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  • 2019 Year in Review

    2019 Year in Review

    I don’t know about you, but when I stop and look back at how far we’ve come since January, how my goals and focus have shifted to keep up with your needs and all of our new developments...it’s been a long year!

    KLAS Version 7.7

    The new version of KLAS is a major update, with some big changes on the back-end, high-volume Duplication on Demand support, and a rapid “Agile” development cycle.

    The Beta deployment of 7.7 to North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the beginning of the year allowed us to track down and fix a ton of issues -- all while getting Gutenberg integration in place and developing the new deployment processes. We were finally able to start bringing more libraries on board in May, and are now working on bringing our IRC/IMCs up on the new system as well.

    All but three Keystone-Hosted libraries now have at least a 7.7 Preview database, we’re making steady progress on self-hosted libraries, and we’ve begun work on the Perkins National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (PNDB)’s database as well as our first 7.7 IRCs!

    It has been a long road, but we’re now well on our way to a full conversion to 7.7. Development for the new version has been rolling along beautifully all the way up to our current version, 7.7.20.

    New Features

    There have been too many New Features over the past year to name, but here are some highlights:

    • The new installation and upgrade processes reduce or eliminate the need for admin access, IT assistance, and multiple downloads.
    • KLAS can now handle the extended UTF8 character set, including more diacritics.
    • HTTPS encryption replaces VPNs to keep your data secure while allowing a more streamlined installation.
    • eCommerce Integration is now available.
    • The Merge Query Function has been added to the Patron and Catalog modules, allowing you to do more with queries than ever.
    • The ability to Query on Patron Subscription information is now available in Patron.
    • The Apply / Remove Headings to Query Set tool allows you to update Subjects or other Headings on a batch of Titles all at once.
    • The Batch Update Patron Medium tool allows you to apply Profile changes to a batch of Patrons.
    • You can now print eDocs from the Shipping Wizard.

    And that doesn’t include the numerous new features implemented to support Duplication on Demand!

    Duplication on Demand

    As those who’ve used or are still using the original PCC workflow know: it’s a very hands-on process and unfortunately prone to errors.

    The new Duplication workflows, which leverage a dedicated appliance such as a Scribe or Gutenberg, were designed to shift as much of the work as possible from library staff and external programs back to KLAS itself. A complete conversion to Duplication on Demand, rather than just using DoD or PCC as a supplement to traditional circulation, is a huge paradigm shift which necessitated some trial-and-error -- and a whole lot of development.

    We found it necessary strike a balance between updating and re-using old processes (like mail card batches and the nightly programs now used to refill Service Queues), completely new programming, and everything in-between.

    We are very pleased that we now have four libraries actively using Scribe (with a fifth being brought online this month) and two live on Gutenberg!

    The duplication workflows continue to be refined as we receive feedback from our pioneering libraries including the new KLAS screens (such as the Service Queue and Duplication Order tabs), the duplication appliances, and all of the communications in-between that make it all work.

    KLAS Users’ Conference 2019 and More!

    In early June, the Palm Beach County Talking Books Service and the Friends of the Palm Beach County Library hosted the 2019 KLAS Users' Conference in West Palm Beach, FL. It was a great opportunity to work with some of you in person during a hands-on pre-conference, a variety of Keystone- and user-led sessions, and even a duplication Petting Zoo where we demonstrated the workflows of both the Scribe and Gutenberg.

    However, as we head into the off-year between conferences that doesn’t mean there aren’t any opportunities to learn more about KLAS or network with your fellow users. We introduced a variety of other opportunities this year -- from Q&A Webinars to an IRC Symposium. Thanks to all your positive feedback, we’ll be offering even more things like this next year as well!

    KLASusers.com Content

    Finally, we’ve made a significant effort in the last year to be more proactive in communicating what’s happening at Keystone and with KLAS. We hope you’ve found it beneficial even when we’re racking our brains trying to come up with yet another blog post topic or forum tip. So, if there’s something you’d like to have us cover in a webinar, a blog post, or a discussion forum tip please let us know.

    In sum, it has been an amazing (and busy, and sometimes difficult, and ultimately rewarding) year, and I am looking forward to discovering what 2020 will bring.

  • 8/19/21 KLAS New Features Webinar

    Save the Date! On Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 3 PM ET / Noon PT Katy will host our next KLAS New Features webinar.

    We were so excited with the attendance at the 2021 KLAS Users' Conference last month and wanted to make sure as many of y'all as possible join us for our upcoming live webinar, so here ya go! Below is all the relevant info. We hope you'll be able to join us!

    SAVE THE DATE for our next KLAS New Features webinar!

    Who: Any and Every KLAS User! We'll be covering the latest new features and functionality for our IRC, LBPD, and others. 

    What: KLAS New Features Webinar

    When: 3 PM Eastern / Noon Pacific Thursday, August 19

    Where: Keystone's Google Meet

    Meeting link: https://meet.google.com/yhp-whfr-tyf
    Dial-in for audio: +1 662-547-1247‬ PIN: ‪316 831 303‬#
    More phone numbers: https://tel.meet/yhp-whfr-tyf?pin=2972669584815

    If you have any questions you'd like us to answer, or other input please feel free to comment on this article, post on the discussion forums, or send us an email. To receive a calendar invite, please send an email to  Drea () with your request. This webinar will be recorded and posted to klasusers.com for later review. 

    Save the Date! On Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 3 PM ET / Noon PT Katy will host our next KLAS New Features webinar.

  • A look at the KLAS roadmap

    A roadmap with a red push pin placed at the point of two divergent routes.

    KLAS v7.8 is coming!A roadmap with a red push pin placed at the point of two divergent routes.

    After two years of small updates, we’re really close to bidding farewell to KLAS v7.7 and rolling over to v7.8. This will not be a big change at all from your perspective, but I want to give you a heads-up about what’s coming and why.

    The first KLAS v7.8 release will likely include other fixes and improvements, but the update triggering the version change should be completely invisible. That update is to Open Edge (OE), the framework and programming language we use to build the KLAS interface. The new version of OE will provide us access to new options for programming KLAS, keep us up to date and allow us to get any bug fixes on that end of things. However, nothing should change to the look and feel of KLAS. How it runs, what is available for users, and how we support it will all remain the same.

    To make sure the update to the back-end doesn’t introduce any problems on the front-end, we’ll be doing a lot of rigorous testing. We’ll also rely on feedback from our Early Release customers even more than usual so we can be sure we haven’t missed anything. Fortunately, we do not anticipate any changes or problems. This won’t be a major conversion (like the one from 7.6 to 7.7), just a big update. 

    So, in short, v7.8 will be an update for us, but not any different for you. Don’t worry, we’ll keep those bi-weekly small updates coming with all the bug fixes, improvements, and new features we can squeeze into them.

    So... whatever happened to v.8?

    If you attended the 2018 KLAS Users’ Conference in Idaho, you probably remember testing our prototype user interface for the web-based KLAS v.8. It’s something that we and you were really excited about, so it makes sense that we get questions about it on occasion.

    For quite a while, we didn’t have much to say. That’s because, right after the 2018 conference, we realized just how big the need was to get Duplication on Demand up and running at full scale ASAP. We shifted gears pretty hard, switching our attention to: taking Scribe from a proof-of-concept to a fully-realized appliance capable of supporting a library’s full circulation; getting Gutenberg integration in place; and building screens, workflows, and features to support this whole new approach to service.

    Additionally, we needed to keep up with the development needs of our IRC/IMC customers, bring new customers online, and keep everything else running. That “keep everything else running” was complicated by the deployment of 7.7 and all the development needed to support it, and a massive server crash that prompted our migration to all cloud hosting.

    Unfortunately, the pivot to duplication ate up the time and resources we’d hoped to devote to KLAS v.8. But there’s is good news! With Duplication on Demand finally getting to be as robust and fully-featured as we envisioned, and the needs of our IRC / IMCs lining up with some things we needed to do anyways... we’re finally able to provide an update: we are at work on the foundations of v.8!

    To be clear, it’s still a very long road ahead. Building an entirely new UI (informed by the prototypes and user testing from 2018, and everything new we’ve added to KLAS since) is a huge undertaking requiring a lot of development resources. However, the other major task will be the need for the UI to communicate with the database storing all of your information by way of APIs. Finally, the APIs needed to be built and implemented so that they allow existing programs in KLAS to function alongside any user interface we build moving forward—we know from painful experience that we can’t rebuild all of KLAS at once and release an entirely new interface with everything you need ready and working on day 1.

    We’re excited to say this key building block, the suite of APIs that will provide the machine-to-machine communications needed for v.8 to function, is now underway!

    You may have noticed these APIs cropping up in Release Lists this year, and more are coming. For now, IRCs that maintain student data, orders, and catalog info in more than one system are using and will be using these APIs to integrate with third party systems, but the beauty of APIs is that once they are in place, any compatible system can use them.  The programming we’re doing now to integrate with other systems will be the thing that allows us to integrate with the browser-based KLAS v.8 in the future (while still allowing the v.7 interface to be used during the transition).

    How long will this take? It’s really hard to say. It ultimately depends on what other development is needed, what new needs crop up which we haven’t anticipated, and what resources open up for us to take this on. But getting the APIs in place is incredibly important foundational work, and we’re really excited to finally get them on the front burner and in progress.

  • A New & Improved klas.com

    A New & Improved klas.com

    In March of this year, Katy and I undertook a rather large project that we're now happy to see come to fruition. For the past few years, we've been discussing updating the look and feel of Keystone's website with the goal of creating something more modern, with some additional features, but still maintaining our commitment to providing info on an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate site. To help us with this endeavor, we chose to work with Alison Meeks of AM Graphix. We're excited to say that as of yesterday, the new and improved klas.com is now live!

    The content we previously provided is still available, but we hope we've enhanced it and made it all easier to find. One of the great new features we added for current KLAS Users is the ability to submit a "Support" request from any page on the site using the "Support" button in the right-hand corner. Also, the whole site is mobile-friendly and responsive to the size of your browser window.

    Below are some additional screenshots of the shiny, new klas.com. We invite you to spend some time checking it out!

    The Current Customer OPACs page has been updated to a modern, graphical style, showcasing the logo of each library or organization in addition to the text name. It has also been broken into new sections: Featured, Talking Book Libraries, and Instructional Resource Centers. (Note: Prefer a text-only approach? We've added that version of the list to the KLASusers.com menu!)

     Screen Shot 2020 07 28 at 11.46.53 AM

     

    The Products and Services: Scribe Duplication System page is new! It includes information about the Scribe, as well as some photos.

     Screen Shot 2020 07 28 at 11.45.45 AM

     

    We've included some new testimonials from KLAS users on the home page. Thank you to everyone who provided a quote for us--we appreciate your kind words and support!

    Screen Shot 2020 07 28 at 11.43.35 AM

     

    Finally, this is and will be an ongoing effort. Now that the new look and new organization is in place, we have plans to edit much of the content, so we'd love to hear your feedback!

     

  • A new way to Meet

    A new way to Meet

    A couple of years ago now, we started offering webinars to help keep the Users’ Group informed and connected, from the open forum KLAS Q&A with Katy webinars to library-specific Duplication training webinars. As we transition to an every-other-year conference format, we’ve ramped up the webinar schedule, including user-led sessions and roundtables in addition to our Keystone-presented sessions.

    COVID has only increased the need and popularity of these sessions—and not just for us, but for everyone who uses webinar platforms.

    For most of the past few years, we’ve been using Join.Me and had mostly positive experiences and feedback for its ease-of-use and reliability. However, with offering so many more webinars to a broader selection of our users, and with Join.Me’s servers a bit bogged down from increased use, there was a definite shift.

    This was particularly apparent in the Keystone Updates and New Features in KLAS sessions that we held in place of our usual Users’ Group meeting during the online NLS conference. The turnout for those sessions was fantastic, but unfortunately caused a few technical issues as our platform and our moderator struggled to keep up with the turnout.

    In light of all that, we started the search for a replacement.

    This month, we are officially making the switch to Google Meet. From our testing in-house and with a few pilot meetings, we’re confident that it will be easier for us as hosts, and will see a lot less of the lag that was plaguing our attendees.

    It also has some features that we think will prove beneficial, including automatic captioning, and the ability to show attendees’ webcams in a tiled display for a better “round-table” feel. You’ll be able to enable or disable the captioning and change views any time to suit your preferences, so give it a try!

    You do not need a Google account to join us using Meet! However, if you are logged into a Google account, it’ll automatically bring you into the meeting with that account name. If you don’t want your personal or otherwise irrelevant Gmail name visible make sure to log out or switch accounts before joining the meeting.

    We hope you’ll try it out and join us at the upcoming Virtual Programming roundtable this Thursday or at one of our other upcoming webinar sessions! Hopefully, this will be an improvement for everyone who had technical difficulties or bandwidth issues with Join.Me. If you do have any feedback about the new platform or difficulties joining a session, please let us know as we keep working to provide excellent online sessions!

  • A Note from James, plus Tips & Tricks part III

    A Note from James, plus Tips & Tricks part III

    First, we'd like to share a note with you from James Burts, Keystone Executive Vice President,

    "Dealing with the new realities of Covid-19 has certainly been a very strange time. At Keystone, we began having staff wanting to work from home and self-isolate on March 12th, and over the following 2 weeks had increasing numbers of staff opting to work from home. As of March 30th, our local county mandated that we all self-isolate and work from home. I certainly hope you’ve not seen a change in our ability to support you all.

    Fortunately, we’d already taken the steps necessary to allow all our staff to work from home effectively— steps we’d taken expecting that it would help us in the event of a snowstorm or hurricane that made roads unsafe. Instead, the road are nearly empty, but it’s simply getting people together that’s unsafe. Who would have thought??

    We continue to be available to help you and your staff in anyway we can. Whether that’s helping create new workflows to quarantine materials, or helping your staff work on record cleanup while they are working from home without access to your collection— we are here for you all. We have provided some ideas for managing these strange times on KlasUsers.com, and are always interested in hearing other ideas you may have. If you have any questions, or any ideas that you would like to implement, please reach out to us. We’ll be happy to help talk through your thoughts, and help address your needs."

    Next up, as part of our ongoing work to support you, a few more tips and tricks, this time for:

    1. Strategies for serving patrons when you have a restricted card run
    2. Blocking service to prisons or other institutions

    Or you can follow these links for our previous suggestions:

    • How can you connect to KLAS if you use a Mac?
    • How can I quickly increase the number of books we're sending our patrons and / or titles we're duplicating onto a cartridge for them?
    • Do I need to shut off Nightly?
    • WebOPAC Notice
    • Emailing your newsletter
    • Record clean-up

    Tip 1:

    Strategies for serving patrons when you have a restricted card run.

    Nightly sorts patrons that need service by:

    1. Serve Code (least frequent to most frequent, with List Only ahead of Autoselect)
    2. Last Served date (none to oldest to most recent)

    This gives priority to patrons who haven’t been served for a while, and gives List Only patrons a better chance of getting their titles before they go out to Autoselect patrons. Under normal circumstances, this setup ensures that everyone will be served in a reasonable timeframe, even if you restrict your card run and don’t get to everyone who needs service each day.

    However, these are not normal circumstances. If you’re currently running on a skeleton crew and severely limited card run, your Nightly Auto patrons might languish at the end of the list.

    While these circumstances are in place, or even when the floodgates re-open and you need to play catch-up, you may want to switch up this order from time to time. If you would like to change up the order of the Nightly sort to give different patrons a shot at getting books, please contact Keystone Customer Support—and then be sure to let us know when we should put it back.

    Tip 2:

    Blocking service to prisons or other institutions:

    If your Department of Corrections requires that service is suspended during this time, we can apply a block to all inmates for you. This will stop all circulation to those patrons for a specified period of time, though it does not impact their NLS direct magazines. Please let us know how to identify incarcerated patrons (such as by Patron Type), and how long you need the block to remain in place.

    If a nursing home or other facility requests that you stop service to their patrons, you can apply a similar block. You would first need to set up a "Quarantine" block (let us know if you need assistance). Then, find the patrons who live in that place and add the block to each record. If you don't already have relationships set up linking the patrons to the facility, you can find them by querying on the address.

    Quick Search –

    • Main Status | Equals | A
    • City | Equals | Raleigh

    Advanced Search –

    • Address | Street Address | Matches | 8016 Glenwood

    This query will limit your results to active records in the target city, with an address matching the facility’s street address. The idea is to be just specific enough, hence why I recommend searching the street address only for the number and street name. If it isn’t a common street, you might even leave off the number, and review results to see if the facility has multiple buildings.


    And that's it for this week's tips! We hope these have been helpful for you; please continue to let us know how we can help!

  • Connecting with KLASusers

    Connecting with KLASusers

    Prior to the 2019 KLAS Users' Conference, Katy and I received a request to present about the different ways we send out communications and what platforms are available to users to share info with one another. On Thursday morning at the conference, we shared our "Connecting with KLASusers" presentation on this topic... and we decided to use the presentation as an opportunity to learn just what folks in the audience knew about our communications platforms and efforts.

    Connecting with KLASusersThe agenda of the presentation started with klasusers.com, including the Key Notes blog, various resources on the site, as well as some tips and tricks on navigating the discussion forums. We then took some time to discuss the KLASusers e-list and share info about Keystone's social media presence.

    Also, during the course of the presentation, we had anyone who wished to participate answer questions in a live poll. It was very interesting to see how many folks were and were not aware of who usually writes our Key Notes blog post and what kind of content they wanted to see more of. (And of course, we couldn't help but have a little fun with it.)

     Connecting with KLASusers

    This week we wanted to share the presentation for those who were not at the conference so they have the opportunity to learn about all the different ways we try to share tips, ask questions, and share the latest news about KLAS. Also, we want you to know what communications channels are available to you as a user and how to make sure you're not missing out on important info. You can access the PowerPoint via the below link.

    • Connecting with KLASUsers.com - PowerPoint

     

    Another great resource to learn about how to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, forum discussions, etc. is the "Tips for dealing with klasusers.com FOMO" Key Notes blog from March of 2018 which including how to subscribe to specific discussion forum threads or categories, "favorite" forum topics, and the best way to find the latest Key Notes blog post and forum posts.

     Connecting with KLASusers

    Please be sure to let us know if you have questions about these resources and / or how to use them.

  • Downtime Update

    Downtime Update

    What a week!...and it’s only Tuesday.

    As I’m sure all of you know, one of our servers decided that 2020 was just too much for it and bit the dust on Monday morning. Our 7.7 customers dodged the worst of it--we’ve been moving everyone to newer servers as they migrate to the new version--and have seen little disruption. Unfortunately, the rest of you have had significant downtime, and we apologize.

    We attempted to resuscitate the server without success. At that point, our disaster recovery procedures went into effect: backups were recovered and our valiant IT and Dev team spent the rest of the day and night porting them to a new cloud server and getting everything rebuilt. Since then, we’ve been working with everyone to get VPNs pointing to the new server location, correcting settings to restore printing and reports, and doing a whole lot of troubleshooting. (All while Nancy is also running an Administrators Training.)

    Up next: finish getting all the WebOPACs and WebOrder systems back online and functioning normally.

    So, while we know this process hasn’t gone as quickly as hoped, please be assured that we are doing everything we can to get you back in business ASAP. Thank you all for your patience and assistance!

  • Duplication Supplies

    Interested in moving to a Duplication on Demand service model, but not sure how you’ll get enough cartridges and other supplies? There’s help available! NLS is offering supplies to all network libraries that are willing to transition to zero copy allotment--whether they plan to implement Gutenberg or Scribe.

    Many of you have already heard about this and some have already put in their request, but please read on anyway—we’ve worked with NLS to make sure we’re accurately covering all the important details.

    On top of that, we’ve developed a worksheet to help you plan your implementation process, including when you will need additional supplies.

    Just the Facts

    When you are ready, you can order from NLS:

    • Up to half of your total need for cartridges and containers.

    (Total need is calculated based on 5 cartridges per active audio patron, so half works out to 2.5 cartridges and cases per active patron.)

    • Pre-printed cartridge and container labels with your library information


    In return, you will need to work towards full duplication service. NLS expects libraries to zero out their copy allotment within 12 months of implementing duplication on demand.

    Good Stuff to Know

    Be aware that your supplies will arrive in one shipment on pallets. This is intended to be a lifetime supply, so please be prepared for a large shipment proportional to your patron base.

    The cartridges will have the standard “white cartridge” passphrase, and will need to be reset to the peach passphrase using the NLS device, or using the Repurpose mode of the Gutenberg.

    NLS encourages libraries to repurpose cartridges and containers from their existing collections to make up the other half of their need, and they can loan Scribe libraries a stand-alone device that will unlock white cartridges for re-use. The cartridge is then re-locked with the peach passphrase, so it will continue to be protected. (Check out our Thursday Tip on High-Capacity Cartridges for the trick to easily identify the best cartridges to keep for duplication.)

    Timelines

    NLS can only get so many supplies ordered and distributed per month. Currently, they are asking for two month’s lead time.

    Being clear about your timeline and need will help NLS prioritize orders, as will holding off on requesting supplies if they will not be needed soon. NLS will also ask Keystone to confirm that we have an “authorized commitment” to proceed and a clear implementation schedule in place, so please coordinate with us before you make your request for duplication supplies to NLS.

    To help you estimate when supplies will be needed, and in what amounts, we have developed the attached worksheet. Take advantage of our experience with several implementations, and have a look! Of course, we know you may still have questions or need more help making your estimates, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for assistance.

    Worksheet

    The attached questionnaire is intended to help guide you through planning your implementation of a Duplication service model using Scribe or Gutenberg, including generating estimates of supplies needed for the initial stages, specific goals, and action items.

    It will be most useful before contacting NLS to order supplies.

  • FYI for NLS Libraries - FY2020 Statistics

    FYI for NLS Libraries - FY2020 Statistics

    NLS has requested that we (and the other NLS providers) extract and submit some data for them to review. For each of our NLS Libraries, we will be providing NLS with the following statistical information on October 1.

    We will be generating these data files for NLS and submitting the information to NLS directly, so you don't need to do anything. We will also send a copy to each library, so you know what was sent to NLS and can review the data for your own information.

    Readership: a list of all patrons that received materials from the library during Fiscal Year 2020. The list will include the Patron PIMMS ID, whether they are marked Individual or Institution, and whether they received at least one of the following during FY 2020:

    • Digital Audio book
    • Hard Copy Braille book
    • E-Braille brook
    • or Network Library collection item

    Note that audio and hard copy braille readership activity includes both books circulated by the library and magazine subscriptions sent by NLS. Network library collections include large print books, descriptive videos, and local magazines. BARD download activity is not included, as NLS already has that information.

    Circulation: a count of all circulations this year broken out by library and by medium: Talking Books on Cartridge; Hard Copy Braille; and E-Braille on Cartridge. Circulation counts include counts for book/monograph circulation only. Local magazines/serials sent on cartridge are not part of these counts.

    Note that Audio circulations are a count of the number of titles sent on cartridge instead of the number of cartridges sent. Hard copy braille circulations count the number of volumes sent, e-braille is the number of titles sent.

    A note about the Readership & Circulation Report: Be aware that the number of people in the Readership list we provide to NLS probably will not match the total from your Readership & Circulation report. The R&C report total includes all accounts that you have updated that year, even if they did not receive something. With that in mind, if you have questions about how these lists do and do not line up with your R&C report, please let us know.

  • Guiding Us Forward

    Guiding Us Forward

    Our developers have been very busy lately, implementing Gutenberg, ironing out eCommerce, and gearing up to start converting IRC / IMC customers to version 7.7, among other things.

    But amidst all of that, we’re still listening for your feedback—and even relying on it more than ever!

    So here are a few notes on how you are helping guide us forward.

    1. KDAC (KLAS Development Advisory Committee


    KDAC has some new members! A big welcome to Sam Lundberg of New Mexico Talking Book Library and Shawn Lemieux of New York State Talking Book & Braille Library, and thank you so much for lending us some of your time!

    So, what goes on in a KDAC meeting? We spend a lot of the timesharing what we’ve been working on that month (making your KDAC representatives a great source of “insider information” about what we’ve been up to), as well as our plans and expectations about what’s coming up next. Through all of that, we’re listening to their feedback and taking notes about what they think of new features, what questions they think need to be addressed, and their suggestions on prioritization.

    We also frequently have questions for them: should we pursue Option A or Option B to fix a specific issue? How can we make this or that easier? If we did things this way, would that cause any problems for you?

    KDAC has been a big help in steering and refining our development, so I’m especially excited to find out what the new voices will bring to the table this year.

    (Want to learn more about KDAC, view a list of all current members, or review the new guidelines? It’s all in the KDAC Article.)

    2. Webinars & Other Non-Conference Stuff


    I’ve been happy to do several Q&A webinars with the Users’ Group, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback (thank you all so much!)... but I don’t want mine to be the only voice you hear.

    Are there topics you want to hear about, or something you’d like to share? Whether it’s a new initiative at your library, your experiences implementing Duplication on Demand, or a discussion focused on a specific area of KLAS (like Serials or Accounts), we want to hear your topic ideas!

    If you’d rather collaborate with another user or a Keystone expert, don’t hesitate to suggest it anyway; we’d be happy to help out or help you find someone who can.

    A very easy way to weigh in on all this is to fill out the 2019 KLAS Users' Conference Follow-up Survey! Yes, even if you didn’t attend the 2019 conference!

    If you’ve completed the survey and think of something new, or something that didn’t fit in the form, you are also very welcome to email us at Keystone or any of your Users’ Group officers, or you can post about it on the Discussion Forums.

    However you go about it, thank you for helping guide us and making KLAS and your Users’ Group better and better!

  • How's my Driving: Results!

    Now that we've been doing this for a year, it's been great to take a step back, look at how it's going, and figure out places where we need to make adjustments. You may have already noticed some format changes in the weekly wrap-ups, trying to make it quicker and easier to scan through these and quickly spot any topics you may want to read up on. I will also be re-doubling my efforts to bring you great technical content (how-to's and development updates), but first: a look at the survey results.

    First, I want to take a look at the question I felt had the most interesting responses! After the read more link, I'll go through the rest in order. (Note: questions are listed in heading 3 for easy browsing)

    Would you like to see comments or tips from your fellow users? How comfortable do you feel commenting on the forums?
    The second part of this question saw the full range or responses, from people who are confident and comfortable with replying, to those who are not at all. However: everyone who answered the first part of the question wanted to see tips or comments from other users!

    I would encourage all of you to keep that in mind... even if you feel like you're newer to KLAS or if you suspect your comment might be too basic or even wrong... your fellow users want to hear from you! I promise, if I spot something that could use some correction or clarification, I will provide the extra info with respect.

    Also, don't feel like you need to wait for me to post a topic that applies to you--you can post comments, tips, or questions any time, anywhere on the forums. They're here for you!

    Do you read Key Notes blog posts?

    • 45.8% OftenHow's my Driving: Results!
    • 33.3% Once / Occasionally
    • 12.5% Always
    • 8.3% Nope

    I think this is great! I'm so happy that so many of you are reading these posts often--and that others are dropping in occassionally for the topics that interest them.

    And to the devoted "always" readers: you're awesome. Thank you so much for trusting us with your time and following along with us. That's exactly how I hope for this to work.

    What are your favorite types of blog post?

    • 91.3% Technical content
    • 43.5% Users' Group content
    • 34.8% Behind-the-Scenes at Keystone

    We hear you! We will continue all types of content, but I will do my best to bring you the technical content you really, really want. And if there's a particular topic you want a "how-to" of or a feature you want a closer look at... let us know!

    Do you like having a new post each week or would you prefer less to keep up with?

    • 72.7% Weekly is good
    • 27.3% Weekly is too often

    I didn't know what to expect from these results, so I'm glad to hear our current format is working for most of you! For the rest: you have our blessing to skim the weekly wrap-ups and skip any weeks when you're too busy.

    What do you think of our Notes from the Scribe guest posts?

    • 57.1% Good, and I'd like to see more guest posts!How's my Driving: Results!
    • 23.8% Good, but I'm not interested in other guest posts.
    • 19% Not interested

    We're so glad most of you are enjoying these! We'll also look for other opportunities to put up a guest post now and then... but if they don't interest you, don't worry. Guest posts will remain an occassional thing, and they'll be clearly marked in the wrap-ups so you can skip them.

    Anything else you want us to know about the Key Notes Blog?
    (Any topic requests? pet peeves? guest post volunteers?)

    All of your comments are noted. In particular, I'd like to respond to one:

    "It would be nice to be able to comment directly to a blog post instead of going into the forums."

    I agree! Unfortunately, that is not something our current platform can do... but we will keep that feature in mind as we continue working to make this site more useful for you.

    Do you read the Thursday Forum Tips?

    • 70.8% Once / OccasionallyHow's my Driving: Results!
    • 12.5% Often
    • 8.3% Always
    • 8.3% Nope

    Very interesting! Since the tips are always short and sweet, I'd expected them to have a bigger following than the blog, but that doesn't quite seem to be the case!

    I will watch for opportunities to make the Thursday forum posts even better, but in the meantime, I hope you'll continue to drop in occasionally for the tips that interest you... and maybe let a co-worker know if you see one that applies to their job duties. I'd appreciate your help in getting this content to the people who will find it useful!

    Do you like weekly tips or would you prefer less to keep up with?

    • 73.9% Weekly is good
    • 26.1% Weekly is too often

    Fairly close to the results for the blog... seems like weekly is still good for now, but between the 26 percent who find this too often and fact that most people only read them occasionally, we may decide to post fewer tips in the future. If we do, I'll try to make them twice as good to make up for it ;)

    Have any of the tips encouraged you to try a new feature, change a setting, or do something differently in KLAS?

    • 52.2% Yes, one or twoHow's my Driving: Results!
    • 30.4% No
    • 17.4% Yes, several

    I thought this, along with the next question, might be a good metric for how useful the posts are. I'll be bearing the results in mind and thank you for the feedback.

    If you come across a tip in the future that leads you to try something new or change something up, please reply on the forum or drop me an email to let me know. I'd love, love, love to know which tips strike a chord!

    Have any of the tips prompted you to contact Customer Support for help or more information?

    • 56.5% No
    • 34.8% Yes, one or two
    • 8.7% Yes, several

    I'm sure Customer Support will be glad to hear I'm not inundating them as much as I could be! They're here any time you need them, but I will continue to strive to make things clear enough on their own that no additional help will be needed.

    Anything else you want us to know about forum tips? Any topic suggestions or questions?

    All comments are noted! To answer a couple questions:

    "I also worry that they get buried on the forums. Maybe cross-post to a separate place on the main menu next to the Key Notes Blog on the left?"

    Remember that you can always browse the forum by topic to check for any overlooked threads in areas that interest you--plus, you can subscribe to topics of interest, and hold onto the notification emails until you have time to follow up!

    I think a list of everything might get too long to be useful, but I will create a "best of" page to keep track of and direct people to Thursday Tips that I think will remain relevant for longer. Thanks for the suggestion, and watch for this coming up soon!

    "Are they moderated for content?"

    Individual posts are not moderated--they go up right away. That said, we do moderate user accounts (only people who are confirmed KLAS users have their accounts confirmed) and only logged-in users can post.

    Also, I am notified of everything posted to the forums and read it right away. I may occasionally move a post that I think belongs under a different topic, so that other users can find it easier, but I will never delete someone's comment (unless it is completely, objectively inappropriate, but I trust you all not to do that to me).

    What prompts you to read content on KLASusers.com?

    • 71.4% I read the Weekly Wrap-up email
    • 57.1% I check the site on occasion
    • 9.5% I read posts when a coworker or supervisor recommends them
    • 4.8% I subscribed to the forums I'm interested in
    • 4.8% I check the site regularly
    • 0% I use an RSS feed

    Looks like the wrap-up emails are working as intended! As I've said, we'll try to keep them easy to browse through so you can quickly spot topics that might interest you.

    I'm surprised that so few have subscribed to a forum... this is a fantasic and very easy feature that I'd encourage you to consider! If there are one or two topics on the forums that apply to you (maybe NLS and KLAS Core for administrators, Patron Services for RAs?) give it a try. You will receive a clearly marked email with anything that is posted to that forum. And if you decide later that you'd rather not get those emails, you can always un-subscribe.

    Conclusion

    Anyways, thank you again for your time! I do think this will help us make this site and our other communications better and better. Also, I hope you will all feel free to contact me any time you have requests or specific feedback.

    Here's to another great year and to making KLASusers.com the great resource you all deserve!

  • How's My Driving?

    How's My Driving?

    Happy New Year!

    I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's already 2019! For me, that doesn't just mean another resolution to fold my laundry right away, or the end of the holiday baking season (though I will miss all those Christmas cookies). It means we're closing in on the first anniversary of the Key Notes Blog and Thursday Forum Tips!

    That's right, we've been doing this every week since last February! To help us review how it's going and adjust course as needed, we put together a quick survey for you. It's only 12 questions long and will be open through the end of the month.

    Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated! I'm doing this for all of you, so please chime in to let us know how it's going!

    (This survey is closed.)

  • Important Coronavirus Info

    Important Coronavirus Info

    As efforts to slow the spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 ramp up, we wanted to share some info with you all:

    1) Keystone Support will still be available


    We are prepared to work from home if needed, and currently have no plans to close or restrict hours.

    2) Working from home with KLAS


    Working from home can't help you keep up with circulation during closures, but letting Reader Advisors (and other staff who do their jobs only or primarily in KLAS) work from home is easy with v7.7.

    Because KLAS v7.7 secures your connection with seamless HTTPS instead of a VPN, Keystone-Hosted users can connect from anywhere. So long as your staff have access to home internet, they can take KLAS home with them. It will just work--no VPN or additional set-up required.

    If you are still on Keystone-hosted version 7.6, you can connect from home using the instructions we gave after recovering from the SAN failure. No special VPN required, just the correct version of the OpenVPN software. If you need us to re-send instructions, let us know.

    For Self-Hosted users, additional set-up may be needed to connect to your servers off-site. For 7.7, we should be able to create an activation key that will allow remote access. For 7.6, start with your own IT, and let them know that we're here to assist if needed.

    Finally, if you have reduced staff handling your mail, we have strategies in this Forum Post: Short Staffed? Strategies to keep up.

    3) Quarantined Inventory


    If you need to quarantine returned books or other inventory from some or all of your patrons, contact Customer Support.
    We can help you set up an addition circulation status (NAC:QTN), allowing you to track what inventory is currently set aside to allow any contamination to die off. If you find other measures are called for, we can discuss your needs and help you determine the best strategy.

    In short, please know that we are here to support you and any efforts you are taking to stay healthy and protect your patrons.

  • Information Round-up

    Information Round-up

    We’ve got some new information up for you this week! Let’s have a look...

    1. Release Lists


    As the v7.7 rollout continues, 7.7 itself has been under continuous improvement. I’ve just posted the most recent build, 7.7.14 (along with 12 and 13, which were very small builds targeted to fixing a few localized but important issues) to the 7.7 Release Lists page.

    The new build has some great quality-of-life improvements, including some new options for your patron queries! For example, you can now query against patron subscriptions (including SER-DDB9 to find patrons with a BARD registration) and whether a patron is set up for Duplication service. A QuickRef with a list of all the new fields you can query against is also available on the Release Lists page. There are improvements for our IRC and other customers as well, so no worries--it's not all LBPH stuff.

    2. Duplication Info


    I’ve been sharing a lot of information about Duplication on this blog, to keep you all informed and up-to-date. But we know it can be a pain to have to go back and find something weeks or months later; especially if you aren’t sure if it was here, on the discussion forums, or somewhere else.

    To address this, we’ve created a one-stop-shop for Duplication Info. You can access this page from the Main Menu, under Documents – Quick Reference (and it’s a static URL, so feel free to bookmark it if that works better for you).

    From now on, all information having to do with Duplication that is posted to KLASusers will be added to the Info page to keep it easily accessible. I have a lot more planned for you (and would love to hear what you need most!) so I hope this Info page will be helpful for keeping it all organized.

    3. Scribe Specs info sheet


    A new document is available on the Duplication Info page--one that I think plenty of you will be interested in!

    The Scribe Specs & Cost document briefly lays out all the specifics of the Scribe system. It covers what is included with a Scribe, the details for each component of the system, and how much it costs all in a streamlined front-and-back info sheet, perfect for your IT folks or funding agencies. Head over to the Info page to give it a download!

  • July Update: 7.7 Rollout

    July Update: 7.7 Rollout

    About a month and a half ago, we began offering Version 7.7 preview databases to Keystone-hosted and Linux-based self-hosted LBPH customers. Since then, we’ve been hard at work—so I wanted to give you all a look into the process.

    Creating a Preview Database:


    Each preview database requires a conversion (from the 7.6 data structure to 7.7), followed by a whole checklist of other tasks, including basic duplication setup (to allow you to test new duplication features), testing, and loading the XPrint license (so you can print from KLAS without requiring a separate XPrint installation).

    Status: Right now, I see 12 customers on our “Active Setup” list, most of which have almost finished checklists. That means we should be getting quite a few more of you on to the next steps very soon!

    What Happens Next?


    Once a preview database is ready, the Activation Key and a “Welcome Packet” of documentation go out to the library. This includes a task list of activities that we recommend the library completes to familiarize themselves with new features and to test the conversion and set-up more in depth. As they go through this list, the preview customer notifies us of whatever bugs or errors they come across.

    For example, one thing our previewers just notified us of is that the latest version of Progress (the software we use to build the KLAS user interface) changed the highlighting it uses in browse tables.

    Previous version:

    July Update: 7.7 Rollout

    New version:

    Previous version

    Since the new style of highlighting is so much harder to see, the next build of 7.7 will include a fix to revert to the classic highlighting. (If you do like the new style better, it is possible for you to enable it as a customization to your klas.ini file—contact us for help.) Thanks, previewers!

    Status: We have 5 customers who have their preview databases and are testing and reviewing them now, with the most recent getting their preview just this morning!

    Going Live:


    Once a preview customer has gone through the task list and is satisfied with the conversion, they are welcome to schedule their Live upgrade.

    Congrats to Oregon and Arizona, our first customers to go Live on 7.7 (after North Carolina, who were our guinea pigs—ahem—I mean “Beta Testers”)!

    What about Windows-based and IRC Customers?


    For our IRC users, we have a little bit of development work left to do to get WebOrder fully compatible with version 7.7. Once that is complete, we’ll be getting you up and running as well.

    For Windows-based self-hosted users, we continue to work on getting the version 7.7 server installation and upgrade process sorted out, and expect to be able to get preview databases set up for you starting in August.

    For all of you: while we are sorry for the delay, the bright side is that we should have the process fully ironed out and bug fixes in place once we bring you up on 7.7. Please know that we are keeping the line moving as quickly as we can, while still meeting the other development and customer service needs that may come up in the meantime.

  • May Update: 7.7 release timeline

    I have some great news, and I couldn’t wait until next Tuesday to post it! Our hard-working development team has gotten fixes in place, wrangled the new server, and generally addressed the various issues discussed in the last update.

    This means that 7.7 Preview Databases are now available by request to all Keystone-hosted and all Linux-based self-hosted customers!

    (Deployment for Windows-based self-hosted customers is still being ironed out; we hope to be able to offer Preview Databases to you soon.)

    These demo databases will allow you to spot-check your data and settings to ensure that everything migrated correctly to the new version, train staff, and practice using the new features and duplication workflows. It will also allow us to do some load-testing of the new server to make sure that connection issues don’t crop back up, and that nothing new decides to go sideways on us.

    Having a demo database in place also puts you on the fast-track to getting a live version. We will be bringing customers up live one every week or two, starting right away after the KLAS Users’ Conference (and maybe even sooner, if the demo roll-out goes well).

    For more information on version 7.7, check out the New Release Webinar! (Note: you must be logged in to KLASusers.com to access that link.)

    Future Updates

    The wait for 7.7 has been longer than anyone had expected, but once you're upgraded to 7.7, future updates will come along much quicker! Instead of needing a large bundle of updates to be ready all at once, incremental updates will be applied to 7.7 about every two weeks. Fixes and improvements will go out steadily over time, rather than in a large batch after a long wait.

    Even better, these updates will occur smoothly and easily, without any need to download and apply an update through your browser. For more information on how updates will work in version 7.7, see the Installation and Upgrades Post.

    Duplication on Demand

    Our new Duplication on Demand workflows are included in version 7.7, including full Gutenberg integration. NLS is in their final testing phases of this integration, but it is in place, and will continue to be refined and improved.

    The Gutenberg device itself will of course come from NLS, and does require custom set-up per customer. We will work with them to fast-track our customers as much as possible, but there is a high demand, and only so many people at NLS who are able to do the set-up and testing needed. At the NLS Western / Southern Regional Conference, they indicated that they expect a pace of about 2 Gutenberg set-ups per month. Who gets one of these devices, and when, is entirely their decision; we can only work with them to get each device’s connection to KLAS in place ASAP.

    For those who are considering a Scribe instead, we are pleased to announce that it now supports both the Patron-Centric Cartridge model and the Cartridge Recycling model! We were able to get this in place because the Cartridge Recycling workflow had already been developed to support Gutenberg—we just did a little tweaking and testing to make sure that it worked with the other hardware as well.

    Final Thoughts

    Thank you all so much for your patience!

    We have heard loud and clear that Duplication (and particularly Gutenberg integration) is the priority that the Users’ Group has set for us, and have been hard at work on it since last year. We believe that the results are robust, flexible, reliable, and efficient; everything that we hope you can expect from a Keystone Systems product.

    We know that the process has taken much longer than we initially announced, but we think that the final product will be worth the wait. We will continue to do everything we can to get those of you under a time crunch (or who are just eager to get started) up and running on a Duplication on Demand workflow of your choice as soon as possible.

    For those libraries not racing to transition to a Duplication workflow, you haven’t been forgotten! With the bulk of the work finished for Duplication, we will be able to integrate improvements that will benefit you as well back into our development cycle.

  • November Update: 7.7 Rollout

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted a 7.7 Rollout update! Back in July I posted about how the process works; all of that is still ongoing. However, now that 7.7 for IRCs is imminent, it seemed like a good time for a status update.

    Current Status

    We now have 10 Keystone-hosted and 3 self-hosted libraries running Live on 7.7!

    More are testing their Preview databases, with only a few left on the list (don't worry, your Previews are coming soon).

    Development has continued squashing bugs in the new version, as well as continually adding new features and improvements, especially for Duplication Service. (Overwhelmed by the Release Lists or just wondering what might be waiting for you in your next update? Make sure you didn’t miss my last post, a Quick Review of 7.7. Updates.)

    7.7 for IRC / IMC

    Some of you have been wanting the new version for a while, so I’m glad to tell you that it’s almost here!

    A couple considerations:

    WebOPAC & WebOrder

    The updates to make WebOrder compatible with KLAS v7.7 are nearly complete! This was a major factor holding us back from inviting IRCs onto 7.7, but we’re nearly out of the woods--just some thorough testing and hopefully it'll be ready to go.

    For IRCs using WebOPAC: only Version 4 of the OPAC is compatible with 7.7. If you are on Version 3, please get in touch to start the conversion (it’s included in your contract)... or, if you’ve been considering making the jump to WebOrder, now is a perfect time! Not sure which version you’re on, or just want to see an example of version 4? Check the list of Current OPACs.

    Hosting

    If you’re Keystone-hosted, you can skip this section. However, those of you who are self-hosted may want to get started now getting your IT on board with 7.7 If you have a Windows server, we will need to install a Linux VM to run the database.

    If your IT has any questions or concerns, please pass them along. We’ll be happy to answer anything and provide more specifics.

    Ready to go?

    If you’re ready to start the migration process and get a Preview database, please send an email to Keystone Customer Support to get on the list!

  • Preparing for Hurricane Florence

    NOAA Hurricane Florence image

    As many of you will be aware, Hurricane Florence is forecast to bring heavy rains and high winds to central North Carolina, including the area where Keystone's offices are located. We are monitoring the storm closely, and are making plans to minimize the impact the storm may have on us all.

    1. We have a generator for critical functions of the office. In the event that our electric power goes out, our systems, servers, network, email, and phone system should remain unaffected.
    2. If the roads are unsafe for staff to travel to the office, our phones are VOIP and our customer support staff all have work-issued laptops. This would allow customer support staff to work from home over a VPN and keep supporting you all.
      Depending on the severity of the storm, we may have difficulty responding to support calls as quickly as we'd like, but we'll be doing the best we possibly can.
    3. Customers that have their database hosted with us-- for years, we have been storing backup copies of everyone's databases off-site (in encrypted form) in case of emergency. In case the hurricane is really terrible in this area, we have an emergency operations site prepared to be able to bring up all the hosted customers on cloud-based servers within a number of hours. Should this be necessary, connecting to those cloud servers will require local admin rights to load a new set of KLAS support files. We will be sending out information about the backup connections and plans to affected customers as needed.

    Another area that we have been seeking to improve: providing a consistent place for customers to be able to check on the status of their database and connections so that it is quicker to identify where an issue might be occurring. As part of the 7.7 release that we are in the final stages of testing, we have been planning to roll out new status pages to report on the status of each library's database.

    For this weather event, Keystone is going to use an early version of this system to provide information to all customers on how we are weathering the storm. The Keystone Status notification site is now accessible from the "Keystone Status" menu item on klausers.com and at this URL: https://uptime.statuscake.com/?TestID=emlREBtN3e

    This site will show the status of our Support and Hosting networks, and also provide us with a location to post any announcements. The Keystone Support network indicates, among other things, whether our email server is still receiving emails, and if we can expect our phone system to work. The Keystone Hosted Customers ISP indicates whether our hosting network is still communicating with the Internet, and therefore should the customer expect to be able to connect to the database with the staff functions.

     

  • Quick Review of 7.7 Updates

    Quick Review of 7.7 Updates

    Have you been keeping up with the 7.7 Release Lists?

    Our release schedule for v7.7 uses the Agile methodology to push out smaller but much more frequent releases. And of course, big changes (like some of the back-end improvements to v7.7, the transition to Duplication Service, and the implementation of e-commerce) always result in unforeseen ripple effects, usually in the form of lots of bugs to fix and additional improvements that are needed.

    All of this is to say that v7.7 has already seen a ton of updates in its first 6 months.

    If you have a lot of catching up to do, no problem! Here are some tips:

    Download the Combined Release Lists, rather than one for each build.


    In addition to posting a Release List for each individual release (called a “build”), I also post combined Release Lists. If you’re new to 7.7 or haven’t been reading Release Lists, you can get all of the bug fixes, improvements, and new features from builds 0 through 10 in a single download. The second download will be 11 through 20, and so forth.

    Browse Highlights


    I spotlight the most requested or highest-impact changes from each release. These highlights are listed at the top of the individual release list and the combined release list, and they’re a great way to get caught up on the big stuff.

    Search for Keywords


    Each issue has keywords for the “components” (essentially the module or section of KLAS impacted) and labels. If you want to browse through a certain set of relevant issues, you can use Ctrl + F to enter any of these keywords. Useful ones include Duplication (if have or are getting a Scribe or Gutenberg), MatRequest (for IRCs), or Patron Services (for Reader Advisors).

    Recent Highlights

    Finally, here are a few highlights from recent releases to whet your appetite...

    For LBPH:

    Batch Update Patron Medium

    New Function on the Tools menu – Allows admin user to specify a set of values to apply to a given PatronMedium/Profile record for all patrons in the active query set. Ex. define a patron query and apply a new NSCutoff or NextServiceDate to the entire set, or create Service Queues to switch the entire set to Duplication service. Issue #KLAS-2025

    Create Duplication Order from the Service Queue

    Added an item on the Functions – Service Queue Menu that allows the user to create a Duplication Order from the top X titles on the patron's service queue. X defaults to the max titles on cartridge, but can be adjusted by the user if it makes sense to put a different number of titles on the cartridge (ex. the patron usually takes 5 titles on a cartridge but is requesting a 7-book series). Issue #KLAS-2043

    For IRC* and Others:

    *Version 7.7 is not yet available for most IRC/IMC customers, as we are finishing up the conversion needed for WebOrder to function with KLAS v7.7. However, we plan to get you on board starting very soon!

    Patron Status Update - Validation to look for Pending MatRequests

    Validation has been added to prevent a Patron Status change if that Patron has a Mat Request in a status of "Pending". Issue #KLAS-2000

    Add Access to the Print Invoice function from the Materials Request

    Added direct access to the Print Invoice function from the new invoice tab in MatRequests instead of requiring invoices to be printed from the Acquisitions module. Issue #KLAS-2004

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