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CDL Database Transitions

a. Melvyl-T Catalog Unveiling Rescheduled For Fall 2002

There is a change in schedule for the debut of the new Melvyl-T catalog.  The new schedule is necessary because quality assurance testing is taking longer than anticipated and because several enhancements and developments that CDL has requested are part of a new release of the software from the vendor, Ex Libris.  The CDL will be the first installation site for this new release.

Current plans are for a small prototype catalog database of ~630,000 records to be made available for library staff and usability testing by March 2002.  The new catalog will be released to faculty and students in fall 2002.  The old version of the Melvyl Catalog will continue to be available for the entire academic year, 2002-03.  The overlap period is meant to assure the reliability and functionality of the new catalog, and to allow librarians and faculty a period in which they can learn to use the new catalog efficiently and create necessary training materials and guides.  (The Melvyl-T catalog rescheduling will have no impact on the A & I database transitions, which will proceed on their existing timetables.)

Initially, the database will consist of UC monograph (CAT) and serials (PE) records only, including those from affiliated libraries.  Therefore, users will have access to UC holdings as early as possible, while CDL and the campus libraries continue evaluating technical and policy issues regarding the inclusion of non-UC book and periodical records.  Examples of non-UC contributors for books include the California Academy of Sciences, the California Historical Society, the California State Library, the Center for Research Libraries, and the Graduate Theological Union.  The entire periodicals database, including non-UC contributors’ records, will be available in Melvyl-T before legacy Melvyl retires.

Several enhancements are being implemented especially for the Melvyl database above and beyond what is provided in the current Aleph software.  Some of these developments are a result of staff input to the Melvyl Library Staff Survey (“hidden uses” of Melvyl) conducted in summer, 2001.  Examples include the ability to maneuver among different display formats (including a review format), and the ability to view campus specific cataloging for each item in a set of equivalent records.

As a reminder, the new system will also allow users to do the following, which CDL is unable to provide with current technology:

  • Combine books and periodicals (CAT & PE) in one database: Currently, users must search for books in the CAT databases separately from periodical titles in the PE databases.  For example, over the years, many long-standing conference series have been catalogued by some campuses as monographs, and by others as serials, resulting in holdings being divided between CAT and PE.  Merging these files together will better integrate the holdings of these important campus resources and address this frequent complaint.
  • General keyword search: Currently, users can search keyword(s) within an index (e.g., keyword(s) in title). Keyword searching in the new database will be primarily subject-oriented, including titles, subject headings, notes, and genre fields.  Other examples of searchable indexes include notes, publisher, conference and others, some listed below.
  • Limit search to electronic resources only: This would return only bibliographic records that have a link (URL) to electronic format.
  • Phrase and proximity searching: The ability to search for words adjacent or near to each other (e.g., searching for the phrase “online catalog”).
  • Sorting results: Ex Libris allows users to select and change the order in which their search results are sorted and displayed, for example, sorting by title or by date.
  • Call number searching: A call number search will return an ordered scan display of call numbers and titles
  • Multilingual character set support: The ability to sort and display using characters from languages (e.g., Chinese) used in UC catalogs.  Later enhancements will add a search capability on the vernacular fields.
  • Music searching and display: It will be possible to provide better access to music materials by creating special indexes and displays that account for uniform titles, music publisher numbers, and other aspects of retrieving music scores and recordings.
  • Browsing (heading searches): A heading search (e.g., author, series, subject) will return a list of headings. The user can then move forward or backward through this list, and scan and select the most appropriate heading, which will then return a list of bibliographic records that used that particular heading.
  • Name and subject cross references: The ability to load cross references so these will be displayed in browse displays to aid in the selection of the most appropriate name or subject term.

Telnet access is likely to be available with the release of the prototype database and will also be test driven before the production database is released.

b. Functional Acceptance Testing of the Ex Libris System

On January 28, CDL staff and campus members of the Melvyl-T Services team started a 2-week first phase of functional acceptance testing, a process that reviews each function that was delivered by the Ex Libris system to support the new Melvyl Database.  Functional acceptance testing is an important milestone for the project because it analyzes where the system functions as it should and where corrections need to be made.  This first phase tests navigational functions only, against a test database of only 50,000 records.

Soon the second phase of testing will begin, against the prototype database of 630,000 carefully selected records (see new schedule information in the previous story).  The second phase will test all the indexing, searching and retrieval features, as well as re-testing navigational functions with more data.  This testing will be conducted by campus members of all the Melvyl-T Transition Teams (Database and Technology Team, Services Team, and Education and Usability Team), and by all staff members at CDL.

The Ex Libris out-of-the-box interface is being used during this testing period, but it contains all the indexes and database architecture that CDL has developed over these months of planning for the new system.  Parallel activity continues on the CDL interface that customizes this basic interface into something recognizably CDL’s, and which will be unveiled with the Melvyl Prototype Database.

c. MLA and Ei Compendex*Plus Now Available Via Ovid

MLA Bibliography and Ei Compendex*Plus are now available via Ovid. Users can access them from the “More databases” second pull-down menu on the CDL-hosted databases home page or from the Article Databases menu on the CDL Collections and Services page.  In accessing these databases via these pages, users will encounter an interim page that gives them more information about features of other versions of the database, and retiring dates for alternate versions.  Similar interim pages, recommended by the Transition Steering Committee, will be used for transitioning databases during periods when more than one version is available.

d. UC-eLinks

The UC version of SFX linking technology, dubbed UC-eLinks [see ], has been put into operation on the first of the transitioning databases, MLA on Ovid. UC-eLinks will be activated on other Ovid, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA), and Gale databases as soon as is technically possible.nbsp; The CDL acquired the SFX software( ) from ExLibris as part of the Aleph purchase for the Melvyl Catalog and Periodicals database.

Initially, UC-eLinks will link to three services: links to e-content, links to holdings, and links to Request.  As with the current CDL linking system, links to e-content will be at the most specific level possible.  CDL Principles for development of UC-eLinks are available on the web

The CDL’s first goal in using SFX is to implement and stabilize it in the transitioning databases.  Subsequently, it will be implemented with other vendors, so that users will see a consistent service from the databases CDL and UC libraries license.  While three linking services are currently being used, eventually there can also be links to author citations, web resources, biographical information, and other kinds of information.

For more information on CDL’s Vision for Services Integration, see [CDL Vision for Services Integration []