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"Hot off the Press" is blog series from guest blogger, Teresa Kalber. Teresa is the Network Systems Administrator at Colorado Talking Book Library. In this series, she will be shares her library's experience being one of the first two KLAS libraries to implement NLS' Gutenberg equipment.

Hot off the Press

The first two posts in the series are here:

Hot off the Press: Part 3, The Pilot

We received our equipment on a Friday and got everything working on the following Monday. Even though we had the system working on Sept. 23rd, we didn’t do any testing until I returned to the office on Sept. 30th.

When the Gutenberg system is first installed, it is operating in “sandbox” mode and is connected to the preview database for KLAS. We tried to push through a few orders for staff from the preview database, but they weren’t being copied onto cartridges. It was finally determined that KLAS and Gutenberg weren’t syncing with each other so the orders weren’t getting processed. Once Keystone restarted the syncing process, the orders came through. So on Oct. 2nd, we switched from sandbox to production mode so we could really test the system by starting the pilot.

 

We began the pilot with 50 existing patrons. For the existing patrons, we decided we would send out 2 cartridges with 3 books on them so we could get them back during the month long pilot and test the return part of the system too. We also made the decision to not send books out to new patrons about a week before we started the pilot. So since the end of September, all the new patrons have been put on the duplication model. New patrons were set-up to receive 3 cartridges with 10 books each on them.

On Oct. 3rd, we sent out our first 76 DoD cartridges! Yay!

The most consistent problem we noticed in the first few weeks of running Gutenberg was that daily KLAS and Gutenberg would stop syncing and we’d have to contact Keystone to restart the process. Because the problem was so consistent they wrote a temporary fix to automatically restart the service each morning to try to help with the process. Within 2 weeks of starting the pilot the problem has been solved and a fix applied during an update of KLAS.

We also had problems with serving walk-in patrons due to the time it would take to process an order. At first, Keystone and Gutenberg were only syncing every 15 minutes. So we would place an order and potentially have to wait up to 15 minutes to see if the order synced or not. If it didn’t sync and we needed to contact Keystone to restart the service, another 15 minutes would pass. Many times we would just pull individual books from the shelves and check them out using front desk since we are unable to assign books to a duplication patron. However, I believe the sync times have been cut down and we don’t usually have problems serving walk-ins now. An order for a walk-in patron, will be sent fairly quickly, even if we are still in the midst of making cartridges for the day. So mailroom staff have to check mail cards as they scan each completed cartridge to look for the walk-in patron’s order.

A big learning curve came in how to best figure out how to set the nightly settings for DoD, since it works a little differently than it did before. When I would call Nancy, she would tell me “theoretically” it should work this way. I had to just make adjustments and then see what happened afterwards. Luckily our pilot patrons were very understanding during the process.

Other minor problem we encountered (that have all been fixed now):

  • Service queue was adding all the books in a series, even if the patron had already had them before.
  • Service queue was adding oldest books from request list, when we had the system set to add the newest books first.
  • KLAS would allow orders larger than 4GB, which would then sit on Gutenberg since we didn’t have a cartridge big enough to copy the order
  • Duplication orders were still being processed for patrons with a block on their account.

On Oct. 22nd, we participated in a conference with NLS, Keystone and Georgia to discuss how we felt things were going with our pilots. Both of us agreed that there were some minor problems, but nothing to prevent us from moving forward with beginning to convert the rest of our patrons over to DoD. We decided to start the conversion process at the beginning of November with the goal of being completely done with the conversion by the end of the year.

Statistics for our pilot (10/3 – 11/1):

  • 644 cartridges sent out
  • 192 patrons on DoD
  • 91 cartridges returned

Up next: Converting existing patrons