A Perfect Library 2.0 Day

Just relaxing with a glass of wine after a very very Library 2.0 day 🙂
With a lot of help from Iman Moradi (blog/flickr), we ran an introduction to Library 2.0 for members of our Subject Teams and Tech Services this afternoon.  Then, after a coffee break, we watched the SirsiDynix Institute Weblogs & Libraries: Communication, Conversation, and the Blog People web seminar given by Michael Stephens.
All in all, it’s given us a lot to discuss as we look towards (hopefully) implementing a Library Services or Computing & Library Services weblog.  Fingers crossed that next week’s Library 2.0 Web Seminar will be as much fun.  I’m keen to run into Stephen Abram at the upcoming SirsiDynix SuperConference in Birmingham as I want to find out what Library 2.0 things the company has in the pipeline — the API layer in the upcoming Horizon 8 release is defintely a welcome step in the right direction.
There was a lot of interest amongst staff in the new NCSU OPAC, especially as a lot of pioneering work on faceted searching was carried at here at Huddersfield by Amanda Tinker and Steve Pollit.  I’m hoping that there might be potential for us to implement some of Amanda and Steve’s research into our OPAC.
We’ve also got a plateful of potential new features to unleash on our unsuspecting students — simple renewals via email, RSS feeds, keyword search alerts, “people who borrowed this…”, and more.  I’m hoping to see if we can’t do some cool stuff with SMS as well.
2006 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the Library Systems Team — we’ll be involved in the RFID implementation and stock conversion (we’re currently out to tender on this) and we’re also implementing Talis Reading List.  One thing I can’t stand is having nothing to do, so I’m not complaining 😀
I noticed Talis have stated that both John Blyberg and myself are developing these things purely for our own patrons/students.  Whilst that’s true to an extent (after all, I work for Huddersfield not SirsiDynix), we’re both freely sharing much our code so that other Innovative and SirsiDynix customers can play around with it if they want to.  Librarians have a long and proud tradition of sharing freely and I don’t intend to buck that trend just yet.
Speaking of which, I’ve been busy working on a Perl module to process the XML output from HIP 2.x/3.x and turn it into a simple Perl data structure.  The XML output from HIP gives you pretty much all the information you need, but the structure is a little unwieldy.  I’m hopeful the module will make it easier to quickly develop cool stuff like RSS feeds and OpenSearch interfaces from the OPAC.  Once I’ve got the module finished (and posted on this site), I’ll also use it underpin the REST interface.  In turn, that should make the REST code more manageable and I might be able to get that code to a stage where I’d be happy to make it available to the SirsiDynix community.
Unfortunately I’m currently suffering from a mild case of tendonitis in my right arm and hand, so I’m not doing as much coding as normal until it clears up.  Still, as long as I can lift a glass of wine and snuggle up to Bry on the sofa in front of the TV, I’m happy 🙂

CODI 2005 – session links

I’ve put together a page listing each of the CODI 2005 sessions along with (hopefully!) all the PowerPoint, handout, podcast, blog, etc links.

http://www.daveyp.com/blog/stuff/codi2005links.html

Please feel free to re-use the link or to circulate it.
If you have any additions or corrections, please email them to me:

d.c.pattern [at] hud.ac.uk

CODI 2005 – Day Three (pm)

Planning for Hardware: It Doesn’t Have to be Hard (Tim Hyde – tim.hyde@sirsidynix.com)
Tim’s presentation covered a lot of the same ground that Jolynn’s Planning for 8.0 and 4.2 did. In fact Tim’s session was really a summary of what many of us had seen throughout the 3 days. As one of the final CODI sessions it was ideal – we didn’t want any new shocks or dropping of bombshells 🙂
Tim started off by summarising the Horizon 8, and listed the main new features as:

  • state-of-the-art uPortal
  • record ownership
  • agency modelling
  • support for native open SQL databases (Oracle, DB2, MS SQL)
  • full Unicode support
  • total Java/J2EE solution
  • e-commerce
  • UniMARC, MARC21, MARCXML…
  • LDAP
  • Kerberos encryption
  • Shibboleth
  • thin client (can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Tim also shed some more light on the lack of Sybase in that list of databases: apparently Sybase isn’t 100% Unicode compliant so, until Sybase resolve that, SirsiDynix won’t certify it for use with Horizon 8.0.
For those of you who are thinking about running HIP 4.0 or the Horizon 8.0 application server under Windows 2003, you need to be aware that Microsoft currently limits the Java Virtual Machine to using a maximum of 2GB RAM. In other words, if you load your hardware up with 8 GB of RAM, then HIP/Horizon ain’t going to use it all!
The official hardware recommendations won’t be available until the end of Jan 2006. However, the unofficial word is that if your current hardware is recent, isn’t being stressed out by running Horizon 7.x, and (ideally) has some room for expansion (e.g. extra CPUs or extra memory), then that chances are that it will be suitable for running Horizon 8.0.
For small to medium sized libraries, you should be able to run the application and database servers on the same box, but large libraries should look to run them on separate servers. Every session I’ve been to where that has been stated, a hand has always gone up and someone has said “can you define what you mean by small, medium and large?”…

Yeah – a medium sized library is one that’s smaller than a large one, but bigger than a small one.
(paraphrasing Tim Hyde, SirsiDynix)

Finally, clustering options won’t be available until the release of Horizon 8.1 (Q2/Q3 2006).

CODI 2005 – Day Two (pm) – pt 2

Planning for 8.0 and 4.0 4.2: Decisions You Need to Make (Jolynn Halls)
The title of this had changed subtly – with 4.0 long gone and 4.1 nearly here, plans are already afoot for HIP 4.2.
Jolynn rattled through some of the PowerPoint slides, so some of my notes aren’t complete, plus the discussion kinda jumped around a bit.
Introduction…

  • you need to look forward to 8.0/4.2 like any other upgrade and plan accordingly
  • you need to plan on getting staff involvement earlier than with other upgrades – there’s much more they need to learn
  • you need to be on the current releases (7.4/4.1) …apparently Jack has promised there will be an upgrade path from 7.3x? (Jolynn: “He’s the man!”)
  • you need to relish change 🙂
  • staff need to understand and implement the new functionality
  • take advantage of any training (web sessions available from December, although some will be chargeable)

HIP…

  • requires Java JRE 1.5 on the admin workstation – you can run different versions without any problems – use the Java App Cache (javaws.exe)
  • new indexing paradigm – all indexing done on the app server for both Horizon and HIP (instead of separate indexes for StaffPAC, etc)
  • one unified User/Patron database
  • uses filters instead of separate indexes

Hardware… (official specs released in Jan 2006)

  • Horizon 7.x architecture – two tier model
  • Horizon 8.0 architecture – three tier model (DB server, app server, clients)
    • lower client bandwidth
    • less CPU
  • app & DB can be combined onto one server (small to medium sized library)
  • for medium to large libraries, you’ll need 4 servers (app server being the beefiest)
  • for security reasons, you don’t want HIP + app + DB on single server
  • Web Reporter will be a requirement for 8.0 and would usually sit on a separate server
  • client hardware specs available by Jan 2006

Horizon 8.0

  • Database Server – DB2 V8, MS SQL Server 2000/2005, or Oracle 10g (that’s right – no Sybase!)
  • Application Server – Linux 4.0 AS/ES, Solaris 10, or Windows 2003

things that change in Horizon 8.0

  • different DB structure
  • agency vs location
  • indexing
  • record ownership
  • security (roles/staff users)
  • user interface/presentation (navigation/hot keys)
  • inheritance (sharing codes/rules)
  • library type (Horizon vs Corinthian)

Before moving to Horizon 8.0, you need to think about and understand your existing:

  • policies & procedures
  • security/roles
  • privileges/parameters
  • sorts/limits

Highlights of the 8.0 modules…

  • ACQ
    • VIP against multiple vendors
    • create and copy budgets spreadsheet
    • carry forward defaults
    • EDI from client (auto invoicing and response loading)
    • research from selections and POs
    • open with from MARC record to PO
    • approval plan loading
    • processing centers
    • quick entry of invoice lines using order ID
    • access to MARC record from PO and Selection
  • CAT
    • MARC record lists
    • items lists
    • spine label config
    • import/export profile tag action
    • import profile enhanced match points for overlay
    • import/export profile scheduling
    • MARC Editor non-MARC view & overview template
    • URL verification
    • MARC Batch Editor
    • Syntax & Validation Label expections
  • CIRC
    • patron photos
    • request groups
    • linked patrons
    • email patron from check in
    • batch requests (by title/patron)
    • calendar exceptions
    • circ rules/codes inheritance
    • custom blocks
    • ID patron access
    • display of student and/or outreach patron data dependent on Patron Type
    • notification preferences
  • Searching
    • broadcast searching
    • limiting on a browse search
    • multiple search tabs open at the same time
    • extractions
    • indexing (HIP & Horizon)
  • Serials
    • Serials CKI
    • Routing lists
    • Pattern setup
    • copy pattern and pub pattern templates
    • MARC Holdings support
    • Claims Management

What should you be doing now?

  • review existing Horizon policies & procedures
  • prepare for new UI
  • participate in training
  • upgrade to the most current versions
  • allocate time…
  • look at your current hardware

Finally, Jolynn cleared up the situation with TeleCirc…
Basically, Edify were slow in coming up with a version of their software (which underpins TeleCirc II) which would work with Windows 2003 Server. As Microsoft no longer support Windows 2000, Dynix were unhappy with Edify not coming up with a Windows 2003 version of the product. So, Dynix began evaluating solutions from Talking Tech. In the meantime, Edify finally came up with a new version (I think it’s v9.5) that does work with Windows 2003.
The outcome of all that is that there will be two solutions that work with Horizon 8.0 (one from Edify and a new one from Talking Tech). If you don’t already have TeleCirc, then you’d need to decide which solution to use and then buy the hardware and software.
If you already have TeleCirc, then you can either:

  • a) move to the Talking Tech solution – you will need to pay to get a new license and also replace the telephony hardware card in your TeleCirc server (as that hardware isn’t compatible with their software)
  • b) stay with TeleCirc – you will need to upgrade your server to Windows 2003 and also upgrade TeleCirc to the latest version, but you can still use your existing telephony card

The dropping of Sybase as a DB option surprised me, although at Huddersfield we’d been thinking about possibly moving to MS SQL or Oracle… I guess now we don’t have a choice about moving!
It’s going to be interesting to see what the recommended hardware specs are for the servers. At Huddersfield, we run Horizon on a top end Sun V240 with the Sybase database held on our SAN (storage area network) – even when running complex reports, the server barely breaks into a sweat. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the server will still be powerful enough to run both the database and the application servers.

CODI 2005 – Day One (pm)

For the afternoon, I headed to the Corinthian sessions…
Overview of Corinthian Modules (Jolynn Halls)

  • Horizon 8 brings a few terminology changes – the major one being that locations are now called “agencies”. Agencies can be at a much granular level than a location and they work in a heirarchy that allows sub-agencies to inherit their settings from the parent agency. So, changing a setting at a top level agency also changes the settings in the sub-agencies.
  • All types of records (item, bib, borrower, etc) support “record ownership”, so that audit trails of any changes can be viewed.
  • Calendar exceptions can now be set to repeat automatically (e.g. you just need to set up Christmas Day once).
  • Day End as we know it has gone, and you have much more control over how scheduled tasks (which run on the server) execute – for example, you can set Horizon 8 up to generate hold notifications every hour. As these tasks all run on the server, you don’t need to have a dedicated workstation running 24/7 anymore.
  • All of the CIRC rules have been brought together into a single place.
  • Custom block types – new types can be easily created.
  • All of the interface labels can be easily changed – e.g. “patron” can be changed to “borrower”. Different agencies can use different terminology (e.g. one could have “students”, another “patrons”).
  • Staff accounts can be set to expire on a specific date – useful if you have student workers.
  • The security role manager now supports a hierarchy/tree structure, making it much easier to set up roles and also to allow “read only” access to certain tasks / modules.
  • Indexing has been built into the Horizon client, and it’s also much easier to index everything.
  • Cataloguing sees much more control over the import process, with many more options for overlaying.
  • For CIRC, there’s the ability to display borrower photographs. Also, borrower details are now based on the vCard standard (e.g. separate fileds for first name, surname, etc).

Corinthian System Administration and Overview of Security (Shelley Neville, aka The ACQ Queen)
Some of Shelley’s presentation repeated things Jolynn had covered in her session (see above), so I’ve missed those out…

  • You can create sub-administrators for each agency (aka location).
  • There’s a new feature called a “protected domain” – this basically defines the data(base) areas relevant to each agency, e.g. you can set it up so that location A can’t change location B’s data.
  • No need to set up a different agency/location if you want to have different CIRC rules for a portion of the stock (e.g. at Huddersfield we currently have a separate Short Loan location because the CIRC rules need to be different than for the main stock).
  • Creating new agencies is easy, as they automatically inherit the settings from their parent agency – from there, you can easily go in and make any relevant changes (i.e. exceptions).
  • Staff can log in with a common login, but you can set up certain transactions to require the staff member to log in using their own username/password. For example, you could log your CIRC desk PCs in using a common login, but to override a fine, the member of staff would need to authorise it by entering their own personal login. That means you get a proper audit trail.
  • Almost everything generates an audit trail, so you can easily see who broke/deleted things.

CODI 2005 – Day One (am)

Following on from Pat, the Horizon 8 development team got 10 minutes each to wow us with the new features in each module – the biggest cheer of all was for the graphical prediction pattern tool in the Serials module 🙂
For what it’s worth, here are my brief notes of those features:

  1. ACQ
    • “research” button that shells out to a chosen web site (e.g. Amazon / Dawson EnterBooks, etc)
    • multiple VIP
    • hold can be placed on patron selections, ready for when stock finally arrives
  2. CAT
    • record management – easy method of creating item lists from multiple search criteria
    • batch edit of items in any item list – these changes can be temporary (changes can be restored later on) or permanent
    • URL checker – item level, built in web browser, easy change of 856 link via browser, schedule full URL check of catalogue (inc. domain exclusions)
  3. CIRC
    • quick access of patron records from nav bar
    • multiple email addresses from patrons
    • patron records can be easily linked together
    • checked out items automatically appear on screen
    • requests can be grouped and prioritised
    • requests groups – can set up many requests, but have them cancelled when X copies have been fulfilled
  4. Serials
    • check-in – pre check-in notes (e.g. processing instructions), quick access to check-in history, audit trails (inc. staff info)
    • graphical calendar for prediction patterns
  5. HIP 4.1
    • Kids PAC – channels
    • ADA
    • multi language
    • Howard Country – created their own skin
  6. ERM (PowerPoint slides)
    • processes can be allocated to individuals, with automatic alerting to let them know when new tasks are ready
  7. Web Reporter 1.4
    • generate notices (send via NarrowCast)

My notes from Ed Riding’s ERM Module session are here (login required).

DUG/HUG – Thursday

Thursday started with a demo of Web Reporter from Phil Coles – here’s my notes from the session:

  • 140 reports supplied as standard
  • reports processed on the Web Reporter server, using live data from the Horizon database (i.e. no data mining)
  • reports can be scheduled to run overnight
  • reports can be exported as PDF, Excel, CSV, etc
  • new reports can be created from scratch, or you can use one of the existing templates
  • current version of Web Reporter is not Unicode compliant, however the Horizon 8 version will
  • no knowledge of SQL required
  • handles non-January financial years
  • SQL can be imported from ReportSmith

This was followed by a presentation from Eric Keith (VP Operations, SirsiDynix US) about the company’s current and future developments – my notes from the session are available here.
Finishing off the morning sessions, Polly Dawes (Bradford), and Ian Haydock & Jan Broad (Staffordshire) ran a session about Telecirc – including a live demo via mobile phone! We’re hoping to finally get Telecirc running live at Huddersfield by the start of the new term.
Starting off the afternoon, Phil Coles gave a short presentation about HIP 4 and Horizon 8 before attempting a live demo – unfortunately technical gremlins caused one or two problems with the demo. Here’s my notes about HIP 4:

  • works with Java v1.4.2, although Dynix are currently testing it with more recent releases of Java
  • allows pickup locations, search types, limits & sorts, and search location defaults to be set
  • built in spell checker and thesaurus
  • borrower history display
  • list of new and/or top circulating items
  • tighter integration for consolidated searching
  • Lucene indexing/search engine

…and about Horizon 8.0:

  • FRBR support
  • MFHD (MARC Format for Holdings Data) support
  • e-commerce integration
  • Electronic Resource Management (ERM) module
  • one-click sorting of colums
  • more integration between Horizon 8.0 and Web Reporter
  • new acquisitions workflows available
  • notes fields are all 1,500 characters (although Phil thought this can easily be increased if required)
  • EDI functionality built into Horizon (i.e. no need to use separate FTP software)
  • graphical serials prediction

This was followed by “Moving to MARC21”, with Ray Delahunty (Dynix UK), Polly Dawes (Bradford) and Ian Jennings (Huddersfield). It highlighted the two extremes of converting to MARC21 – Bradford had very few problems running the conversion under Dynix ILS, but the Huddersfield conversion (under Horizon) was a long and fairly painful process! Hopefully future conversions under Horizon will be much smoother.
The last session of the day was “My Favourite SQL” with Tim Fletcher (Birkbeck) and myself. I’ve uploaded my presentation (“Using SQL to Create Web Based Reports & Applications”) here. I’ll upload the advance notices Perl script as soon as I’ve finished debugging and documenting it.
Towards the end of the session, Anders F̴k (Link̦ping University) gave a quick demonstration of their web based reports (which uses Microsoft .Net and Crystal Reports) Рvery impressive stuff!