Archive for the ‘codi2006’ Category

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A look back at CODI 2005

2006-10-07

Let’s wrap up the coverage of CODI 2006 with a fond look back at CODI 2005. I’ve removed all the names from these quotes. Sorry about that, Posterity.

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“This is less bad than it could have been.” — Customer #1

“Can I quote you on that?” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“Somebody blog it, please!” — Customer #2

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“Portal authentication: this has been a nightmare, and I don’t know if it will continue to be.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“Barcode and PIN, it’s not been–it doesn’t have–uh–good results.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“If you don’t go Barcode/PIN, all your My List data is gone.” — Customer #1

“And we’re actually trying to tell you not to go Barcode/PIN.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“So I can expect to be stoned.” – Customer #3

“And I can, too… If you want to stone me, I would prefer tomatoes.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“With BImport, you have a choice. You can choose Barcode and PIN–which isn’t a good choice. But neither is the other one.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

………………………………….

“Just don’t let the executives get a hold of it (these quotes).” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

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“It’s a better architecture in eight-oh.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“I have to agree, even though we’re currently using *Sybase*.” — me

“(pause) …So they made that announcement, then?” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee
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“Your subtab is called Restricted Loans?” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“Yes, it’s like Reserves.” — Customer #4

“It’s not like a mortgage, it’s just a book checkout.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

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“Who solved this problem before?”– Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“I *had* the problem before, but you solved it by giving me a new machine.” — Customer #2

(cheerfully) “Oh, that’s how Support will fix it.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

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“We have two skins called ‘default’. We do that to confuse you.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Acquisitions. No, kidding, it’s Harry Potter and the Order of McNuggets.” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

“I think the programmer was smart. I mean I hope they were, because… um… yeah…” — Anonymous SirsiDynix Employee

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CODI 2006: Shelly Neville’s presentation on Information Portal 8.x

2006-10-07

I’m posting this in Atlanta, having forgotten to post earlier. (Uploading 500MB of photos to Flickr takes a while, especially since the Little America hasn’t got an OC-48, and Flock kept losing its connection until about 1:30am. For all the wonders of Web 2.0, I’d have loved to be able to just use ssh, ftp, or even Xmodem-CRC.

There was a question about library-supplied images in combination with Syndetics images; Shelly pointed out that it would be rare to have both kinds of images for the same record, but that you could check boxes on a config screen to modify the layout. I said that you could also use XSLT to display the Syndetics image only if there’s no locally-provided image — just change the stylesheet.

Shelly laughed and said: “Any time a technical person says ‘you can just change the stylesheet’, I worry. I can *spell* XSL and that’s about it.”

You can use location groups to show “local copies”, “other libraries within 20 miles”, “other libraries further away”, etc.; the user would see the first group’s holdings and use a drop-down menu (or a similar control) to choose a different view.

(I hope there’ll be a way to use checkboxes to do something similar — perhaps “just change the stylesheet” to introduce some code that would display each group in a div and then show or hide the divs as the user toggles ‘public libraries’, ‘Pinellas County’, and so on. Heck, there’s an AJAX way to use a slider to say how far away you’re willing to go, but that might not actually be *useful*, just cool.)

Speaking of stylesheets, CSS will be used for layout, so there’s a good chance that the layout could be radically improved without messing around in XSLT.

Language translations will be stored in customer-accessible resource bundles, so we can create a Greek translation, or tweak a Spanish translation to reflect local usage. (Or even make the PAC say ‘your mailing address needs updated’, if that’s how normal people talk in your area.)

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The cashless circ desk

2006-10-05

A rumor from CODI: According to iTEAM, via Al Carlson, Polk County Library Cooperative is using cash-card technology to allow patrons to deposit money into their Horizon account to pay a fine. If it’s true, it’s very exciting to me; it would be a major part of implementing anonymous library cards (http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jun05/Ostrowsky.shtml). You’d be able to avoid the suspicious act of handing $20 bills to a librarian and getting a receipt, and you could use the same card for copiers too.

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This conversation could have happened anywhere. This is CODI 2006 in a nutshell.

2006-10-05

(A SirsiDynix employee stood in the exhibit hall with a Styrofoam cup of coffee in one hand and a BlackBerry in the other.)

Me: So, between the coffee and the BlackBerry, which would you say is more addictive?

SDE: Well, let me put it to you this way: I’m trying to drink as much of this as possible, and trying to stay away from this as much as possible. I need a 12-step program for this one (the BlackBerry).

(And what did I do? Astute readers will have guessed. I put down my Diet Coke and blogged it on the spot.)

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CODI 2006: Accessing Your Statistics

2006-10-05

CODI 2006: Accessing Your Statistics

Colleen Medling’s employer, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library, is a multi-type consortium including the county public library system, a law library, a Children’s Board library, and more.

In the past, each branch used Excel to enter statistics (reference, programs, etc.). Each library emailed the files to the Main Library, where a person spent 40 hours per month compiling them all.

Their new solution uses Microsoft Access. TeleCirc and Web Reporter both use an Access back-end, and it’s simple to learn. The limit is 2GB per database (and this may be a 32-bit thing).

One could use Access data pages or Microsoft Visual Web Developer to obviate the need for an Access client on each machine. THPL does it with Access data pages; they’re easy to use (there are wizards) and don’t take much time, and you can staff-proof your forms. On the other hand, there are some security risks, and you need to configure each browser to trust the site so that it can load new components. This is a one-time annoyance.

When setting things up, you need to figure out what it is you want to track. If you want children’s storytimes and babies’ storytimes in separate categories, then you need to know and consider that at the outset.

Use a Validation Rule to staff-proof your input. If the agency code does not match “In (‘adl’,’pci’, …)”, Access web forms will politely inform you that there’s a problem. (If you enter something polite in Validation Text, that is.) You can anticipate, for example, that the daily door count will be less than 3,000 at a small branch. (And if you use an enumerated data type for your library code, you’ve already staff-proofed that field. There’s probably a way to double-check that by IP address, if applicable, but I don’t know what it is.)

After your database has been set up, use “Create data access page by using wizard”. The wizard will walk you through the process and help you choose a design; you’ll probably want to use Design View to make it prettier. Use TabOrder to specify how pressing TAB will move through the web form.

Don’t forget to set Page Properties UseRemoteProvider to TRUE, or else users won’t be able to get to it.

Colleen has recently been trying Microsoft Visual Web Developer. The Express version is free of charge: (link) There is definitely a learning curve, however.

Access data can be imported into Sybase, and Sybase data can be used in Access. You’ll need to do some work, and not all data types will transfer. (Colleen put me on the spot to explain that this is because of nonstandard extensions to SQL.) You’ll need to add custom Sybase tables to Access individually.

But the hassle is worth it, and here’s why: If you store your data in Sybase, you can use Web Reporter to generate fantastic reports.

Q: Why use Access? Couldn’t you use a Sybase table and an mq_view to put the forms into the Horizon client?
A: You could, yes. Access was easier for our staff, but you could do it in Sybase. (Though that could be a problem when migrating to Horizon 8.x.)

Q: Why use Sybase at all?
A: Better backups for disaster recovery, and Web Reporter is a great tool in skilled hands.

Q: What about Horizon 8.0?
A: A database is a database. SirsiDynix will have to migrate my tables to (probably) DB2, and I’ll use a different ODBC connector.

Q: Can we get your code?
A: Sure. Email medlingc@hillsboroughcounty.org.

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Mormon Tabernacle Choir

2006-10-05

I’ll try to get this announced at the general session (and perhaps I’m merely the last to know), but, hey, blogosphere:

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearses tonight from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Come and go as you please; the Church’s convention center (on N Temple St between Main and W Temple) holds about 20,000, and there’s no charge.

Sounds like fun to me. Who wants to join me?

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CODI 2006 photos (first set) are now on Flickr

2006-10-05

It’s fun to stay at the…

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Much fun was had at CODI’s 70s party. My CODI 2006 photo set on Flickr also includes photos from sessions during the day. And of course there will be more to post tomorrow.

I’m not the only one posting photos, either.  See Flickr tag codi2006 (rss) for everyone’s photos, and Technorati tag codi2006 (rss) for all the CODI 2006 bloggers.