Magazine article Special Libraries

TLC: Total Library Computerization

Magazine article Special Libraries

TLC: Total Library Computerization

Article excerpt

ON POINT has created a simple yet sophisticated product for small to medium- sized libraries called TLC (Total Library Computerization). This program is designed for IBM and IBM-compatible personal computers. TLC provides a means to automate basic library functions in six separate modules. The modules are: cataloging, borrowing, interlibrary loan, serials control, ordering, and memos.

TLC is written using askSam, a software program used in many special and school libraries. ON POINT has done the programming for yon by effectively using the rich capabilities of askSam. The stand-alone modules are an attractive feature because a library can use any part of the system without being required to purchase the entire system. The down side of this is that TLC is not a relational database product. Although data have to be entered separately in every applicable module, TLC has a feature that allows the user to access all data in a single search called Global Search. This Global Search capability compensates for the lack of a relational database.

TLC is menu-driven. The user moves through a series of menus to add, update, print, and delete data and records. Menu item descriptions can be edited to reflect local procedures or terms. Menu options and progressions are self explanatory. Operators/technicians/librarians will be able to perform most transactions with little training. The on-line help is excellent as far as it goes. Some complex tasks may require additional information.

The individual templates consist of fixed-length fields. The fields were long enough for our test data, so they did not pose a problem. Some of the field names were difficult to interpret intuitively; but as with all systems, as the user becomes familiar with its idiosyncrasies, the user will adapt. Addresses may need to be modified for some publishers. Unlike some database programs, users are not required to complete all fields to add records to the database.

Acting as the core for some special libraries, the Cataloging module has individually designed templates for entry of books, serials, journal articles, chapters in books, reports, congressional documents, and added copies. At the end of the data entry, a simple control-end saves the record and a carriage return displays a blank template. ASCII records from other database sources may be imported. After this review was written, ON POINT released separate software, which will derive a TLC record from a MARC record.

The circulation section, called Borrow, provides easy access to items lent and items returned. The templates and field names were clear and functions easily performed. We found this module to be the best designed in TLC. All library staff can learn to use this quickly. As an added bonus for school libraries, you can search by grade or group to get a listing of items charged out.

Interlibrary loan is separated from the Borrow module. Some libraries may be used to having these functions combined, but this is desirable for libraries that do not monitor internal loans. These libraries may prefer that the interlibrary loan function stand alone. This module has templates for items lent to and items borrowed from other libraries. It also allows for entering information on cooperating libraries. …

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