IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: G8

The MOBIUS Model - INNOPAC and INN-Reach in a Shared System Environment

Gary L. Harris, MOBIUS Consortium Office

Robin Kespohl, MOBIUS Consortium Office
Jim Dutton, MOBIUS Consortium Office
Mark Wahrenbrock, MOBIUS Consortium Office

In this session, the presenters described the Missouri Bibliographic Information User System (MOBIUS), a consortium of academic libraries across Missouri that makes unique use of Innovative systems.

Gary Harris, Assistant Director of Operations, gave some brief historical information about the MOBIUS project. He described earlier efforts at institutional cooperation in Missouri. These early manifestations approached the state legislature for funds to develop what became the Common Library Platform, and MOBIUS was born. In 1998, MOBIUS selected INNOPAC as the interface for the Common Library Platform, and in 1999, MOBIUS signed a contract with Innovative.

MOBIUS currently counts 55 Missouri institutions as members. Institutions are grouped into smaller clusters; currently, eight clusters are operational. The system is shared by the cluster members. Location-based scoping is used, and this feature allows libraries to maintain their individual identity within the limits of the software. Each institution also sends one representative, usually the library director, to MOBIUS Council, part of the governing structure. The other governing body is the MOBIUS Executive Committee, which is selected by the council.

The Common Library Platform makes unique use of the INN-Reach functionality. All INNOPACs in MOBIUS are shared systems, and all systems are managed by the MOBIUS Consortium Office (MCO), located in Columbia. All servers are also located in Columbia.

MCO follows an aggressive schedule in bringing up new clusters on a shared INNOPAC, which presents implementation and support challenges. The schedule plans a six month window to move institutions to INNOPAC from any number of old systems (examples include DRA, NOTIS, Dynix, Winnebago or no automated system at all). Bibliographic data, item data and serial summary data are brought over from old systems, but no transactional data (order data, overdues, fines, billing) is retained. Multiple conversion/extraction methods were utilized: exit packages on source systems, Innovative exit packages, consultant exit services, OCLC record extraction. Non-standard item barcoding presented another difficulty to be overcome. Multiple libraries were in with sequential barcodes, some libraries used barcodes that began with characters and not digits; duplication was a bit of a problem.

The cluster concept provides challenges as well as opportunities for members. Institutions are grouped into clusters based on geography, so an institution may vary widely from its cluster-mates in terms of staff size, resources, public/private, two-year/four-year, etc. For many libraries, MCO is offering a system that is "too rich" for the size of the school; these libraries are given many choices as to what exactly will best fit their needs. Getting started worksheets were not working smoothly in a consortial environment, especially with the aggressive schedule, so they needed to be reworked. With each new cluster, however, the knowledge of past experience could be used to make things smoother.

To further support resource sharing, MOBIUS has a contract with a delivery company. The delivery company makes stops daily, Monday through Friday, to each member institution. The cost to members is included in annual fees, and fees are not related to the number of pickups or deliveries. The goal is delivery of materials within 24 to 48 hours.

Clusters share bibliographic records; because of this shared system, no non-standard fields are used. It is a MOBIUS policy never to delete any access point, simply because in a system so widely shared, one can not know what access point might be valuable to another library in the environment. Authority work is outsourced to OCLC/WLN; any control issues are resolved by cluster libraries, and in some clusters, larger libraries assist smaller libraries without authority experience.

To make the cluster model work, MOBIUS uses extensive "option grouping". MOBIUS attempts to customize options as much as possible because everyone's needs and wants are different (especially in circulation). Innovative designs for 'one library, one box', so the unique environment of MOBIUS makes for much learning on the go. MOBIUS institutions think of what they'd like the system to do, and MCO contacts Innovative to see if they're possible. The agency codes were developed for MOBIUS in order to make consortial statistics work.

On the operations level, a statewide ISP (MOREnet) serves all types of libraries in Missouri from the same backbone; it is crucial that this be done from a central site. A centrally-located (Columbia) telecommunications center provides round-the-clock monitoring and full backups of each INNOPAC. Each INNOPAC and the INN-Reach server is connected to a terminal server. Additionally, MCO employs a six-person help desk staff to perform tasks such as server installation, record loading, custom load profiling, troubleshooting system questions and a variety of routine maintenance operations.

The MOBIUS system has also made training an explicit part of the plan. Initial training comes from Innovative trainers, additional and ongoing training from MCO, which also provides centralized training facilities. The goal is to make the training ongoing and comprehensive, at no additional cost to members. Institutions receive much training in profiling for their implementation into MOBIUS. Ongoing training includes education in optional modules and some co-sponsored training with regional OCLC representatives for cataloging. A MOBIUS users' conference is held each year to present members with another opportunity for learning.

PowerPoint slides at: http://sequoia.lso.missouri.edu/about/presentations/the_mobius_model.pdf

Allen Verbrugge