Introducing and Managing Academic Library Automation Projects

By John W. Head; Gerard B. McCabe | Go to book overview

11

Analysis and Maintenance of Database Integrity

Cassandra Brush

‘‘Library automation’’ is a somewhat misleading phrase. The library itself, the building, the shelves, the various circulating and noncirculating materials are not what’s being automated. Many library staff are currently involved with the automation of the various processes and tasks that comprise the functional structure of the system that is the library. We implement modules of systems that have offline antecedents. The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) has the card catalog as its antecedent, just as circulation, serials check-in, acquisitions, and technical services have their offline, paper-file antecedents. Transition from an offline to an online environment requires careful establishment of parameters. Parameters for consideration include the following three: lines of reporting as they exist prior to automation as well as changes that can be anticipated with the advent of automation; a rationale for the order of implementation of the various modules that make up the system; and consideration of procedures that will not be automated and whether they will remain within the department of their origin. Comprehension of the natural specialization that occurs within the library will facilitate useful change. Technology is changing so rapidly that it is often necessary to incorporate aspects of technologies not fully understood in order to implement them when they are needed. Software is designed to be user-friendly and transparent. The problem with transparency is that while the functionality may be transparent, the method and underlying structure is often opaque. This chapter will discuss the identification and resolution of errors in an OPAC. Topics of discussion will include union catalogs, offsite conversion,

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