IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: D2/P7

The Journey to Millennium: Stories of Migration and Implementation

Regina Beach, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Carol Gyger, Fort Collins Public Library
Gillian Kerins, Institute of Technology, Tallaght (Ireland)
Carolyn Rokke, Sacramento Public Library
Dennis Van Arsdale, Westark College


This session featured a panel discussion, with each member of the panel from a library that recently migrated to Innovative's Millennium system from another library automation vendor's product. Panel members generally described why they chose to leave their previous vendor, the timetable for their migration, and any problems they encountered when migrating.

Migration from DRA

Regina Beach described the experience of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which migrated to Millennium from DRA. They migrated because DRA had promised the Taos product for years but failed to deliver. She was employed in 1998 to lead the migration. The library signed a contract with Innovative in December 1999, began profiling in January 2000, and brought the Innovative system up in time for the 2000-2001 school year.

Their first major problem was extracting item records. DRA's standard extraction program does not extract item records, so they had to purchase a special program from DRA (cost: $9000) to get their item records out. During their TestPAC period, they found 20 to 30 items that needed to be changed. They went live with cataloging in June 2000, circulation in July, serials in August, and acquisitions in September. They completed an authority cleanup project as part of the migration and loaded their authority records in October.

Overall, their migration went smoothly, in part because DRA's product complies with standards, making data easy to migrate. Their biggest problem was employees who were resistant to change.

Migration from GEAC

Carolyn Rokke described Sacramento Public Library's experience migrating from GEAC to Millennium. Library staff were concerned about Y2K problems with GEAC's product, so they put out an RFP in early 1999 and selected Innovative in June 1999. Because of the Y2K problems with GEAC, they had to have the Innovative system up by the end of 1999. Because of this accelerated timetable, they had to make fast decisions; they might have done some things differently if they had more time to consider them.

They extracted records from GEAC using SQL. Their biggest data-related problem was that volume information did not transfer well, apparently a known issue that Innovative did not warn them about. They are just now implementing Millennium Serials and are a beta test site for the next release of Millennium Acquisitions. Rokke described their migration as smooth for an organization of their size having to move so quickly.

Migration from Horizon

Gillian Kerins discussed migrating from Horizon to Millennium. The Institute of Technology library is part of a fifteen-library consortium, in which it was centrally decided to have a common system—Millennium. The first Horizon site in the consortium to migrate, the library is currently in the midst of migration. They began full-time work on the project in October, 2000. They have completed TestPAC and are live with cataloging. They will go live with circulation in June, serials in August, and Acquisitions in January. The entire migration should take 14 months.

As part of the migration, they had to convert from UKMARC to MARC21. They used Interleaf, an agent of Epixtech, to extract their bibliographic and item records. Diacritics did not extract correctly, so they had to find them all and map the incorrect values to the correct ones. They chose not to extract their authority records, and Kerins indicated that if they could do one thing differently, they would extract their authority records and implement authority control.

Migration from Dynix

Carol Gyger likened migration to childbirth, in that after it is over people forget how painful it really was. The Fort Collins Public Library's migration to Millennium took nine months, from contract signing in December 1999, to live circulation in August 2000. They did not purchase serials or acquisitions.

They chose not to purchase Epixtech's migration package, instead buying an OMR (Output MARC Records) profile for $250. They had to use the Dynix "Recall" function, along with screen captures, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel, to extract their data and manipulate it into formats acceptable to Innovative. They did not migrate authority or reserve book records. Prior to migration, they cleaned up non-MARC records, added call numbers to records without them, and purged inactive patrons. Gyger recommended 1) allowing plenty of time for cleanup prior to migration, as most libraries will not have time for cleanup afterwards, and 2) taking good notes throughout the process, because people forget more than they think they will. She also emphasized the importance of embracing the new system and getting all staff to buy in. She attributed the success of their migration to excellent staff, both in the library and on the Innovative implementation team.

Migration from VTLS

Dennis Van Arsdale, Technical Services Librarian at Westark College, described Westark's migration from VTLS. They chose VTLS in 1990, because they needed a system that would run on an IBM mainframe, and VTLS was porting their software to the IBM. He described their relationship with VTLS as "rocky from the beginning," because Westark staff expected more functionality on the IBM platform than they received. When the campus moved from mainframe-based to network-based automation, Westark staff considered the VTLS Virtua product but found that it was not ready for the market. They then began to consider other systems, ultimately selecting Innovative in 2000. He noted that their RFP stated that all correspondence related to the RFP would become part of the contract, so that Innovative would be obligated to do anything they said they could do when responding to the RFP.

Their version of VTLS would not extract data, so they had to pay extra to get data out of their old system.

Westark selected Innovative's "fast track" implementation schedule, which does not include a TestPAC period. They were trained in October 2000 and went live in November. In addition to the standard Millennium products, they have purchased the Electronic Reserve and Inventory Control modules.

Van Arsdale praised the Getting Started Manual and Innopac email list as excellent tools for new sites.


A question/answer session followed the presentations by panel members. Highlights include discussions of location codes, migrating fines and fees, different barcode formats in a single system, and TestPAC evaluation. An audience member asked about location codes in a consortium, pointing out that since consortium libraries have to share the system maximum, individual member libraries often do not have enough codes to meet their needs. Someone else said that a presenter in another session reported coping with this problem by using ITYPEs for specific locations. Several people discussed problems with migrating fines and fees, including patrons being billed for lost books for which they had already paid. Recommendations included having an amnesty period during and shortly after migration and not turning off the old system too soon. Van Arsdale noted that several libraries involved in his project used different barcode formats, so they had to turn off Innovative's barcode error checking feature. He indicated that lack of error checking has not been a big problem.

The group discussed at length how to evaluate a TestPAC and the kinds of problems identified during this period. Beach reported that most of the problems at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock were with scooping, and most were corrected a few days after being reported. Kerins said that the staff of the Institute of Technology Library searched groups of records in the character-based and Web OPAC and reported anything that looked funny. She suggested getting as many people as possible to do as many searches as possible and searching lots of different material types. Beach said her migration committee met every two to three days during the TestPAC period and enlisted the reference department to do searches. Van Arsdale's library did not have a TestPAC period, but he noted that they had to have their call numbers moved from item to bibliographic records after going live.

Finally, panel members commented on how the new system was received by their patrons. Rokke said the public loved their new Millennium catalog. Beach said her staff expected users to complain, but they did not; in fact, they did not seem to recognize that there had been a change! Van Arsdale noted that Westark patrons complained more when the library automated initially than when they migrated to Millennium.

Janet Crum, Oregon Health & Science University