Saturday, May 28, 2011
The LINKcat Upgrade: As one of my colleagues affirmed to me, "Retirement was the right choice"
Malfunctions bug library database, (Stoughton Courier Hub, 5/17/2011)
Excerpt: The library’s new catalog system is causing headaches for users, and nobody seems to know when it will be fixed.
All but 10 of the 52 libraries in the South Central Library Systems last month installed an upgrade to the Web-based LinkCat system that patrons use to search for books. The new software, known as Koha, is a massive database that also controls self-checkouts and other internal library operations.
Users have had problems with holds, searching for items and self-checkout devices. Software developers have been working since it was launched April 18 to figure out the cause of the problems and how to fix them.
SCLS marketing director Mark Ibach said the group held a meeting Tuesday with Maryland-based Progressive Technology Federal Systems, Inc. (PTFS) to discuss the project and the setbacks.
“The priority right now is those things that are critical issues,” Ibach said, referring to the problems patrons are having. “In terms of how long it will take, we really can’t say at this point – we know it won’t be next week.”
Ibach said other libraries around the country use the open-source program, but SCLS is the first major system to use it. Part of the challenge, he said, is to get libraries with different hardware and different operating procedures to function on the new system. He said the library system tested the software before the launch, but different issues have come up since then.
“It’s one thing to do testing on a certain part of it and say, ‘Yes, it works,’” Ibach said. “It’s another to put it out in 42 different libraries.”
Stoughton Public Library director Richard MacDonald said the library has been receiving complaints about minor glitches in the system since it went live. The problems, he said, usually fall into three categories: things that don’t work properly, things that don’t work the way people expect and things that don’t do what the user wants it to do.