Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spotlight on: Systems

The Library’s Systems Department provides online and technology resources to the Library community. This two-person office, consisting of Systems Librarian Tracy Holtman and Computer Technician Chris Grantham, is very busy! “My phone rings off the wall!” says Tracy.

They support and maintain 11 networked printers and over 200 public and staff PCs and laptops in the library, including those in the Library Instruction Classroom with its SMART technology. The Systems Department also supports various audio-visual technologies throughout the library such as the TV cable system, satellite receivers, and projection equipment. Chris is usually busy imaging computers, fixing printers, and addressing laptop issues.

The department also manages four servers to support library applications that include:

- SIRSI (our integrated library system that includes our online catalog),

- ILLIAD (online Interlibrary Loan system),

- Ariel (used to send documents electronically between libraries for interlibrary loan – “sort of like faxing over the internet,” according to Tracy),

- Print Manager Plus (used to manage printer queues on shared network printers),

- EZProxy (which makes electronic resources available from off-campus),

- SFX (a tool that allows a database that does not include full text to search through other databases to find the full text, or to see if the journal is available in print or microform through our catalog, or allows you to find out what databases index or provide full text of particular journals), and

- Metalib (which allows simultaneous searches in multiple databases).

In addition the department maintains the library web pages and streamlines access to over 170 research databases – for example, by adding the Proxy URL to electronic resources so they are available off-campus. Tracy also works on maintaining the online library catalog, by loading MARC records for E-books, correcting call numbers and subject headings, and working with Catalog Librarian Melissa Cookson “to update our authority processing and controlled tags, field and subfields for better authority control.”

Tracy also runs a number of reports on the SIRSI system. “There are 11 reports that run nightly,” she says. “They do things like update the databases, index the newly added books, update user records, count transactions (statistics), consolidate user records, send overdue notices, send courtesy (reminder) notices, load new users, look for periodicals that are late arriving, process the daily orders for emailing, all regular maintenance items.” Tracy can also generate special reports as needed (for example, how many items of a certain type or location are marked as used in a given time period).

The Systems Department also works with the campus Information Technology Services department on network issues and wireless and Blue Socket technologies for the library laptops. Systems staff members can assist patrons with acquiring NTNET (email/network) accounts and passwords (“We both reset a LOT of passwords”), and assist patrons who are having trouble using the proxy server to gain access to library resources from off campus.

When Tracy was named Staff Council February 2008 Employee of the Month, she was described as the Library’s “lifeline to the online” – “I think that is a great quote about the systems office,” she says. “I sometimes miss getting to actually be a ‘librarian;’ not a computer geek. That is why I always volunteer to fill in at the reference desk.”

If you have any problems or questions contact the Systems Department by email at libsystems@tarleton.edu or phone at (254) 968-9466, or toll free at (866) 339-5555.

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