Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Law Aleph Users Group Meeting Notes

Law Aleph Users Group
July 15, 2008 Meeting
AALL Conference in Portland, Oregon

Mila Rush (Minnesota), chairing.

Agenda is transcribed from Mila’s handout, with notes taken by Ellen McGrath during the meeting following each item.

*All expressed gratitude to Ex Libris for supplying us with delicious box lunches, which were also provided for the Law Voyager users meeting next door.
*Mila explained that we would switch rooms with the Voyager users after 45 minutes so we could hear/view the presentation from the Ex Libris staff member in attendance.

Participants’ self-introductions.

Scope of Group’s attention: some shift to other products (both from Ex Libris and other ILS vendors) that directly/intimately affect Aleph.
*There was general agreement that discussions should include other products too.

Caitlin Robinson (Iowa): Aleph and the reorganization at Iowa. To what extent and how did it influence the decision. Planning, process, experience, lessons learned, satisfaction.
*Unfortunately Caitlin was not able to travel to Portland at the last minute. All were interested in it though and Mila said she would followup with Caitlin to see if there was some way it could be shared with the group.

On demand discussions. Possible action plans? Spontaneous contributions from the floor.
*Buffalo is upgrading to Aleph version 19 about 3 weeks after the AALL conference. We would like to hear if anyone else is on version 19 or plans to be and what changes have been experienced on that version — Minnesota will be upgrading to version 19 fairly soon, but Mila was not sure of the exact date. Nobody else is on version 19.
*Any libraries using another discovery tool on top of their Aleph OPAC, either Ex Libris’ own product (Primo) or an open source product, such as Endeca? -- Minnesota is bringing up Primo as the primary OPAC interface very soon. Florida State has not had a good experience with Endeca and even tried to create its own system (Mango), but without much luck. It was suggested that questions about Endeca be directed to Jon Lutz, who was not present at this meeting.
*Fantasy serials module – We did not get to this agenda item.
*Changes in electronic counting as asked by ABA. How can we generate these figures from our Aleph data? Or Verde? – We didn’t really discuss this, though Baltimore had to cancel their Verde contract since the product was delayed so long.
*Other items from the floor -- There was a discussion about handling of budgets and interaction with separate business systems. Specific topics included how many budgets are optimal and how they are setup. The suggestion of transferring acquisitions data to a spreadsheet so that it can be re-sorted in many different ways was offered. (I confess that much of this was over my head, as I am a cataloger.) Minnesota is looking into use of the booking module, but nobody else uses it. Buffalo also looked into it, but their AV department did not like the system and decided to stick with their own scheduling system.

Jenny Forbes (Ex Libris): Development report on, and plans for, Aleph and related products.
*The group swapped rooms with the Voyager users so Jenny could keep her projector setup in one place.
*Aleph version 19 was released in January 2008 and included improvements to course reserves, batch job management, and staff privileges. If there are specific questions about these changes, perhaps Jenny would be willing to share her slides, which included many screen shots. There are some acquisitions options to update Aleph with data from the university accounting system, as well as enhancements to the generic vendor records loader.
*Ex Libris is always working to implement evolving standards. Specifically mentioned were the SRU/SRW protocol that enhances Z39.50 and MARC-XML as a record output option.
*Aleph version 20 is currently being developed. Ex Libris is also working on a next generation product, of which there will be only one, not the separate Aleph and Voyager products. It was mentioned that at present, even with a discovery tool added to the catalog, it is necessary to have a federated searching tool in place too. Jenny mentioned that there is a message from the President of Ex Libris online about the next gen system, but I was unable to find it quickly on their website.

Miscellaneous (we did not get to discuss any of these items before adjourning)
*New leadership.
*Updates to list of Aleph law libraries: http://www.bc.edu/schools/law/library/aleph.html
*New project: Current state of installations, including near-term plans. Cf. June/July 2004 list.
*Any other business.

Notes taken by Ellen McGrath

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