Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

McGraw Hill Library System

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

McGraw Hill Library System

Article excerpt

Vendor: McGraw-Hill School Systems

20 Ryan Ranch Road

Monterey, California 93940

(408) 393-7731; (800) 663-0544

Fax: (408) 393-7214

Demo Available: Yes Version: 1.0 Beta Nodules/Prices: Circulation, Cataloging, OPAC, and Report Writer, $3,985

PRODUCT REQUIREMENTS

Micro: 66 MHz 486+ PC with 16 MB memory, 14.4 modem, and a color monitor are recommended Operating System: Windows 3.1+ LANs Supported: Novell, Windows NT Server, Windows for Workgroups

FUNCTIONALITY

                                Fair       Good        Excellent
                                 1   2   3  4   5   6   7   8   9

Features                                                       9
Data Storage                                                   9
Performance                                                    9
Ease of Use                                                    9
Documentation                                                  9
Customer Support                                               9
Overall Rating                                                 9

EASE OF USE

                                       Average
                                1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Simple and Natural Dialog                           6
Minimum User Memory Load                                7
Consistency                                             7
Feedback                                            6
Shortcuts                                           6
Error Prevention                                    6
Overall Rating                                       6.4

FEATURES

The Mc-Graw Hill Library System is a completely new system that provides circulation, cataloging, OPAC, and a Report Writer. Release 1.0, which was expected to be available for general release in November 1995, is not yet released. This is due to the decision by McGraw-Hill to divest itself of its library automation products. At the time of publication, a buyer for the McGraw-Hill Library System has not yet been finalized. Acquisitions, Serials Control, and A/V Booking modules are planned for a future release. McGraw-Hill School Systems currently sells and supports the Columbia Library System, a DOS-based non-Windows product, that has been previously reviewed in LTR.

The McGraw-Hill Library System is a Windows-based product that employs the client/server architecture. The software will be ported so that it can also be run on Macintosh computers. For this review, the software tested was a Beta version of Release 1.0.

The company has an in-house Usability Lab, which tested earlier versions of the system. Based on the problems librarians and school-children were having with the software, McGraw-Hill went back to the drawing board and came up with an improved user interface. The metaphor for the Online Public Access Catalog is several parchment scrolls. The metaphor for all other modules, i.e., those used by staff members, is that of a spiral notebook with tabs acting as subject dividers.

Online Public Access Catalog

The OPAC screen is divided into three sections, the left side displaying various options that are available for the user, such as Search, Browse, Explore, Library Info, Other Resources, Internet, Community Info, and Reading Lists. The user can convert the language of the labels and instructions from English to Spanish or French. The center portion of the screen allows the user to enter a search request and view the results--see Figure 1. The righthand portion of the screen is an area for storing records for later user, e.g., constructing bibliographies.

Unless the user changes the defaults by clicking on one of the indexes offered, the system will conduct a keyword search of the Subject, Title, Author, and Notes fields. The icons displayed at the bottom of the screen refer to the available material types. …

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