Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two months later...

I Survived ILS Migration... and though we're not completely out of the woods, I think it's safe to say that we survived.

While there is still work to be done to complete the SirsiDynix ILS implementation project -- for example, we still have important auxiliary products, such as Director's Station and the Hyperion Digital Media Archive, left to deploy -- -- the major tasks of our migration from DRA Classic to Unicorn have been successfully completed.

For that reason, this blog has pretty well reached the end of its useful life. While it will be maintained as an archive of the project, new information about Unicorn, EPS, and the other aspects of the ILS will be shared through other means, including e-mail, meetings, the Go Live Training wiki, and the MPLIC Tech Train blog.

My thanks to all the members of the Sirsi ILS Implementation teams for all their hard work -- especially our Automated Library System Coordinator, Paul Gahn, without whom we would never have made it to this point. (Hope you're enjoying that well-earned vacation, Paul!) Thanks as well to everyone on the MPLIC staff, for your positive and supportive attitude these past twenty months. We couldn't have done it without you.

Image by The Reader's Shop.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New wizards: Remove item hold & Modify item hold

E-mail from Paul Gahn to all circulation and reference staff, July 19:

Two new wizards have been added to the reference toolbar to aid in correcting hold errors.

Hold – Modify item


Hold – Remove item

Use modify item hold to:

1.) Add or correct a customer name in Comments (if customer called and you are using an agency hold account with item in hand)

2.) Do not use modify to change pickup location.

a. If you used the correct agency hold account the pickup library would be correct (instead remove hold and place hold with correct account)

Use remove item hold to:

1.) Remove the hold if you didn’t place the hold on the account of the pickup library (Customer called and you are using an agency hold account with item in hand)

Modify item hold has also been added to the Circulation toolbar (Circ toolbar already had Remove item hold).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Requested Change in Procedures for Hold Slips

E-mail from Kevin Dixon to all reference and circulation staff and all managers, Wednesday, June 27:

Reference staff were informed in training to write the customer's name and the current date on hold slips whenever a receipt did not print (as a receipt includes the customer's name and the current date).

However, now that circulation staff have processed several clean hold shelf reports, they are requesting that reference staff write the projected date seven days from the current date (when the pick-up date will expire).

This changes our procedures a bit.

Before, if a receipt printed, staff did not need to write anything. However, now staff will need to write, on the receipt, the date seven days from now.

Also, if a receipt does not print, staff will need to include the customer's last name, first initial (just as before), and the date seven days from now.

This will make things a lot easier for circulation staff as they clean the hold shelves. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you,

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hold clarificaitons for June 23, 2007

E-mail message from Paul Gahn to all circulation and reference staff, Saturday, June 23:

1.) When customers arrive to checkout items placed on hold with the agency hold account please be sure to Override Checkout Item & Cancel Hold not just Override & Checkout.

a. Not cancelling the hold will cause the item to revisit your hold shelf when the customer returns it, creating work for you and your coworkers down the road. The item will sit on the shelf, no one will be notified and it will prevent other holds from being filled until it has been on the hold shelf for 7 days.

b. I am in the process of removing holds on agency accounts that have already been checked out.

c. Also use the Override Checkout Item & Cancel Hold option if a family member presents themselves to checkout available holds on a different account from the one used to place the hold.

d. Do not use Override Checkout Item & Cancel Hold if an item is presented for checkout (item wasn’t on hold shelf). In those cases you should simply Override & Checkout.

2.) Items that show up on the pick list do so because a hold has been placed on the item. There is no need to place another hold using an agency hold account. In fact, the customer will not be notified to pickup if you place a hold with the agency hold account. Pick list items need only be pulled from the shelf and scanned with Holds – Trap.

a. If going to another agency fill out a pink transit slip.

b. If being held at your agency an available hold slip will print if you have a receipt printer attached, otherwise write the customer name on a slip and the current date.

Paul Gahn

Cleaning the hold shelf reports etc.

E-mail from Paul Gahn to all circulation and reference staff, Friday, June 22:

Bartlett, Cordova, Crenshaw, East Shelby, Highland and South should have received their 1st clean hold shelf report this morning [6/22]. This report will be emailed Mon-Sat. directly to agency circ and ref accounts only if there are items to be removed from the hold shelf tied to customer accounts. This report is sorted by Customer name. Though the report indicates the next destination, items should always be pulled from the hold shelf and then run scanned through the Check Item status wizard to determine their fate. Items could be:

1. Going back on the shelf for another hold (available hold slip will print)

2. Going to another branch for a hold (fill out new pink slip)

3. Going back to the owning library for reshelving.

Unfortunately, this report does not include holds placed with the agency hold account (CENHOLD, CORHOLD etc.) In order to pull these, staff should daily use the Modify hold wizard to check their agency hold account (do not actually modify anything under this wizard) and sort 1st by Comment (name) column and then by Pickup by date column. Pull available hold items from the hold shelf that have a pickup by date equal to yesterday or earlier. These must be scanned through the Remove item hold wizard and remove the hold placed with the agency hold account. Then obey the Workflows instruction as to the item’s fate:

1. Going back on the shelf for another hold (available hold will print)

2. Going to another branch for a hold (fill out new pink slip)

3. Going back to the owning library for reshelving.


Paul Gahn

Sending Items to Tech Services

E-mail from Kevin Dixon to all reference and circulation staff and all managers, Thursday, June 21:

I understand that many agencies have questions about sending items to Tech Services. The instructions for this can be found [on the Go Live training wiki] here.

You basically check items out to internal user ids. If you are wondering what user id to use, I have created a page that lists agency-specific user ids that you use to mark items missing, discard, send to tech services, etc. This page can be found by following this link (and it is linked to many times on the above link). This page lists all agencies. Click on your agency to see your personalized list of user ids.

If you have any questions about this, please let me know and I will be glad to walk you through it.


Branch Abbreviations Page

E-mail from Kevin Dixon to all reference staff, Tuesday, June 19:

As mentioned in training, we use the "Missing, Hold" check out tool to do many things to our items. We can use it to mark items missing, to send it to tech services, to discard it, etc. All we do is type our agency's 3 letter abbreviation and the code for the destination of the item (discard = DISCARD; Material Services = MATSVS, etc.) in the User ID box. Then type or scan the item id. The item is now "checked out" to that specialized user account.

I have created personalized user ids for each location. Just go to this page and click on your agency to see the personalized list.

To see further information regarding the "Missing, Hold" check out tool, visit this link.

Related to this, the instructions for marking items missing have been expanded.

If I need to add anything, just let me know.


How to change 7 day popular library to 21 day

E-mail message from Paul Gahn to all circulation staff, Tuesday, June 19:

Branch Circulation Staff,

Since many of you are now receiving new popular library items, you need to make room and change older materials from 7 day to 21 day circulation. In consultation with Item Control, it has been decided that you can do this change yourself in the branch. This should save you some time from having to email Item Control and wait for them to make the change.

At the very bottom of Circulation toolbar under Special Circulation Functions, use the “Edit circ notes, # of pieces, price”

Search by item ID, then change:

1.) Type from BOOK-APOP to BOOK

2.) Home location from POPULAR to NONFICTION or FICTION as appropriate.

3.) Be sure to click SAVE.

Remember to follow minimum shelf life limits specified in PPM 316 and work with your branch manager or appropriate reference personnel on making decisions on what to pull etc. PPM will be updated soon to reflect these changes.

PPM 316:

After materials have been on the Popular Library shelves for four months, you may pull copies that are not circulating well and either have them discarded or changed to 21-day circulating materials. However, at least one copy must remain as popular library for a six-month period. All Popular Library copies should be pulled six months from the date received.

For copies to be added to the 21-day circulating collection, the following steps should be followed:

· See above

· Fiction titles must be checked by agency staff in Unicorn, Item cat1 or call #, to see if a genre has been assigned for the title. If a genre has been assigned, the appropriate genre sticker should be placed at the bottom of the book spine. If “general fiction” appears as the location in Unicorn, a sticker can not be added to the book.

Copies being withdrawn should be checked-out to the agency discard user in Unicorn (CORDISCARD, PKYDISCARD etc.). Do not stamp “discard” or “withdrawn” on the book. Send the Popular Library books to Material Services in boxes labeled Material Services / Popular Library Discards.

If you pull items from Popular Library shelves but don’t have time to make changes immediately (add genre stickers, make item record changes), check out to your agency ITMCTRL account (CORITMCTRL, PKYITMCTRL) until changes have been made, so items don’t show as available to customers and staff.



Monday, June 18, 2007

EPS displaying "in transit" copies as available

E-mail from Alan Stewart to all reference staff, Monday, June 18:

As several of you have noticed this morning, materials that are in transit between agencies are showing as available copies in the EPS (public web catalog) hitlists.

We believe we've successfully tweaked the OPAC configuration so that in-transit copies will no longer show as available; however, this change won't be effective until after the next scheduled reboot of the EPS server. The change should be evident Tuesday morning.

Please continue to notify Paul Gahn or me about any problems or issues related to the new online catalog.



Placing Holds For Your Book Clubs

E-mail from Kevin Dixon to all reference and circulation staff, Monday, June 18:

Many of you have your own branch book club. In the past, you may have called all the locations with available copies so that they could send them to you. This was time consuming. Now, you can just place holds on these materials.

Briefly, you can:
  • Use your agency hold account to place the hold.
  • Use a Title level hold (because you do not have the item in your hand).
  • Once you place the hold, you can place another hold for this user.
  • Enter the same Item ID and place another title level hold.
  • You will need to override because the computer will say that you already have a hold.
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.
Click on this link for a more detailed explanation (with pictures) for this process. You can also find a link to this under the Holds section of the wiki.

Also, I have created a table of contents for all of the Go Live contents on the wiki. You may find that this is easier for you to review and find what you need.


RE: Copy Level Holds and Agency Hold Accounts

E-mail from Paul Gahn to all circulation and reference staff, Sunday, June 17:

A couple other reminders and clarifications:

1. Once you place copy level holds with item in hand be sure to Trap the item.
This does two things:
  • Prevents that item from showing on your next pick list
  • Changes the current location to INTRANSIT -- Or if the customer is coming to your location, changes the current location to HOLDS
2. Be sure the User ID and pickup location match regardless of what location is sending the item.



The correct pickup library should automatically fill in IF you type the correct User ID and press ENTER.

Using the hold account of the pickup location allows pickup library staff to monitor:

i. What is on the hold shelf (available)

ii. What has yet to arrive (unavailable)

iii. What needs to be removed (pickup by=today’s date).
  • Although a daily report will begin on Friday (6/22/07) for items to be removed from the hold shelf, it will not include the comment field. So the agency hold account should be monitored daily beginning Thursday (6/21/07) to remove items that have a pickup by date=today’s date.
  • These items will need to have their hold removed manually with Remove Item hold -- Then obey what the system says. Items may be going back on the hold shelf for another customer, to another library for a hold or back to its owning library
3. All pink slips received via D&D for the hold shelf must be scanned through Receive Items in Transit to make holds available and eligible to notify the customer via SVA or Email to come in to pickup.

Paul Gahn, Automated Services

Copy Level Holds and Agency Hold Accounts

E-mail from Kevin Dixon to all reference and circulation staff, Friday, June 15:

We have received our first Pick List report! I have noticed that several copy level holds were placed with agency hold accounts on items showing available at other agencies. Copy-level, agency-hold-account holds should only be used when a staff member has the item in their hand.

If you are helping a customer who wants a book placed on hold that is available at another location, you have a couple of options:

First, you can suggest what we have always suggested: that the customer (or you) call the location with an available copy. That location would then place a COPY level hold on the item (because they have it in their hand) with the pick-up location's hold account (pkyhold, cenhold, etc.). This guarantees immediately that the customer will have a copy. Because we are placing a hold with an agency hold account, the customer will NOT be notified when this item reaches the pickup location. We give the same advice we always have ("I will send this book, it should be there tomorrow, but I would suggest calling to make sure it got there"). This process is described here.

Second, if the customer would rather not call or if the location with an available copy is currently closed, you can place a TITLE level hold on the item. It is necessary to place the hold to the customer's library card number (not an agency hold account) since it is not possible for a staff member to get their hands on the book. This hold will appear on the owning agency's next pick list report. If that agency ends up marking that item missing, the hold will appear on the pick list of the next agency that has a copy (because we placed a Title level hold). The customer will then be automatically notified as soon as the item reaches the pickup location. These are the same procedures you follow when the item is checked out, detailed here.

So, in short, Copy level holds should only be used when you have the item in your hand. Also, holds placed on agency hold accounts should only be used if you have the item in your hand. Otherwise, use a Title level hold and the customer's library card # to place the hold.

I hope this helps and thank you for your patience while we iron out the details!

Kevin Dixon, Technical Trainer

Go Live! Day One -- a report from Staff Development on the road

E-mail from Damone Virgilio to all staff, Friday, June 15:

I have to say that I'm proud to be a part of such a wonderful staff! In our travels yesterday, Kevin and I saw extremely calm, patient and persistent staff members working closely together as teams to work through the first day of Sirsi Unicorn. Everyone I encountered really seemed to be enjoying the day, were communicating very effectively with customers about the changes, and were providing excellent feedback about problems/concerns encountered.

We have been taking careful notes of our observations and any questions you have. It is our goal to make all of this information available to you so that we can begin to share best practices, tips, and troubleshooting techniques. So, in the meantime, please feel free to contact either Kevin or me and pass along any questions or information you have.

Thank you for your commitment and hard work. Know that it is truly appreciated!

Damone Virgilio
Staff Development Manager

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What to expect on Thursday morning

To all MPLIC staff:

Tonight, many of us will hit control-z, choose "Exit Circulation," type QUIT, and say goodbye to DRA Classic for the last time. (Not all of us, as Acquisitions will continue to use the DRA system alongside Unicorn until all orders placed for the current fiscal year have been received and paid for.) What should staff expect when they arrive at work on June 14?

New logins specific to their agencies have been communicated to the managers, circulation, and reference staff in each public service agency. Staff will verify that they are logged into Workflows on the production (i.e., the "real," as opposed to training) system when they see the familiar MPLIC logo in the upper right hand corner of the screen, where they've been seeing a red TEST SYSTEM badge.

DRA Classic Bridge circulation information collected for the last week will have been loaded into the Unicorn system overnight. Each agency should log in as staff arrives, and can immediately begin updating TEMP accounts with customer information for accounts signed up during Classic Bridge. However, staff should not begin begin discharging, checking out or receiving items In Transit until Paul Gahn sends the "all clear" e-mail message, expected between 8:00 and 9:00 AM on Thursday. (At that point, staff can begin processing materials that were held in Route status during the week of Classic Bridge. New materials will not be sent prior to Monday, June 18, to allow staff time to work through this backlog.)

All circulation PCs and some reference desk, manager, and workroom PCs have received memory upgrades; those who haven't received upgrades yet may experience slower than optimal performance, and should bear in mind the advice shared earlier about maximizing performance by closing other programs before starting Workflows, and so on. (Memory upgrades for the remaining staff PCs will resume next week.)

The public web site will still be at http://www.memphislibrary.org, though the familiar "stack o' books" will have been replaced by a new design. Virtually all of the current library web pages will continue to exist and reside at the same URLs, just with a different look. Catalog links will take customers to the new OPAC at http://eps.memphislibrary.org; in addition, a search box at the top of every web page will give access to the catalog as well. Every web page will also feature a login dialog box to give customers quick access to their library accounts, with familiar services like online renewals -- and new services like Holds. The new Holds service will be available from the time we go live, but it's expected that it will take most customers a few days to discover it and start using it (though no one can know for sure, of course). The first hold pick list report will be generated and emailed at approximately 2pm on the day of Go Live.

On public machines, the PCs that have been designated as Catalog or Catalog/Express PCs will open on the Rooms/EPS home page. Printing of catalog pages (which may also include Rooms web pages or listings of database or web citations) will remain free. However, until we become more familiar with the new OPAC configurations, these PCs will not be technically blocked from accessing other sites on the Internet. Managers at each location will have the discretion to decide whether or not to enforce the "catalog use only" policy for these PCs until the technical solution can be put in place.

PCs designated for other special uses besides the catalog will continue to be designated for that use, and should come up to the appropriate "start" page. On general-use public PCs, Internet Explorer will open to the new home page at the same old URL. On staff PCs, the browser will continue to open to the Intranet home page, which is not changing at all. Links to catalog records in blog postings and BookLetters are being changed today or tonight; some remaining web catalog links, such as those for the Teen Book Lists, will not be available for a few days.

Throughout Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, lead circulation trainer Becky Graham will be available at OPX 2747 to assist circulation staff who aren't sure how to perform a function in Workflows. Also on Thursday and Friday, Damone Virgilio and Kevin Dixon will be on the road visiting locations around the system to offer in-person Workflows assistance to reference staff, and will also be available by phone via their cell numbers (e-mailed previously). Paul Gahn, joined onsite by our SirsiDynix SureStart Consultant Pam Tejes, will be available at OPX 2805 to troubleshoot problems when staff are confident they are performing a task just how they were trained, but it’s still not working (password doesn’t work, receipts aren’t printing, etc.).
For questions about the public catalog or web site, please contact yours truly at OPX 2801.

At this time, all our staff have received the essential training they need to do their jobs. We have the knowledge and the skills we need. Mistakes will almost certainly be made -- but they won't be fatal ones. We will all learn from each others' mistakes and improve our understanding, and our service to customers, as we proceed on this journey together. On behalf of the entire Sirsi Implementation Management Team, I would like to thank all of you for your positive attitude and team spirit throughout this 18-month implementation process.

Have a great Go Live!

-- Alan

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SirsiDynix Project Manager's Weekly Status Report #58

SirsiDynix logo

Unicorn Project Status Report

Status Report Date: 6/12/07
Site Name: Memphis Public Library (24 libraries)
Client Contact: Alan Stewart
Go-Live Date: 6/14/07
Software Release: GL 3.1
Go-Live: Yes
SureStart: 9 months

Project Manager: Jeannie Peters
Implementation Team: Damon Hunter (CS), Jenny Hendrickson (DC), Patty Suessen (TR), Pam Tejes (SC)
Sales Representative: Zuanarda Causey

Major Activities/ Meetings Completed

• Weekly Call.
• This status reports covers May 21- June 11
• Damon applied the Solaris daylight savings time patch to the production server.
• Through Paul’s efforts with Damon, the configuration is now complete on the IBM Infoprint system printer.
• The EPS/Rooms auto backup script has been tested and is working correctly.
• Memphis decided to have SirsiDynix upgrade their EPS/Rooms to 2.2 prior to their go live. Both the test and production instances were upgraded on 5/24. Several issues were discovered by Memphis and SirsiDynix worked with them to resolve those issues among which were problems with the Reading Lists Content Module, Kids’ Library picture-based search, Find it Fast! picture-based Search, Content Module manager, Most Popular List Content Module, and integration of Central Search and Article Linker into EPS/Rooms.
• Alan and Alex Feng are actively working on remaining EPS/Rooms issues.
• Alan reported that the upgrade to 2.2 resolved the chronic problem with the dynamic menu arrows.
• Jeannie Peters was out of the office May 25-June 1. Jane Ervin worked with Memphis in her absence.
• Jennifer Hendrickson began the final data load on schedule on May 14. Items loaded with no errors. Bibs loaded with no errors. Authority records loaded with 2278 errors. This is being investigated. Vendors and Serials were loaded. There are serials control issues that are being investigated.
• 6/7 was to have been when patrons/circ data were extracted. Due to internal issues at SirsiDynix, the extract did not take place as scheduled the evening of 6/6. Instead, patrons were extracted during the morning of 6/7 and charges and fines (bills) data was extracted the evening of 6/7. The patron load was completed early 6/8 and circ data was begun. Circ load was completed on schedule 6/11. Bills were loaded 6/11. Memphis began using Classic Bridge for circulation June 7 and will this will continue through June 13 when the Classic Bridge transactions will be extracted from the Classic system and then loaded into Unicorn. Throughout the final dataload Jennifer has provided Memphis with frequent status reports and final load reports. She has also
• SureStart Consultant Pam Tejes will arrive onsite at Memphis on Tuesday, June 12 and will remain onsite through Saturday June 16 to assist Memphis with their go live.
• The Classic Bridge extract will take place sometime after the close of business (9:00 p.m.) on Wednesday June 13. Classic Bridge data will be loaded June 13-14 and Memphis will go live on June 14.

Activities/ Meetings Scheduled for Next Week

• Weekly Call on Tuesday at 2:00 Central time. The conference number will be used for all future calls.

Outstanding Issues


Project Status:

No change.