLIS. See the Policy decisions article in this issue for the details. Finally, implementers are working with trainers in the design of an Aleph staff training program.
Enhancements to Aleph is another area keeping implementation teams busy. There have been meetings to review progress of Aleph developments in support of non-Roman scripts (CJK), acquisitions, Harvard Depository (HD), indexing, and circulation. Early reports indicate encouraging progress.
Ex Libris has reported that there will be a delay related to redesign of the Aleph client interfaces. Ex Libris staff told the Aleph Steering Committee last month they will be unable to meet the contractural obligation of having the redisigned interface to the Serials, Acquistion, and Cataloging modules according to the schedule in the contract. (The contract does carry penalties for delays in development.) The roll out of all the improved technical services client interfaces is planned for Spring 2003. Ex Libris does plan to have the redesign of the circulation module ready for the 15.2 release (Harvards "Day 1" release). Members of the steering committee and implementation teams are working with Ex Libris to develop productivity tools and aids that will hopefully ameliorate some of the productivity problems anticipated as a result of the enhancement delays.
This delay means that Harvard staff will have to work with the current interface for a year longer than planned. But, the newly proposed process, in which Serials, Acquisitions, and Cataloging modules are redesigned together, will likely turn out a much better result than if each module were redesigned separately. From the perspective of those who will be training library staff, this delay means course design can proceed based on modules and functionality that will not change significantly before July 1st 2002. The exceptions of course are the major changes to circulation, serials, indexing, and financial functionality, expected to be available in release 15.2 at the end of 2001.
Conversion activities are heating up as implementers begin review of the second subset of converted Harvard data. A set of approximately 200,000 records, including all record types, has been loaded onto Harvards local Aleph test system. Implementers are reviewing the converted records, checking that data came over cleanly and "landed" in the best place. As problems are found, corrections are made to the original conversion specifications (developed in July). During this process OIS is developing a set of HOLLIS-to-Aleph data conversion maps. These maps will document conversion decisions by identifying location of data in HOLLIS and corresponding location in Aleph. Drafts of these maps have been distributed to implementation teams. Final versions will also be available to trainers and eventually to all library staff.
Another outcome of early conversion efforts are recommendations that certain types of data not be converted. Conversion and implementation teams have started to submit such recommendations to the Aleph Implementation Steering Committee. Recent decisions are reported in the Policy decisions article in this issue.
The next big step occurs in December 2001, when the first full conversion of HOLLIS data takes place. With this conversion, we will see the true implications of loading 9 million bibliographic records (plus all other record types) in terms of conversion decisions, performance scaling, indexing, and more. Also significant is that the full set of data will be loaded under the long-awaited version 15.2 of Aleph, which is scheduled to include many of Harvards most important enhancements.
Training development continues, as trainers begin the design and development phase. After spending September and October identifying the library job tasks that staff training should cover, trainers are now determining the sequence of training topics, number of classes, and methods of instruction. Members of the Training Advisory Group (TAG) are working on securing classroom facilities for Spring 2002 and implementation of an automated training registration system to help with class scheduling.Ì
The Aleph Implementation Steering Committee has been busy fielding recommendations from implementation teams on data conversion as well as Aleph configuration and functionality. Noted below are the first round of decisions, some of which may impact local library operations. If you have questions, contact Kathleen Anderson or Tracey Robinson in OIS.
The final "snapshot" of HOLLIS data is expected to be accessible via Distributed Reporting (BI/Query) once the cutover to Aleph occurs on 1 July 2002. It is likely that selected portions of HOLLIS data will be available in other ways, but the details have yet to be worked out.
The data conversion process is particularly challenging given the enormous size and complexity of data in HOLLIS. There are some types of data, typically closed records and data problematic for conversion, that we expect to leave behind. Recently, the Aleph Implementation Steering Committee began reviewing conversion recommendations submitted by the implementation teams. Below are listed the first round of decisions regarding data that will not be converted from HOLLIS to Aleph.
With Aleph implementation well underway, project participants are now identifying issues that will impact staff and library operations. Many of these issues relate to decisions about conversion and how we use Aleph. (See the Policy Decisions article in this issue for more information.) One of the earliest issues to impact libraries was the Ex Libris recommendation of minimum desktop configurations to support Aleph published in February 2001. More recently attention has turned to the needs of the smaller libraries and pre-requisites for staff training.
At the October Project Liasons meeting, Project Manager Kathleen Anderson asked if there was interest in starting a discussion on the impact of Aleph implementation on small libraries. Those interested should contact Kathleen Anderson in OIS.
There will be a few pre-requisites for library staff who participate in Aleph training starting in Spring 2002. Making arrangements to satisfy these pre-requisites will be the responsibility of each library.
Future library preparation topics will be published in this newsletter and in the Library preparations section of the Aleph Implementation web site. Ì
Planning for a local management reporting system is getting underway with the formation of a reporting 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.
In early December, basic information about this team will be available from the Aleph section of the OIS web site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/projects/aip/teams.html ]. If you have questions, contact Roger Brisson. Ì
The new call for preliminary proposals for participation in Round 5 of the LDI Internal Challenge Grant Program is now posted on the LDI web site at:
Please note that funding in Round 5 focuses on image digitization projects for visual materials that use HUL systems and services already in place.
Please contact Wendy Gogel (LDI Projects Liaison) in OIS if you have questions. Ì
Harvard University Library's Office for Information Systems has announced that The Harvard University Library Guide to Image Digitization is now online at (http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/systems/guide_images.html) The new guide outlines the steps and processes for engaging in image digitization projects using the systems and services developed in the first three years of the Library Digital Initiative. For more information, contact Julie Wetherill in OIS, at 5-3724 or email@example.com. Ì
The Harvard University and Radcliffe Archives have launched the Harvard-Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf. A Library Digital Initiative project, the Reference Shelf is a joint venture with the Office of Information Systems (OIS) of the Harvard University Library (HUL). This new web site, located at http://hul.harvard.edu/huarc/refshelf/HROHRSHome.htm, provides electronic access to frequently consulted sources on the history of Harvard and Radcliffe. To date, the Reference Shelf includes:
By browsing or searching the Reference Shelf, anyone interested in the history of Harvard and Radcliffe can find a wealth of information, including such details as what classes Harvard sophomores in 1825 attended on Saturdays ("History, and Declamation, or English Composition"), that in the 1938/39 year Radcliffe's Department of Health Education offered a senior elective on marriage, and what President Pusey had to say about the academic year 1968/69 ("a dismal year").
From its inception in 1999, the Reference Shelf was designed as more
than a searchable collection of the University
Page Delivery Service (PDS) is a web-based "page turner" system for reformatted print material such as books, journals, reports, letters, diaries, notebooks, and more. Full-text Search service (FTS) is a web-based system for searching the full text content of digital library material such as OCR derived from the scanned print material delivered via PDS. Material delivered by PDS can be secured to the Harvard community if necessary, using the normal ID/PIN mechanism.
As the Harvard-Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf demonstrates, PDS can deliver page images online, while FTS makes the text of the pages fully searchable. The two systems can be used together or independently. To use either of these new services, the digital objects, including all necessary structural metadata, must be deposited in the Digital Repository Service (DRS). Note: The HCL Digital Imaging Group is developing a service to prepare structural metadata files in XML on behalf of collection owners as part of the scanning process.
OIS will be holding an open meeting on these two important new services. The time and place for the meeting has not been anounced yet. For more information, contact Julie Wetherill (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wendy Gogel (email@example.com) in OIS, 5-3724. Ì
URLs in this issue
List of Libraries at Harvard
Recommended Desktop Configurations for Aleph 500
Checklist of Windows Competencies
Library preparations for Aleph
Aleph Project Implementation Teams
Library Digital Initiative Challenge Grant Program Round 5, Current Call
Guide to Image Digitalization