September & October 2000 Activities Report

Scott Bennett



This is the fifth monthly (more or less!) report on the status of the Yale University Library's migration to a new Library Management System (LMS). These reports are intended to provide a convenient summary account of LMS migration activities and the thinking that informs them. The reports and the numerous documents that will be available at the project Web site are meant to help support the library-wide learning that is essential to a successful migration effort.

Comments about this material and the library's migration activities are most welcome. Such comments can be made publicly on the YULIB listserv or addressed individually to Audrey Novak, the LMS Migration Project Manager, by sending a message to Audrey at



Work Group activities. The Demonstration Work Groups have worked over the last two months to complete specifications for how we will test the capability of systems products when vendors return to campus for week-long demonstrations. A large group of staff (with previous experience in the Criteria and Demonstration work groups) was enlisted to do the formal evaluation work during the upcoming demo sessions.

Further information gathering. A small (and probably last) work group was enlisted to visit other research libraries where vendors have implemented systems. This Site Visit Work Group will design the structure of these visits and to draft the questions we will pursue with colleagues at other libraries.

In addition, Systems staff have been compiling the information on hardware configuration options and costs; on the level-of-effort required to manage Orbis2 systems, compared to NOTIS; on the technical benefits and risks posed by candidate systems; and on staff productivity issues. Systems staff have also visited the headquarters offices of two vendors and are planning a third such visit. Audrey Novak visited MIT to compare their recent migration process with ours.

Finally, vendors are submitting responses to our statement of the criteria we will use in judging the capabilities of competing systems. We have received two substantial responses and expect others to arrive soon. Audrey Novak will prepare a systematic, comparative analysis of these quite substantial vendor responses.

Work plan for November 2000 through January 2001. At its 20 October meeting, the Migration Management Group (MMG) decided it would test the feasibility of using the information gathered in the several ways just described to identify only two systems for exhaustive return demonstration sessions in January. The MMG was motivated in this by the realization that each of the demonstration sessions is likely to require, library-wide, something like 300 days of full-time equivalent staff effort.

The rationale for the attempt to move from the current four systems to two is as follows:

This revised timetable for Orbis2 migration puts us about a month behind were we initially hoped to be in January 2001. The MMG does not see that this imperils our ability to "go live" with Orbis2 in July 2002. Early discussions with the vendors suggest that we should make a concerted effort, in the first half of calendar year 2001, to convert our data to a test environment. This represents a significant acceleration of our initial plan for converting data. If we do this, we will then have a full year to ensure an error-free data conversion, to configure the new system for effective operation, and to address critical training issues.