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TS Aleph Implementation Group Minutes
February 8, 2007

We welcomed the newest member of our group - Raimonda Margioni!

Aleph Version 18

Rich announced that UF is expected to upgrade the first or second weekends in July (6-8, 13-15).  The system will be down possibly into the following Monday.  Although the testing has indicated that FCLA could upgrade as many as three libraries per week, the plan is to upgrade one library per week - Phase I libraries in July and Phase II libraries in August.

By the end of February, UF should have available an editable test client containing the full database.  The test client data was captured in December 2006, and FCLA is in the process of reviewing the data and preparing the tables.  One to two weeks before the upgrade, FCLA will probably freeze the tables and not allow changes.  When asked if FCLA is testing the job routines and the print daemon, Rich said he would check.  Doug mentioned that Daniel is looking at spine labelling.

Betsy reported that a group of CatMet managers and trainers plus Cecilia and Jean met February 6 to review the training documentation provided by Ex Libris and FCLA.  Some of the PowerPoint presentations are geared to staff unfamiliar with Aleph.  Out of the collection of training resources, those highlighting the changes in effect with version 16 seem the most relevant.  Naomi, Jackie Brown, and Betsy are going to create a combined list of cataloging-related changes from the What's New in Version 16, 17, and 18 documents.  In addition, Jackie will review Ex Libris' resources and pull out helpful information, such as a list of keyboard shortcuts.  There are plans to reinstitute cataloging liaisons to specific areas as was done with the migration from NOTIS to Aleph (4/21/04 Cataloging Trainers Group Minutes: Liaison Role section)  Jan voiced support for having one liaison assigned per unit, as opposed to multiple liaisons assigned to each unit based on particular functions (e.g., holdings, items).  Other than these activities, the group is waiting to test functionality and workflow in an editable client.

Steve explained that AcqLic has no specific activities to report about version 18 training at this point.  In response to Barbara's request that collection managers be kept in mind when training is developed, Michele indicated this would definitely be the case.  She pointed out that AcqLic held training sessions for collection managers when the library migrated from NOTIS to Aleph.

Per Cathy, Preservation has looked at some of the documentation and the demo/dev clients. 

Rich commented that the Permissions Module has been somewhat improved since version 15.5, but not substantially.  An example is that after the upgrade, it will be possible to associate userids with a name and expiration date.

Rich reminded the group that FCLA is interested in hearing from us about training needs.  In addition, Michele mentioned that a soon-to-be formed unit within AcqLic, the Technical Support Unit, will include a new position of Technical Support and Instructional Librarian, who will have responsibility for developing training resources.

The general consensus is that the upgrade should not pose significant challenges for staff and is expected to provide much needed improvements.  Rich does not expect that a significant data review will be needed.  The primary focus will be on testing functionality (e.g., macros).  FLCA's client-focussed listservs (e.g., CATCLIENT) provide an opportunity for exchange among the SUL.  Some of the lists are more active than others at this stage.  Ex Libris will be providing a checklist with post-upgrade instructions. 

Material Type

At the Print Media and Management Committee (PMMC) January meeting, questions about the Item Record Material Type were raised.  Cathy suggested that it might be useful to have a policy document specifying when to use the BOOK, ISSUE, and ISSBD material types.  (Currently, there is also a fourth, ILL ORDER PROJECT.)  The group agreed, and Bobby and Raimonda, PMMC co-chairs, agreed to draft the document.  Doug volunteered to provide assistance, if needed, for application of the BOOK material type.

Authorities update

Betsy reported that the TSPC Authorities Subcommittee, in collaboration with FCLA, has decided to implement a change in authority loading that should speed up the loading process.  The current estimate is that it will take approximately one year to finish updating the name authority file - a much shortened prediction than was reported at the last meeting. 

Cecilia voiced her frustration with the lack of progress loading MESH headings.  This led to a larger discussion about whether increased staffing at FCLA would enable them to complete loads and other projects more expeditiously.  Rich and others encouraged TSPC, now under Cecilia's leadership, to discuss this issue and petition for additional staffing if necessary.


Doug inquired if differences among Smathers, HSCL, and Law cataloging regarding the use of set records vs. analytics should necessitate a special procedure.  The group did not believe so and agreed that the holdings records should provide an adequate means of indicating varying call numbers, etc.

Doug also expressed concern about the growing number of personal copy records for course reserve and the resulting cluttering of the catalog.  Catalogers have been told not to edit or overlay the personal copy records.  CatMet would prefer to overlay personal copy records when a copies are added to the collection.  Matthew and Doug will follow up with Access Services staff to resolve this situation.


Cathy reported that PMMC members are anxious about NOTIS going away because a number of them continue to use it for a variety of tasks.  Others made similar comments about staff in their areas, prompting Michele to recommend that the group document the ways NOTIS is being used.  While FCLA's Aleph ARROW reports will enable us to access much data, it may be possible to expand what these ARROW reports cover and/or augment them in some way.  Cecilia pointed out that staff often consult non-standard data, which may be difficult for FCLA to include in ARROW reports.   

Steve's observation is that staff are using NOTIS less and less over time, and Rich commented that UF has been fortunate to have access to NOTIS for so long because of being the first institution to migrate to Aleph.  Jan emphasized the importance of listening to the needs of frontline staff.

Michele indicated there have been exploratory discussions at UF about making a copy of the NOTIS data.  However, Michele believes it is FCLA's responsibility to address any valid needs for NOTIS data.  For example, Rich said that FCLA is committed to making bill and fine information accessible.  Rich also pointed out that if UF creates a copy, it will have to develop some type of interface staff can easily access, which may prove to be difficult. 

The group agreed on the following action items:


Betsy stressed the need for larger monitors, particularly with the pending upgrade to Aleph version 18.  She offered to e-mail the group information from the ALEPH-NA listserv re. monitor size as well as check to see if CCLA and FCLA have posted recommended specifications.

The next TS Aleph meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 8, 10:00-11:30am, Library East Conference Room.  


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