IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: L4

From Crisis to Chaos to Millennium : Two Weeks in the Life of an Innopac Site Coordinator

Tom Gensichen, University of Nebraska Medical Center

The McGoogan Library of Medicine became an Innovative Library in July 1997, and was in the planning stages for Millenium in August, 2000. Arriving at work, Tom found water outside the 8th floor maintenance closet at the entrance to Technical Services. This closet is also a wiring closet. At his office, his systems technician greeted him with the statement, "No one can do anything." Tom's first reaction was that back-up was done incorrectly, but this was not the case. Beneath the 8th floor closet is another closet, specifically for wiring. Water had leaked down into this closet, and had shorted out both Lantronix Terminal Servers, and water was sitting on the bridge. All Wyse terminals, the system printer and OCLC interfaces were gone.

The Innovative Help Desk asked, "How did it get wet?" Environmental Services personnel is the most likely culprit, as they had been stripping and rewaxing the floors in the Technical Services area; water was most likely left running in the maintenance closet. Responsibility for the accident has never been assigned or accepted. Innovative informed Tom that this damage was not covered under, since it was not a mechanical failure. To replace the servers would be $2700 apiece, and they would be delivered in 30 to 45 days.

Added to this was the chaos generated by a major renovation of the two floors of the collection in the library. Millenium software was loaded on the Innopac DEC Alpha, but because of the renovation and limited access to the collection, the staff, let alone the department heads, were not ready to accept the migration to Millenium. Additionally, Tom had to complete the installation of 75 new network connections for public computers. The new Circulation Desk area had been completed, but the Reference area, part of the 6th floor and all of the 7th floor were still under construction. New hardware had begun to arrive, but Wyse terminals were still the main source of access to the online system. Several flat panel monitors arrived damaged, and were returned. Reference staff was waiting for the public access computers; Tom had 17 of these to configure.

Additionally, it had been determined that new id cards with magnetic strips would be used by students and staff; our patron barcodes were not going to be used with the mag strips. New equipment had been ordered, but the wrong equipment was sent, and new mag strip readers had to be ordered. Most of the Ethernet connections were plugged into Circulation, but they were plugged into terminal servers. Tom's having cultivated a positive, gentle relationship with the Information Technology department paid off when he had to have these 17 connections hooked up, and they agreed to do it quickly.

All departments in the library were affected. The Serials department was doing manual checkin of materials. Because there was no OCLC interface, the Cataloging Department was unable to process materials. There was a plan to order the network interface, and eliminate the terminal servers, but the intention was to do it later. This was rushed to Innovative, who agreed to label it "ASAP." Cataloging was the last department to regain functionality, and perhaps should have been a higher priority.

Throughout all of this chaos, there was no disruption in service to users.

Migration to Millenium has not occurred yet; renovation is completed, but a complete shift of the collection is to be undertaken this summer. Millenium will occur this fall, when staff is able to deal with something new.

To get through this crisis, Tom recommends:


  1. When the servers died, if you wanted to use pcs, couldn't you use emulation?
    Tom: Yes; we pulled in Anzio Lite. The hardest problem was not having a system printer.
  2. Our system terminal server goes down periodically (it is an old machine) and we lose OCLC access. We have a pc set up as an ftp server.
    Tom: This would have been an option here, but in the process of re-arranging the Technical Services area, Catalogers did not have their own pcs on their desks.
  3. I hadn't thought about it, but it may be necessary to keep our terminal server.
    Tom: Because all of my pcs are on the Novell network, I moved the system printer to the Intel network, and they dumped to a telnet session.
  4. What operating system are you using with Millenium?
    Tom: We are using a DEC Alpha, with Unix.

Sheryl Williams, University of Nebraska Medical Center