Back from the long Memorial Day weekend…05.27.08

27 05 2008

 

Well, I’m glad to be back from the long weekend off and ready to dive back into my daily work.  I have a little sunburn from spending time in our swimming pool for the first time this year.

We left off on the post from Friday about the laborious, lengthy, and frustrating ILS selection, approval, and installation process.  To reiterate, I was the only one remotely familiar with ILS packages.  Neither those in the approval process from my IT Dept. nor those in the the Accounting Dept. had a clue as to what the software does or why I needed it.

The first choice I made for our ILS was made primarily because of an extremely low cost and because the vendor was local.  The software selection was submitted to the IT Dept. for review.  However, there was no response for several weeks despite many attempts to get some input on their review progress.  Finally, I was asked to discuss my software needs with them.  During this initial meeting, I clarified the necessity of the software for my position and explained what I wanted to accomplish with it.  The chosen ILS was rejected for several reasons, primarily because our IT Dept. had decided to deal exclusively with Microsoft products and the database for the ILS used a proprietary software unique to the vendor.

It was back to the drawing board in the ILS review process after the first selection was rejected but at least I finally had some minimum criteria that would hopefully please the IT Dept. and the first hurdle to approval for purchase.  I still had no stated budget limitations. However, through my initial conversation with IT Dept. personnel bringing up the matter as a side issue, I was led to believe that the cost would have to be from the low end of the spectrum available that would minimally meet our needs.

Further research led me to the second selection, a relatively new software from Book Systems, Inc.  Their web-based ILS, Atriuum [for more on Atriuum, check out my links list at the right], seemed to fit our needs at the time, would be sufficient as the library resources expanded as projected, and was at a price which hopefully was in the acceptable range.  The software is most generally used by school districts and small public libraries and includes some features not relevant to our needs.

I went though another protracted process of having the software and its specifications from the vendor carefully evaluated for compatibility with our hardware and software environment in addition to seemingly arbitrary preferences.  Eventually, the software was approved by the IT Dept. to proceed to the approval for purchase process by the Accounting Dept. [I had negotiated the cost down from the vendor’s initial proposal prior to submission for purchase but this information will remain confidential.]

After a couple of months, I was informed that the Accounting Dept. had approved the ILS purchase and the appropriate requisition order was generated.  The vendor was given the order which included, the ILS software, installation help for placement on a server in-house, an annual maintenance agreement, barcode scanning equipment and labeling supplies, and an on-line training package.  At this point in time, I had been in the librarian position for 6 months and had completed as much of the physical inventory as possible locally.

A twist on this story came when the IT Dept. announced after the order had been placed that their staff member who reviewed he software had not noticed that the database software the ILS uses is not supported by our current servers so it was not compatible to our hardware/software environment according to their standards.  To avoid problems internally and externally in addition to not further hindering the needed software installation, the IT Dept. decided it would rapidly get approval to purchase a unique Apache server to satisfy the needs of the ILS.

Atriuum was installed about 6 weeks after the software was purchased and available.  Training online from Book Systems, Inc. followed shortly thereafter and cataloging began although it took about another 6 weeks for the IT Dept. to get the OPAC online.

Next time I will discuss my initial trip to our out of state storage areas for a cursory review of the scope and condition of the collections off-site.

BTW, I have been playing with the font in this post trying to get it to match previous posts but have been unsuccessful so far.  It appears correct in the posting area but changes after posting. 

More tomorrow…. I am hoping that my running dialog is understandable and somewhat sequential.

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