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IMPLEMENTING THE LIBRARY INFORMATION SYSTEM

Lecture delivered by Victoria J. Walo, Senior Training Officer, Intel Philippines Mftg., Inc.; formerly a University Research Associate doing systems administration function at the University of the Philippines College of Science Library (1992-1995)

Introduction:

After the needs assessment and formulation of the plan or proposal for the library information system, the bigger challenge is to ensure that these plans are finally put into place, implemented and maintained.

Objectives:

At the end of this session, the participants should be able to

  • define the role and required competencies of the librarian/information professional in the library automation
  • describe the procedures and guidelines in implementing a library information system
  • apply the basic concepts in the implementation process through examples and case study/discussion

Contents:

  • Inclusion Activity
  • Overview of the Session
  • What Do I Need to Know? Competency Requirements for Librarians
  • The Implementation Process
  • Database Development
  • System Specifications and Requirements
  • Software Selection
  • System Implementation
  • Case Study/Discussion


Topic 1:

What Do I Need to Know? Competency Requirements for Librarians/Information Specialist (L/IS)

Introduction:

Implementing the Library information system demand shared expertise of persons dealing with hardware, software and user requirements. What then is the main role of the librarians/information specialists (L/IS) in this library automation task?

Objective:

Define the role and required competencies of the L/IS in Library automation

Human Resource Requirement:

The total library information system project basically requires a hardware expert, a programmer or software applications guru and a system analyst.

  • The hardware expert handles hardware specifications, configurations, installations and maintenance.
  • The programmer or software guru takes charge of system configuration, customization (if necessary) and installation.
  • The systems analyst's task is to investigate the current system, redesign these systems to accommodate proposed library system, assess these options and formulate functional (not technical!) specifications for programmers/software guru and the end-users.

L/IS Primary Role:

  • The librarian/information professional is not expected to be a hardware expert nor a programmer or software applications guru, but more of a systems analyst, an interface between the users and the programmer.

  • As systems analyst, each librarian/information professional needs to
    • understand the users needs and translate these as system requirements; and
    • understand the programmer or software guru to be able to develop and communicate functional specifications

  • The emerging role of a librarian/information professional is actually to oversee the whole project. She/he therefore needs to be aligned to the programmers/software guru, hardware experts and the end-users -- a jack-of-all-trades, competent in terms of basic computer concepts and applications, database management, and trends in information technology.


Topic 2:

The implementation Process

Introduction

The success of the library information system not only requires thorough planning but also an effective implementation process. The competent librarian/information specialist continues to lead in this phase of the project.

Objectives

  • Provide an overview of the implementation process
  • Describe the different steps in implementing the library information system

Overview

Process check: This stage assumes that the following outputs have already been produced during the planning session: documentation of

  • users study,
  • review of the library/organizationís mission/vision,
  • resources mapping,
  • identified needs for improvement of the library services and
  • evaluation of the alternative solutions.

Implementation focuses on the details of the following concerns:

  • database - what information will be available, its structure
  • software - what user interface and database engine will be used
  • hardware - what platform will this system run on
  • peopleware - who and how will the users, both librarians and borrowers be equipped to maximize utilization of the library system

Steps

In a nutshell, the implementation of a library information process involves:

  • Database Development
  • System Specifications and Requirements
  • Analysis and Selection of Proposal
  • Systems Implementation


Topic 3:

Database Development

Introduction

The quality of information available in the system is a primary task to deal with. This step ensures data integrity and completeness for the users as well as compatibility to the software.

Objectives

  • Define the steps involved in database development
  • Identify issues in database building through examples

Steps

  • Identify and document existing shelflist and standardize data content
  • Determine standards for bibliographic records
  • Evaluate alternative procedures for retrospective conversion
  • Organize staff for In-house retrospective conversion

Issues/Concerns

  • Manual encoding vs Copy-cataloguing from commercial databases
  • Conversion software

Examples

  • Standard data content:
  • Uppercase vs lower case

    Author: WALO, VICKY
    or
    Walo, Vicky
  • Define authority list:

    Author: Walo, Victoria J.
    or
    Javier-Walo, Victoria
  • Bibliographic record standard
    - MARC
    - ISO2709
  • Alternative procedures for retroconversion - Manual encoding
    - Copy-catalog from existing catalog database
    - Conversion of existing database into an electronic format compatible with the new system

Case study

  • UP College of Science Library
    - approx. 35,000 records; used MARC records
    - Copy-cataloged/edited records from Bibliofile (85-90%)
    - Manual encoded original catalog (10-15%)
    - Throughput time (TPT): Copy-cataloging - 50 records/hrs - Encoding of original records or
    - Editing of downloaded records - 15-20 rec/hr
  • Intel Philippines
    - approx. 2,000 records
    - Existing catalog database in CDS/ISIS (100%)
    - Converted from ISO2709 to MARC records
    - Uploaded files to TECHLIB plus (100%)
    - TPT: Editing of downloaded records (to reflect multiple copies)
    - 3-5 minutes per additional copy


Topic 4:

System Specifications and Requirements

Introduction

Through the planning process, general standards and capabilities of the library system have already been defined. This phase details the description of the software and hardware requirements.

Objective

  • Identify appropriate functions and technical specifications based on users' needs and resources
  • Differentiate hardware and software requirements for stand-alone system vs a library network

Steps

  • Review the desired software and hardware capabilities
  • Prepare functional and technical specifications for the system
  • Distribute request proposals to appropriate groups

Options for

Specific modules vs integrated system -What is needed by the library staff? The library users in general?

Functional Special functions

  • Library functions
    - Acquisition - ordering, receipting, claiming, fund accounting, inquiries<
    - Cataloging - data entry, authority control, downloading
    - Online Public Access Cataloging (OPAC) - online access, public access
    - Circulation Control - check-in, routing, claiming, binding, fund accounting, inquiries
    - Other Facilities - interlibrary loan, electronic mail, report generation

  • In-house development vs commercially available - Are the predefined requirements available in commercial software or requires special programming?

Technical Specifications

Stand-alone vs networked system - How many users need to access simultaneously? What's the budget?

  Stand-alone Network
Function/s Cataloging, OPAC Single module to integrated system
Software, Operating system,
Novelle/Bayan;
DOS DOS + Unix + DOS (PC client)
Library system Single-user Multi-user
Hardware PC File Server, PC terminals, LAN cards, wiring

Example

UP CSLIB : Integrated Library System runs on a network for more than 23 simultaneous users -

  • Software : Library system - Information Navigator, Unix Operating System ñ OS/F2 (for Server) DOS for PC (client system)

  • - Hardware :
    - For local area network (LAN)
    - 1 Server - DEC Alpha
    - 8 PC Workstations
    - 15 OPAC terminals
    - 24 LAN cards
    - Wiring - UTP
    - Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)
  • - Addtl requirements for remote login

  • 1 Modem
    1 LAN router
  • - For circulation: barcode reader


Topic 5:

Analysis and Selection of Proposal

Introduction

After a certain period, vendors need to present their proposals for evaluation.

Objective

Define the critical steps in analyzing and accepting vendors - proposals

Steps

  • Analyze proposals submitted by vendors and programmers
  • Set-up demonstrations to further evaluate proposed package
  • Select vendor of programmer

Example

Software Selection
  • Short list vendors based on documents presented in current catalogs or brochures sent; initial screening factors are on functions available and affordability
  • Invite vendors to demonstrate their system
  • Request the hardware and software experts, and the users to join the evaluation process
  • Check functions against a checklist of required capabilities, particularly the desired user-interface and accessibility of technical support

Note: If there is an existing library software in another branch or member organization, it is best and cost-effective to evaluate the existing software and explore all possibilities of satisfying requirements even before considering other options.


Topic 6:

Systems Implementation

Introduction

Give the database, the software and hardware defined and ready for set-up, the final phase of the implementation ensures that the whole system works effectively and efficiently for the users.

Objective

Describe and apply the procedures involved in the final implementation phase.

Steps

  • Customize the system to library's particular requirements and policies
  • Prepare the site (building, wiring, etc.)
  • Install and test hardware and software
  • Acquire the necessary equipment, supplies, etc.
  • Load the library's bibliographic database
  • Train the staff and introduce necessary adjustments in work flow
  • Make full use of the system and conduct proper evaluation and monitoring

Example

Intel Philippines' experience
  • Other sites have been using TECHLIB plus, system is accessible via Telnet or Netscape. Customization required focused on OPAC interface through Netscape (added default location: Manila)
  • Network is already in place, no need to prepare the network wirings, etc.
  • Tested the system primarily for response time and applicability of each library function; satisfactory findings
  • Loading of bibliographic database done by importing ISO files into TECHLIB plus
  • Staff training took five days with lecture and hands-on. Specific issues and requirements discussed after the presentation
  • Constant update and monitoring is done through e-mail and phone conferences

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