On Monday, July 8, 2002, at precisely 7:33 am, Tracey Robinson, head of the University Library's Office for Information Systems, sent the following message to recipients of HUL-INFO: "This is just to confirm that both the staff mode of Aleph and the new HOLLIS Catalog are up and running. Staff may begin to use the system now. Congratulations and good luck to us all!" With that message, an intense 18-month implementation periodwhich had followed several years of researchcame to fruition, though not to an end. In the 18 months since the Aleph "product" was selected, Harvard's new integrated library system has been configured and customized by a subset of approximately 150 Harvard librarians working closely with OIS and with employees of the Aleph developer, Ex Libris USA. Now, with the July 8 cut-over an accomplished fact, Aleph will continue to be fine-tuned and customized by the full complement of Harvard's librarians.
"The way we configured Aleph," Robinson notes, "was based on a relatively small, representative subset of staff working to define how this complex system should work for all Harvard libraries.We generalized Aleph for Harvard. But with more than 1,000 individual staff members working in Harvard libraries, we now begin the process of more specifically configuring the system to meet the needs of the libraries. There certainly will be areas in which some features don't work the way a given library requires. And so, we'll adjust, revise, and fine-tune Aleph. Continuously."
Of critical interest to library patrons, are the refined and expanded search features that the new HOLLIS offers:
In addition, faculty, students, and staff who have registered for a Harvard PIN (see A Note on PINs), have two additional benefits: access to electronic library resources from remote locations and access to personal library "account" information, such as records of books requested or checked out, fines owed, and online renewals.
Harvard Aleph Users Group (HAUG)
To facilitate campus-wide discussion about the new system, the Harvard Aleph Users Group (HAUG) electronic list has been created. The Harvard Aleph Users Group is a place to discuss Aleph operations at Harvard, including topics in any functional area (acquisitions, cataloging, etc.) and other topics (logins, printing, character sets, etc.). Library staff are encouraged to post comments, share discoveries, inquire how other units are using the system, and more. OIS will continue to post major Aleph announcements to HUL-INFO (as well as HAUG).
To subscribe to HAUG, send an email message to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the body of the message containing just the phrase "subscribe haug". There is also a subscription form on the Harvard University Library web site at http://hul.harvard.edu/hullists. For more information, call Julie Wetherill or Benson Smith in OIS, 5-3724.
"Harvard's first library catalog was published in 1723. The holdings were small enough and static enough to justify a catalog in shelflist format. The first card catalog appeared at Harvard in 1840for staff use only. Not until the Civil War did we offer a card catalog for library users: it was proposed in 1860 and activated some time in 1862. And between 1862 and 1985, we relied on card catalogs, published a union catalog, andlate in the gamewe developed on microfiche the 'distributable union catalog.'
"HOLLISthe first HOLLIS, that iscame online at Harvard in 1985. It represented an extraordinary technological advance in the pre-web world of the 80s. Seventeen years later, we've launched a renewed, web-based HOLLIS. It's as if we leaped 17 high-tech years forward on Monday, July 8. The launch followed several years of research, a solid 18 months of planning and preparation, and an extraordinary level of collaboration and teamwork across this University.
"Together, the libraries that we all represent form the greatest academic library on earth. And the effort and expertise expended on the new HOLLIS represent that greatness in many ways. First, let me say that the launch went off as close to seamlessly as one might hope. In fact, the new HOLLIS was online a few hours early. I know: I was checking! There are some adjustments being madepredictable adjustmentsbut on the whole, the transition happened in a well-planned, well-executed, non-dramatic, and completely admirable way. Special thanks need to go to Tracey Robinson and to HUL's Office for Information Systems. But the congratulations cannot stop there. Harvard's library community determined the nature of the new HOLLIS, and scores of librarians from across Harvard gave time and effort to its development. The benefits that it brings to Harvard's researchers reflect depth of thought, vision, and consummate professionalism from all of youthe community of librarians who guided and formed it."