Magazine article Information Today

Rules for Successful Automation

Magazine article Information Today

Rules for Successful Automation

Article excerpt

Editor's Note: The following is a rather humorous account of going through the process of automating a library. We thank Lois Bogia, Assistant Librarian, Professional Library at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, for sharing her experiences with us.

Rules are essential for any complicated venture--from the rules of children playing neighborhood games to rules of the road. It makes it clearer to all involved when the rules are written down. So these following principles are presented in the hopes of helping others to achieve a successful automation project.

First rule is PLAN AHEAD. For 10 years we had been planning! In that time plans had changed frequently and significantly as hardware, software, and staffing patterns had altered. One of the last set of plans was modified to accommodate a three year implementation for such a large capital budget expenditure. Even those plans laid idle for awhile. Then the decision was made to go ahead with it all, NOW, immediately, and we had two weeks to check plans, make phone calls, define all specifications and get all compatibility problems worked out.

Second rule is INSTALL IN AN OLD BUILDING. Our library is housed in a sturdily constructed building from the 1920s. Walls are brick, cement, and plaster on lathe. Floors are concrete and terrazzo 16" thick. A remodeling project in the 1960s added a suspended ceiling which helped with some of the wiring routes, but opening a suspended ceiling in an old building causes showers of black dust on everything, so clear plastic was provided to cover the staff desks. …

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