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CODI 2005

Sadly the two “spare days” after the end of CODI 2005 have flown by and tomorrow morning we’re setting off back to the UK. By the way, just in case anyone wants to know what “the sun going down on CODI 2005″ looked like, here it is/was:

sun set on Wednesday evening

We spent most of yesterday in St Paul (the sibling to Minneapolis in the title “The Twin Cities”). As some of the Horizon mailing list regulars will know, we were keen to visit the Catbus exhibit at the Minnesota Children’s Museum – and just to prove we did, here’s Bryony in the front seat:

driving the Catbus

…and here’s Totoro himself:

Totoro

…and there’s more pictures here!

For lunch, we walked about a mile out of St Paul to Red’s Pizza Savoy. After the cosmopolitan Minneapolis, Red’s felt like a taste of true Americana.

We even made it back in time to go and give the Loring Park squirrel’s their tea:

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).

Tailored Just for U: uPortal Customised for Academics (Dennis Todd)

The HIP 4 admin tool is built on the 8.0 code base and will run on any desktop that can run Java.

Dennis had prepared a useful “HIP 4.1 Customisation Parameter List” document, but it wasn’t too obvious where this was going to be available to download from.

Dennis also introduced some of the new HIP 4 terminology:

  • targets – anything that HIP 4 can search against (e.g. Horizon database, Z39.50 targets, Digital Library, etc)
  • common codes – groups together similar result/search attributes from the targets so that a single author keyword search could match against authors, composers, editors, etc – whatever was closest to the concept of an “author” for that particular database or resource (MetaLib sites will already be familiar with this “lowest common denominator” idea)

A hint from Dennis – change the quick search (in the portal properties record) so that it searches against more than just the Horizon database.

Templates:

  • profile_user
    template user – the “look & feel” that a logged in user gets
  • profile_guest
    template guest user – the “look & feel” a non-logged in user gets

…make sure that the “system admin” box is ticked for both of the above!

When you log into HIP to make changes to those templates, firstly save the layout and then click save template user – don’t do it the other way around!!!

Remember that guest users shouldn’t have a “preferences” tab.

Anyone who is set up as a “system admin” gets a “manage channels” icon so that they can add new channels to HIP.

In HIP 4, new tabs are added in HIP – not from inside the Java HIP admin tool.

Dennis stressed the importance of getting your templates set up exactly how you want them before going live. If you decide to make changes after going live, then any patrons who had already logged in won’t get to see those new changes.

That raised the question of exactly when do you make those changes – if you’re busy upgrading from HIP 3.x to HIP 4.x, then you don’t have the luxury of saying to your patrons “Hey – the PAC’s not going to be available for a couple of weeks, because we want to play around with it first and make it all pretty for you!”.

Someone suggested that you disable logins until you’ve got the “logged in” template set up – but that would mean patrons wouldn’t be able to make requests or renew items via the PAC.

The only solution seems to be that you need to plan ahead and decide in advance what you want to appear in your HIP and how it should be laid out. Then, once you’ve finished the upgrade, cross your fingers and try and set it up as quickly as possible!

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

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.

I Didn’t Know Web Reporter Could Do That! (Valerie M. Chase – valerie.chase@sirsidynix.com / eric.graham@sirsidynix.com)

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…

filters…

  • 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

consolidations…

  • 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”)

metrics…

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

threshold…

  • 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″

Now You’ve Bought Web Reporter, So What? …So You’ve Bought Web Reporter, Now What? (Thurman Smith – thurman.smith@sirsidynix.com)

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

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.

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).

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