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Administrative follies

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  • Midwestern Yankee
    So our tech services folk settle on a new circulation/acquisitions/OPAC product, which we ll call Ralph, to protect the guilty. We manage the torturous data
    Message 1 of 5 , May 1, 2005
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      So our tech services folk settle on a new
      circulation/acquisitions/OPAC product, which we'll
      call Ralph, to protect the guilty. We manage the
      torturous data migration, get minimal training, and
      are off and running, only to discover various flaws
      and limitations in Ralph as we use it on a daily
      basis.

      Then we develop additional training to help staff use
      Ralph effectively and avoid known pitfalls but word
      comes down from On High that we cannot say anything
      "negative." Staff who were assigned to develop the
      curriculum are suddenly called on the carpet to
      justify their activities. The training materials are
      confiscated and purged of such dangerous language as
      "X doesn't work in Ralph; do Y instead." Those doing
      the training are warned not to mention or even
      acknowledge imperfections in Ralph in front of
      trainees.

      This is not the first time I've seen this kind of
      paranoia. Once you're in library administration, you
      object to censorship only when patrons do it.


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    • Aiden
      You re absolutely correct! It happened here, too. The new system was an absolute horror. It simply did not do what was promised. For example, it does not
      Message 2 of 5 , May 5, 2005
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        You're absolutely correct! It happened here, too.
        The new system was an absolute horror. It simply did
        not do what was promised. For example, it does not
        sort items by branch. Many searches will come us as
        "error in retrieval" or some such. For a while, there
        were "forums" for people to discuss it. Nothing
        changed. Then, administrators used the old standbys
        like "We are in the process of addressing those
        concerns", "the problems are being fixed", blah, blah,
        blah. But still, nothing changed. Finally, by
        word-of-mouth, not in writing, of course, staff
        members were ordered by their supervisors not to
        complain about the new system. This was coming "from
        downtown", we were told, and at meeting or conferences
        we were emphatically told *not* to bring up anything
        concerning problems with the system. It was what we
        have, and the matter was now closed.
        Well, well, that's one way to "solve" a problem,
        isn't it!

        Best Regards,
        Aiden


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      • laurieshaina@aol.com
        What the name of your system...is it Horizon son of Dynex which USED to be good but isn t anymore....thats what we are STUCK with that doesn t work [Non-text
        Message 3 of 5 , May 8, 2005
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          What the name of your system...is it Horizon son of Dynex which USED to be
          good but isn't anymore....thats what we are STUCK with that doesn't work


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • astanfield@mindspring.com
          I m still in grad. school, but I m curious about this problem. When a patron gets one of the messages like error in retrieval and then comes to a librarian
          Message 4 of 5 , May 9, 2005
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            I'm still in grad. school, but I'm curious about this problem. When a patron gets one of the messages like "error in retrieval" and then comes to a librarian for help, how do you guys find what they are looking for? Is there no alternative at all - like a good old-fashioned card catalog?

            Andrea

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Aiden <smersh43@...>
            Sent: May 5, 2005 4:58 PM
            To: contrarianlibrarian@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [contrarianlibrarian] Administrative follies

            <html><body>


            <tt>
            You're absolutely correct!  It happened here, too. <BR>
            The new system was an absolute horror.  It simply did<BR>
            not do what was promised.  For example, it does not<BR>
            sort items by branch.  Many searches will come us as<BR>
            "error in retrieval" or some such.  For a while, there<BR>
            were "forums" for people to discuss it.  Nothing<BR>
            changed. Then, administrators used the old standbys<BR>
            like "We are in the process of addressing those<BR>
            concerns", "the problems are being fixed", blah, blah,<BR>
            blah. But still,  nothing changed.  Finally, by<BR>
            word-of-mouth, not in writing, of course, staff<BR>
            members were ordered by their supervisors not to<BR>
            complain about the new system.  This was coming "from<BR>
            downtown", we were told, and at meeting or conferences<BR>
            we were emphatically told *not* to bring up anything<BR>
            concerning problems with the system.  It was what we<BR>
            have, and the matter was now closed.  <BR>
              Well, well, that's one way to "solve" a problem,<BR>
            isn't it! <BR>
            <BR>
            Best Regards,<BR>
            Aiden    <BR>
            <BR>
            <BR>
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          • Aiden
            ... Ironically, the our Patron computers are in some ways superior to the system that staff uses. Generally, the only time the OPACs will get an error message
            Message 5 of 5 , May 9, 2005
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              --- astanfield@... wrote:
              > I'm still in grad. school, but I'm curious about
              > this problem. When a patron gets one of the
              > messages like "error in retrieval" and then comes to
              > a librarian for help, how do you guys find what they
              > are looking for? Is there no alternative at all -
              > like a good old-fashioned card catalog?
              >
              > Andrea

              Ironically, the our Patron computers are in some
              ways superior to the system that staff uses.
              Generally, the only time the OPACs will get an error
              message is when the system is down. If the whole net
              is down, we're down, too, and memory is the only way
              to locate a specific item. If just the public
              terminals are down, we can use ours. If an OPAC says
              "See Librarian" that generally means that the item is
              simply unavailable, i.e. lost, or a marc record is
              there, but the item was never received in the system.
              The OPACS can sort by branch. Staff computers
              can't. If we get an error in retrieval message on
              staff computers, sometimes the system just freezes up
              and you have to reboot. Sometimes you can click on
              the error message, and the item actually comes up.
              (??? )One of the suckiest things is that title or
              keyword searches sometimes come up empty when the item
              is in fact there. For example, you can do a keyword
              search on "Huckleberry Finn" and nothing will come up.
              But then you do an author search and it's there. Or
              vice versa. So, we always have to do both an author
              and a title search. To date, no one has been able to
              explain it. Another error message is a dialog box
              which says "Access Violation". What this means, who
              knows? This can be on anything from a Clifford the
              Big Red Dog book to a Fodor's travel guide. If you're
              fast and click the next item, many times nothing
              happens, but sometimes the "access violation box" will
              freeze the computer and you have to reboot.

              Best Regards,
              Aiden



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