Minutes of January 21, 2004 meeting

Kristen Ko, Rita O'Donnell, Mike Mansouri, May Chin, Peter Anderson, Zohreh Bonianian, Paul Young, Eugene McElroy, Fred Onorato, Dave Warner, Ramon Negron, Myriam Alami
Dean Meister, Irina Loutchkina, Eva Kalamotousis


  1. New Release. Glitches, issues
  2. Fall 03 reserve removal. Remaining brief records
  3. Still check out at closing
  4. Reminders: File size, Properties
  5. Update on reserve holds
  6. Projects in process
  7. Reserve/Circ training: framework and discussion
  8. Information sharing, next meeting Wednesday February 18th

1. New Release. Glitches, issues

The group reviewed issues surrounding the new release. Principle among these is the inability of the new release to display shadowed items in workflows. This was an "undeclared change" from Sirsi. It has been reported to them and they are in the process of designing a software patch. In the meantime, all reserve brief records have been globally "unshadowed". Furthermore, you should be creating unshadowed records for the time being for reserve. It is important that you change the property setting on the "create brief title" and have the shadow title check mark off. The same for "duplicate title". When the permanent solution for the issue is received from Sirsi, reserve brief records will be globally re-shadowed and we will need to change the properties back to the standard shadowing of titles.

Another glitch with the new release was the difficulty in executing the "remove reserve" command for items that do not belong to the library of the reserve desk. The system seemed to be interpreting the underlying "RESV-LIB" charge as an impediment to completing the removal command. The removal process by report was able to overcome this. Subsequently testing on the new release, with items created from start to finish on the new version, seem to work fine. Please report any difficulties you encounter in removing reserves, or with any reserve procedure on the new release for that matter.

2. Fall 03 Reserve Removal. Remaining Brief Records

Fall 03 brief records and control records were removed via report, and the results and exception lists distributed. We are retaining fines for items that were excluded from the report process due to fines. Directions were circulated for posting these fines to a patron's pub note, removing the fine, and then removing the item. The patron must be "barred" manually, as "blocked" is not a status that can be assigned through modify patron. Ramon raised a good point, when looking closely at the exception list he noted that a number of the records that he had indicated a "created" date of prior to Fall 03. Please simply erase fines still attached to reserve brief records from semesters prior to Fall 03, as these fall under the agreed upon "amnesty". Furthermore, I offer the observation that Fall 03 exceptions due to accrued fines were rather low, which points to the successful use of the still checked out reports in preventing accumulation of erroneous fines. Staff were asked to let the coordinator know when they completed the removal of exceptions.

A problem arose Wednesday morning 1/21 when fall 03 files were being deleted from U drive and webserver locations by Image Services. Somehow, spring 04 files were deleted from the webserver, for files beginning with A-I. These were restored from U:/ semester locations. Anything on working directories were not FTP'd, so be informed of that and FTP if you have to. Robeson and Dana were kept informed of this and their files restored as well. This highlights the effectiveness of our backup directory system.

3. Still Checked Out at Closing Reports

These reports re-started as programmed the evening of 1/20. Please make your closing staff aware of this and utilize these reports to continue to minimize the number of items that accrue fines incorrectly. Please report any problems you encounter in accessing these.

4. Reminders

We discussed our continued vigilance in managing file sizes to under 1.4mb. Please take care in creating files, and divide large files as necessary. The reserve FG calendar of events contains a date where these will be scrutinized (Feb. 1st) however it should be a continuous process for each unit through the semester. In addition, the importance of maintaining correct properties was revisited, especially for control records expiration dates and temporarily, the un-shadowed title brief title setting.

5. Update on Reserve Holds

At our December meeting the new process of not allowing queued holds on reserve materials was discussed. In the fall we had a report run which detailed all holds left over on books on reserve from the beginning of the semester; on items where reserve requests were bumped to the top of the list and the other patrons were left in limbo without an answer on the status of their requests. We removed these holds manually, and the system recognized an item on reserve and sent a standard message to the patron indicating the item was required for reserve and that they should pursue other means of acquiring it (Palci, ILS, etc.).

Material on reserve was, as of fall 03, not holdable, so that new holds on materials on reserve would not be generated once the control record was established. However, those holds on the item that were pushed aside when the reserve request came through and took priority are still left on items, and the patrons are not getting responses to these requests. I brought the situation up to Chris Sterback, who suggested a report be run at regular intervals, and a staff member from reserves could remove these holds manually, thus generating the automatic response to the patron that they will not be receiving the item due to its need on reserve.

It is my hope to ask someone to do this regularly, as an established duty, as part of their contribution to functional group. I need to see what a weekly report will entail in terms of volume. As I removed ALL of fall 03 myself, and those totaled somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-75, I dont think a report broken down by week will number much more than10-20. In fact I just received a sample report run by Chris Sterback yesterday and it only had 11 records identified. I will report back shortly on this.

6. Projects in Process

Acquisitions database:
Kristen and Rita spoke briefly about the work done so far in converting a local Art Library database into a tool for tracking NBL reserve purchases. Several screen prints were circulated, and staff offered some suggestion and desired functionality. Rita and Kristen were encouraged to explore the ability of the database to reside in a central T drive location, with each unit accessing their data from that one point. Also, in terms of queries, they were encouraged to include the ability to select "all" under libraries to develop more comprehensive reports. Great work so far, this is looking like a great tool.

Conversion website:
Dave Warner looked at length at a website that was offering free conversions of various file types to .pdf. The results of his testing were quite disappointing, as numerous files were never returned, with no explanation. In addition some file size issues and formatting problems were encountered, so this is not a viable tool. Thanks to Dave for testing.

File type conversions including page size:
A larger discussion of file conversions was held. More and more we are converting file types ourselves, especially with our standard approach of encouraging files submitted in an electronic format. Several sets of directions for converting these files are in draft stage. The file types most frequently encountered are Word Perfect, MSWord, Excel, Powerpoint. I will look to create a directory on the reserves resources page and centralize these conversion directions.

7. Reserve/Circ Training: Framework and Discussion

The group discussed the upcoming reserve portion of the NBL circulation training. Dave Warner, who is serving as liaison to the committee working on this training, gave the group some background information as an update. We then brainstormed the proposed session, dividing the material into two "skits"; a conversation between an Access staff member and a professor wanting to place material on reserve, and a second "skit" with an Access staff member explaining reserves to a student looking at reserves for the first time. Within these two contexts we were able to work in the major points of the reserve process; requirements for processing as well as what the service offers. It was also mentioned that from previous presentations, including the Access Services Open House, significant powerpoint slides already exist.

8. Information Sharing

A question was raised about the mechanism involved in professors mailing directly to "ereserves@rci". It was pointed out that files can become "lost" from the unit that they should be identified with when professors do not include that information. Alexander library is especially affected by this, and it was proposed that they be included in the distribution of emails directed to this address. More to come.

I reminded the group to keep me informed of any backlog or overload that develops. Staff can potentially be shared, and Image Services continues to be available for overflow work.

Next Meeting - Wednesday February 18th

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/reserves_group/minutes/reserves_04_01_21.shtml
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