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Setting Up INNOPAC for a Public Library Consortium:
What We Like and What We Wish We Had Done Differently

Mary Miller, Birmingham Public Library
Elizabeth Swift, Jefferson County Library Cooperative
Melinda Shelton, Birmingham Public Library


Mary Miller began with a description of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (Alabama). It has 24 entities and has existed for 20 years. The Cooperative includes 20 municipal public libraries totaling 45 physical locations, three high schools, and one special library. In April of 1993 they migrated from their old CLSI system to LIBS+, and in November of 1996 they came up with the Innovative system, at which time they closed access to item records.

AutoGraphics, BroDart, and OCLC MARC records had to migrate to the new system. There were many duplicate records. INNOPAC is driven by the bibliographic database, so their planning committee was centered on the Cataloging Department. Because the INNOPAC manuals didn’t address the needs of a consortium they contacted other libraries that had migrated.

***The INNOPAC listserv was recommended as a good way to learn things. They also "begged" their Innovative coordinator to make an on-site visit, which really helped them.

***When you are migrating to another system it is a good time to make changes. Examine your policies and procedures. (They sometimes used Innovative as their scapegoat.)

Their system is complicated and "item driven." In particular, they paid attention to item "pre-stamps", circulation policies, etc. and visited each location to prepare them for the coming changes. The item circulation migrated over but NOT the fines or holds. There was trauma trying to migrate the item information. Innovative divided the information into subfields.

They "went wild" with the item location codes and used them in place of the pre-stamps – they use 1,814 of the 2,000 available. The five-letter code has three parts: library or department, audience, and format. If they did it again they would have the "audience" code at the END of the location code, for more efficient Boolean searching and limiting. They found that they could not use the same two letters in the same code as it skewed searching by code. The bib location codes have four letters.

Elizabeth Swift next described codes used at her library.

BCODEs from the bib record will not interfere with MARC records, which they at first thought.

Item codes: They had some classification schemes which were just "words."

They use "Recently Returned" as their item OPAC message which displays for 24 hours after check-in.

Patron Codes: They use a different one for other libraries. (sic) The PMESSAGE to staff only pops up at checkout. These can say "bad check" or "need license."

***Loan Rule Determiner Table: They misinterpreted "wild card" in the manual – * is a truncation mark.

There were 80,000 non-MARC records in the database. After the migration these records were deleted. In the first year they had 40,000 on-the-fly items. It was "bad for about two months," but now they have a much cleaner database.

"Create Lists" is a fabulous function! They waited on authority control. They like INN-View.

***Melinda Shelton stated that they had attended the annual IUG meeting and found they needed the product called "Coordinate Location Codes." This is essential for consortiums.

***TestPAC was essential. They used a core group of staff to do the testing. They were charged to test MARC fields, indexing, call numbers, location mapping, and item to bib record linkages. Input on worksheets and questionnaires resulted in some OPAC changes.

***They did "train the trainer" workshops for all locations. They also set up a help desk for one month in the central library’s Cataloging Department.

Recorded by: Marcia Rogers, Arlington Heights Memorial Library

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