• Update: KLAS Scribe Logistics & Parts Availability

    A scribe system, including the tower, mini, and scanner, sitting on a table in the Keystone offices.

    From the desk of James Burts, CEO, Keystone Systems:

    Oh, for the good old days of just writing software…..(aka logistics and parts availability for the KLAS Scribe)

    *wistful sigh*

    It’s times like these I look back longingly when Keystone only wrote software. Like many other companies, supply chain issues (especially motherboard availability) have plagued us recently making the production of Scribes and Scribe mini frustratingly slower than desired. 

    Months ago, we had a lengthy period where we had problems getting our Scribe tower parts produced, because the design file was corrupted. We got that resolved, and thought we were into clear sailing. Unfortunately, it feels like the world conspired against us, and we are now fighting parts availability issues we don’t have any control over.

    The manufacturer of the cases we use for the Scribe Mini shutdown their production facility to re-tool and introduce some new models—one of which we are quite interested in. We stopped being able to receive any of those cases in early December, and now expect to get a shipment in the next week or two.

    The motherboards we have to use in the Scribe have become extremely difficult to get our hands on. We have been waiting for several weeks for our most current order, and expect it will take perhaps another month to finally receive them.

    The company that made the system we use to control the LED light strips went out of business due to slumping sales in the pandemic. We are working to create a replacement for this component with a much more commonly available Raspberry Pi microcontroller, but we had to write the software to have the Raspberry Pi do the things we need.

    The power supplies we use in the Scribe Mini have also been very difficult to purchase.

    Things have been improving lately. We expect to receive a shipment of Scribe Mini cases in the next week or so. Our Raspberry Pi version of the light controller looks to be more reliable, and development should be wrapped up on it in the next week or so. We plan to installed it at a beta site or two shortly.

    Our biggest issue remains motherboards. We have a number of orders outstanding, and our best hope for anything beyond just one motherboard is looking to be at least a month away.

    From my current perspective, I’m really missing the good old days that didn’t include shipping and logistics headaches as we strive to provide a quality product for you. However, we’ll push through this and look forward to getting more Scribes built and put to work for your libraries and patrons as soon as possible.

  • What do you do about Withdrawn Titles?

    The Duplication Service model opens up a ton of new possibilities for serving patrons, and with that comes a whole host of new edge-cases, problems, opportunities, and workflow questions. Today, let’s look into one of those new workflow questions: what do you do when a Title is Withdrawn?

    First up, what exactly do I mean by “Withdrawn? For this post, I’m referring to Titles NLS has recalled due to Quality Control or other concerns as well as Titles with a status of “W / Withdrawn” in the KLAS Catalog. Most points will be the same or pretty close for NLS recalls, Locally Produced titles you have withdrawn for quality or timeliness (such as a corrupted file or a voting guide from a previous election), or for NLS titles you have decided to no longer offer (such as computer “how-to” guides from the early 90s).

    What happens in KLAS?

    For Gutenberg libraries, when NLS recalls a title the file is pulled from the Gutenberg hardware. Overnight the e-Doc sync in KLAS will spot the missing file and report the e-Doc as “stale” in the PCC Load Summary. (If you want to keep an eye on your e-Doc sync and do not yet get a daily PCC Load Summary email, let us know!) The title can still be added to patron Service Queues or included in a Duplication Order—however, it cannot be duplicated, because Gutenberg no longer has the file! So when NLS notifies you that a title is being recalled, it’s important to go into your KLAS Catalog and either make the title status Withdrawn or delete the e-Doc. That will prevent KLAS from letting the title onto any Dup Orders.

    For titles you chose to withdraw on your own, you can proceed as below.

    For Scribe libraries (or Gutenberg libraries doing a voluntary recall), you have more choice about how to proceed. The file is not automatically pulled so, as long as you leave the record in an active status, you can continue to duplicate the title as you decide how to proceed. When you are ready to stop all duplication, you should update the catalog record to make the title status W / Withdrawn. At that point the title may still be on some patron’s Service Queues, but it can no longer be added to any new ones or included in a Duplication Order. The Sanitize Queue function then removes the title from patron Service Queues during its next routine sweep.

    So, what are your options?

    You can always immediately shut down duplication of a title by changing the title status to W / Withdrawn. However, if you want a little wiggle room, you do have other options.

    For a voluntary recall (or if using Scribe) you may leave a sub-par but functional title active, add the No Autoselect (NAS) subject heading to the record, and include a cautionary note in the title field. This is a good option for reissued titles you want to provide to patrons with a strong Narrator preference, but don’t otherwise want to send. This won’t fully withdraw the title, but will keep it from being sent by Subject preference, and guide Reader Advisors to which version of the title they should send.

    You may also use the NAS option as a stop-gap for titles in the process of being re-recorded. For example, NLS recently pulled ADB 100980, Time for Mercyby John Grisham, in favor of replacing it with the unabridged version. If you want to offer your patrons the option of getting the Abridged version instead of waiting for the replacement (and if you have a Scribe, since the file was pulled from Gutenbergs automatically), you can add NAS to the Local Subjects, and add “Abridged version” to the title.

    However, you probably also want to either pull it from patron’s Service Queues where it’s been auto-selected, and/or contact patrons to see if they want to wait for the Unabridged version.

    Patrons with Queued Title Report

    This is where a brand-new report comes in: Patrons with Queued Title. This report (which will be included in KLAS v7.7.47, our next update), will fetch a list of every patron with a particular title on their Service Queue and/or in a Duplication Order.

    Use this report to remove the withdrawn title from queues where it was automatically selected, then reach out to patrons who requested it ask if they want the current version, or want to wait for a re-record.

    Or, when browsing the report results, you might find few to no patrons actually requested the title, and decide to update the title status to fully Withdraw it right away.

    Always feel free to ask!

    Whew... this was a long one. I hope it helps you understand how Withdrawn titles affect Duplication Service, what happens automatically in KLAS, and your options for handling them. However, feel free to ask us any time a situation like this comes up, and you aren’t quite sure what will happen or how to proceed. After all, this is still a relatively new approach to patron service! We’re here to share the technical details and help you determine your best course of action.

    And, of course, we hope the new report comes in handy!

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Keystone Systems, Inc.
8016 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612