CODI 2005 – Day Three (am)

Insights into Web Reporter and NarrowCast (Eileen Kontrovitz & Brian Rawlings)

Wonderful product, but the roll-out hasn’t been the best!
(Brian Rawlings, Alpha G)

Optional components (add on services) for Web Reporter…

  • OLAP – used for data mining:
    • report objects – include items included in the SQL but not included in the report (e.g. correct sorting by “reconst” fields such as title or call/class number)
    • view filters – includes items in the SQL Query but filters the results displayed in the report
    • derived metrics – create a new metric on the fly based on existing metrics on the report
    • …who benefits? – sites with large databases will benefit the most, as well as people creating “what if?” reports
    • consider purchasing OLAP only for the administrator
  • Report Services:

    • Crystal Reports type interface that can draw data from multiple grids
    • useful for creating letter-type output (e.g. invoice notice letters)
    • …who benefits? – schools, home services, anyone wanting to create form letters
    • in the future, larger number of Report Services documents will be created in future metadata releases
    • not every user needs Report Services
  • Narrowcast:

    • pro-active, automated report delivery
    • reports can be sent to email, files, printers, or SMS devices (text messaging)
    • …who benefits? – everyone!
    • Narrowcast users are cheaper – you may have plenty already
    • savings – you can enter multiple email addresses for the same user

[Narrowcast] is the most exciting part of Web Reporter
(Brian Rawlings, Alpha G)

Brian’s general recommendations:

  • buy as few users as possible
  • buy analysts licenses rather than reporter licenses
  • compliance is based on the number of logins created
  • enable add-on services for individual users as needed

General MetaData rule: when including item attributes, look for them first in the request, circ, circ_history, burb, and burb_history folders
Narrowcast automation can…
1) save you and your staff money and time:

  • automate report delivery
  • notices (inc. pre-overdue)
  • newsletters
  • performance based alerts

2) deliver reports to a fixed group of people, or a dynamic group of people on a specified schedule
3) deliver any type of email notice:

  • dynamic subscription, dynamic content
  • hold notices, pre-overdues, overdue, billing, etc
  • html formatted email, text completely customisable
  • queries database for notice conditions, updates records after sending email
  • needs a few custom attributes if using MSTR 7.5.0

Narrowcast can keep a copy of emails sent, or it can write to the Horizon database to write a block.
Narrowcast Newsletters:

  • email newsletters and event calendars
  • keep your patrons informed of library events

Narrowcast can sent performance based alerts – e.g. alert me when Day End did not run

CODI 2005 – Day Two (pm)

I Didn’t Know Web Reporter Could Do That! (Valerie M. Chase – /
As we haven’t had Web Reporter installed yet, kinda of everything was “I didn’t know that”!
Anyway, hopefully these notes will act as a reminder once we’re up and running…

  • once you’ve run a report, you can run the re-prompt to reselect the filters for the report without going all the way back
  • “view filter”s limit the existing results (rather than re-running the report)
  • “qualify” works well for limiting by dates, etc
  • to create new filters, you need to use the desktop client:
    • select “new” / “filter”
    • if you want a prompt, you need to hit the “prompt” button
  • prompts can be either single select (drop down list), multi-select, check boxes, or radio buttons (use the web options “modify” button to do this)
  • right-click, “search for dependants” will show you every report that uses a specific filter


  • allows you to do a grouping (e.g. combine all the “reference” types together)
  • remember to enable subtotals!
  • you can use consolidation to group together months (e.g. “summer”, “winter”)


  • e.g. create a new metric to combine phone, OPAC, etc renewals to get the total renewals


  • add a new qualification to highlight parts of the report results (e.g. show certain results in red)

advanced formatting…

  • e.g. change year format from “2005” to “05”

CODI 2005 – Day Two (am)

Now You’ve Bought Web Reporter, So What? …So You’ve Bought Web Reporter, Now What? (Thurman Smith –
As we’ve just put our order in for Web Reporter, I’m trying to attend as many of the Web Reporter sessions as possible!
Thurman based his session on one he runs regularly (that should be freely available on the SirsiDynix web site?)
Here are my notes…

  • Web Reporter has over 100 general reports built in
  • due to differing databases, some of the delivered reports are broken but support are able to fix them
  • desktop client software used by Web Reporter admins, but end users use the web portal (i.e. web browser)
  • Web Reporter comes with 3 levels of users:
    • Web Reporter User – least powerful, can run/print reports (but cannot export to Word/Excel)
    • Web Analyst – also export reports, can create reports from a template (but not from scratch)
    • Web Professional – also create reports from scratch, can save new reports to the public folders (where other users can access them)
  • …there’s also an Administrator login, but it wasn’t too clear when this should be used
  • Web Reporter monitors the named users (rather than simultaneous users), but (ignoring ethics, etc) several users could share the same named login
  • because MetaData is stored in the Horizon database, it gets backed up when you run your main Horizon backup process
  • terminology:
    • facts – columns in the database that contain numeric data that it makes sense to run calculations against (e.g. age, number of CKOs) – facts are not displayed in reports, but are wrapped in metrics
    • attributes – all other columns (e.g. borrower name
    • metrics – calculations on facts (e.g. the number of times a book has been checked out in a month)
    • filters – return a subset of results that make sense (e.g. filter by certain borrower types), this is the same as the SQL “where” clause
    • prompts – allow you to create an option that allows the user to specify specific choices (e.g. which locations do you want to run the report against?)
  • you can create new folders for each user, location, etc and then copy the reports that they want into them
  • some of the Web Reporter reports duplicate Horizon Item Editor reports
  • reports can be easily manipulated – e.g. “page by” location can be dragged down into the report to show all locations in a single report (but only Web Analyst/Pro can do that)
  • to print reports, use the built-in Web Reporter print icon rather than using the web browser print button
  • Web Reporter uses a cache, so that running the same report again will display the cached version – but the administrator can define how long the cached version is valid for (i.e. how long before it becomes stale)
  • metrics must always appear on the right-hand side of the report – you can add more than one metric to a report
  • if you modify one of the default reports, then you should save it to a new folder (or it might get overwritten by a project upgrade)
  • you need OLAP services to get the full functionality (do we even have this?!?!?)
  • easy to add totals to a report
  • you can view the SQL that runs by looking at the “report details” (in one of the drop-down menus)
  • the look & feel for each report can be easily changed using “auto styles”
  • for reports that take a long time to run, use the subscription options to schedule the report to run:
    • make sure that the schedule times are realistic (i.e. not the every 15 minute default)
    • scheduled reports sit in the cache waiting to be viewed
    • try to avoid running scheduled reports at the same time as Day End, etc
    • to email reports to the user, you need to use NarrowCast
  • NarrowCast might be an optional extra purchase (I don’t remember it being listed in our Web Reporter quote – I hope we get it!!!)
  • you need to be careful not to filter by too many options, otherwise you might end up with no results

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 Fåk (Linköping University) gave a quick demonstration of their web based reports (which uses Microsoft .Net and Crystal Reports) – very impressive stuff!