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.

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