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Key Notes Blog

Bringing you weekly posts on conference planning, happenings at Keystone, or how better to put KLAS to work for you!

Holiday Celebrations at Keystone

We thought you might enjoy some photos of our holiday decor and staff celebrations here at the office.

This is Keystone's 2018 lobby Christmas tree. It greets all the visitors who come to our front door.

2018 Keystone Lobby Christmas Tree

Here we are gathered around the table enjoying our office holiday potluck lunch. After we eat lunch, we enjoy a cutthroat Dirty Santa gift exchange. The presents piled in the middle of the table are just waiting for us to draw numbers and start the game.

IMG 7489

For more pictures check out the 2018 Holiday Celebrations photo album on Keystone's Facebook page.

The Stars of Keystone's Staff - John O

The snow has melted, the Holidays are rapidly approaching, and it's time for another post in our "Stars of Keystone's Staff" series. Each will include some basic info and insight into one of our staff members. We hope these posts will provide you a look into who makes up our diverse, supportive, and knowledgeable staff.

"The Stars of Keystone's Staff" written on a field of stars


Basic Stats:

Name of Staff Member: John Owen

Year Hired: August 2002

Current Job Title: Senior Support Analyst

John and Laura in Prague

Read more: The Stars of Keystone's Staff - John O

What We’re Working On

Hello, KLASusers! As we start looking towards the Holidays, I thought this might be a good time to check in with the developers and let you all know where we stand with the big projects that we know you all have on your Christmas Wishlists.

KLAS 7.7 is coming!

I know we’ve been talking about this one for a while now. This is a huge update that impacts every part of KLAS, so getting all the last pieces and touch-ups and testing in place has been a big project for us. Additionally, as hosted customers are upgraded to version 7.7, they will be migrated to our new server.

It’s important to keep our hosting stable, speedy, and secure for you, so we put a lot of work into getting the new server ready for you. It’ll be faster, more secure than ever, and uses a new method for rapid recovery to a backup server in case of failure.

I will be hosting a webinar to take a closer look at 7.7 later this month, but some of the improvements will include:

  • Structural, back-end changes. While these won’t be visible to you at all, we expect them to improve performance and free up some system resources.
  • UTF-8 support. This essentially extends KLAS’ character set, allowing for better handling of diacritics and other “special characters.”
  • New installer. This will usually remove the need for admin access to install or update, make installation and updates easier, and enhance security. It’s a win-win-win!
  • A new method of connecting to the database server. We are implementing PASOE, which will eliminate the need for OpenVPN and reduce or eliminate lost connections due to network drops.
  • APH Census improvements. More back-end changes, this time to how and where APH data is stored. These standardizations will improve our ability to support various options for keeping up with the annual APH Census and ensure accurate, reliable reporting.
  • SCRIBE! High-capacity PCC duplication using Scribe will be fully-functional. This will include the brand-new Service Queue Tab, the ability to include firmware updates and newsletters on all duplicated cartridges, and other upgrades to ensure a flexible and sustainable workflow.

This update will go Live for a limited release in January.

We need this to be a limited release because of the new server and the sweeping back-end changes. In the (unlikely, but possible) event that something goes sideways, it’ll be better for everyone if we can fix a few databases and get the others right from the start, instead of needing to scramble to get a fix in fast for everyone.

We expect to open the doors for everyone in February.

What about Gutenberg?

Don’t worry—this hasn’t fallen by the wayside. As announced this summer, we’re building on our work for Scribe to integrate with NLS’ Gutenberg as well. In fact, we’re nearly finished!

Gutenberg support will be included in the next update after 7.7, and the rollout should follow close behind the main release.

While we’re making good use of North Carolina’s robust testing of our new systems and workflows, we’ll need some extended testing on Gutenberg specifically. We know a lot of you are eager to get on this as quickly as possible, but we also don’t want to set you up on something that doesn’t quite work. We’re balancing speed and prudence, and expect to put this out on limited release in February.

Future Updates?

With the big structural changes and server swap all taken care of, we expect our release schedule to pick back up following the 7.7 release. We have a lot of updates and improvements on our to-do lists, and are eager to get them out to you.

If you have requests for anything to add to our list, or want to make sure we prioritize something you’ve been waiting on, please add it to the KLAS Development Suggestions forum! Posting there will ensure that your suggestion or request is seen by the KLAS Development Advisory Committee (KDAC), who will help us evaluate how valuable it would be to other Users. It also ensures that we have a written record of what people are interested in, which can easily be referred back to or passed among the developers.

We can’t wait to start 2019 off right with some fantastic new features! Thank you all for your continued support, and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Keystone!

A Snowy Day in Raleigh

For this week's blog post, we thought you'd enjoy some of our staff's photos of the snow we got in Raleigh over the last couple of days.

Let's start with a .gif of Katy's cat Paws watching the snowfall through the sliding glass door of her townhouse.


Read more: A Snowy Day in Raleigh

Notes From The Scribe - November 2018

Hi all,

Here’s the Notes from The Scribe for November 2018.

This will be a shorter version. This month we played around testing some limits of the system itself and some improvements to our own processes as we get ready to roll out this service in full. The library’s Duplication on Demand Committee has met twice and we are shaping how our service will work moving forward with this exciting offering. Let’s go over some brief highlights since I last updated you all.

In November we finally put all staff on to the service as a test group so that we could run larger batches of duplication jobs. What we discovered with this process is that The Scribe is up to the task (so far). The speed of duplication whether you are copying one cartridge or 12 doesn’t really change much. In our sample, one cartridge typically takes 3.5 minutes to put 5 books on one cartridge and 4.5 minutes to put 5 books onto 12 cartridges at the same time, in 2 different locations. I say 12 because that’s all the staff we had up on the system at the time we started the tests. We still need to run the remaining cards for the rest of staff (13 more people) and put together cartridge sets. Once we have that we will look at 15 at a time. We do note that there seems to be a kind of sleep mode from starting out the day running this. There is a little delay when you start up first thing and put everything in motion, which isn’t as pronounced the rest of the time. As we go forward and the units run more throughout the day we will see how this pans out. But if you want to run 12 cartridges (patron orders) at the same time, this device does that well.

The next phase will be to run all cartridge slots on both units at the same time. This should happen in the next week or so once we get all staff setup.

Another thing of major note, the committee decided that rather than calling the service Patron-Centric Cartridge or PCC service, we have adopted the name Books on Demand or BOD. The group decided that this would be easier for the patrons to understand. The term Patron-Centric Cartridge is meaningless from a patron standpoint. The method behind how those books (and magazines) are served doesn’t matter to the patron. While this is a PCC type of Duplication on Demand Service we will refer to it as Books on Demand or BOD for simplicity. Also this leaves open the option of using other types of delivery for patron reading materials.

One final note, a group of 15-20 patrons will begin pilot testing the system in mid-December. We have worked out most of the kinks in the system, but the next step is patron feedback that we’ll get so we can fine tune some things. The hope is to move beyond the pilot by mid-January and roll things forward. We think we’re on target for that to happen. As we say around here "this is getting real".

Here are some photos of this month's testing of more cartridges (patron orders) at the same time on a larger scale.

Read more: Notes From The Scribe - November 2018