University of Florida/FCLA and NOTIS
The University of Florida (Gainesville) was the first U.S. library to purchase NOTIS;
UF staff converted the Northwestern VSE programs to run under MVS; and FCLA was the first big consortium using the NOTIS software.
In the late 1970s the different Florida State University System libraries were interested in an automated circulation system.
UF (the University of Florida – Gainesville) had an old IBM punched card system that would not be supported for much longer.
Nolan Pope had been to Northwestern and had talked to Jim and Velma and was interested in bringing NOTIS to UF, however,
it was decided that UF should be aligned with the other campuses’ initiative.
The bid process resulted in the purchase of a CLSI system for each campus.
The other campuses implemented CLSI [for Circulation], however, CLSI was unable to handle the UF libraries’ requirements,
which led to a separate procurement process for UF.
Key players in these early days were Gus Harrer (UF Director of Libraries from 1968-84),
Max Willocks (Associate Director for Public Services), and Nolan Pope (Head, Systems and Computer-Based Operations).
Integrated Computer Support for the University of Florida - PROPOSED SYSTEM PROCUREMENT [sections 1,2, and 3 only]
describes the procurement process.
It weighs the strengths and weaknesses of NOTIS, DOBIS/LIBIS, Cincinnati Electronics’ CLASSIC, and the Dataphase ALIS system at that time (May 1980).
[Thanks to Rich Bennett, former Chair of the Circulation Department, for locating this document.]
One can see that, while the NOTIS Acquisitions was rated highly and Cataloging, very highly rated,
Circulation (prior to the 1985 “New Circulation”) was less highly rated.
However, Northwestern was planning to write a new circulation module, and UF worked jointly on the functional specifications.
In addition to being a fully integrated system, I think a major attraction was NOTIS'
ability to deal with multiple libraries with their individual practices and policies.
Most large universities have several individual libraries, some being totally autonomous.
Yet libraries recognized the value in a single catalog showing all the library holdings.
At that time, other automation systems did not offer that flexibility.
In terms of assessing NOTIS, initially we focused on understanding, acquiring and installing it as it existed,
other than a few changes to accommodate local requirements and creating software to load the records from our OCLC tapes.
The joint or shared developments came later.
This (page 1) is a Dec. 16, 1980, letter from John McGowan describing a 30-day "trial use" contract with UF.
A memo in the NUL Archives from G. A. Harrer indicates the signing of a trial use agreement ("Confidential Disclosure Agreement for Computer Software") on Feb. 4, 1981.
This (pages 2-3) is a May 19, 1981, letter from G.A. Harrer saying that the purchase of NOTIS had been approved by the Governor’s Cabinet.
In April, 1981, Mark Hinnebusch started the conversion of the NOTIS software from running on IBM’s VSE operating system only to run on MVS.
I started the conversion in April , commuting from Tampa. In June, I moved to Gainesville and continued the conversion.
I don't remember when we implemented but I do remember an anecdote. When we first put out two public terminals, they were in the lobby of Library West.
I was going out to lunch and noticed both terminals in use, one by a Hare Krishna, in robes.
I thought the juxtaposition interesting. If I remember right, we put terminals in cataloging and acquisitions first,… then OPAC, and, finally, circulation.
Nolan says: "While implementing the existing modules (cataloging, acquisitions and OPAC) we worked on circulation requirements for
the new module that Northwestern was developing, and Richard Bennett did much of that work.
It was implemented in 1986/87. About 1990, the FCLA created keyword indexes and enhanced the OPAC search capabilities."
In 1985, FCLA (Florida Center for Library Automation), under the leadership of Jim Corey, Michele (Dalehite) Newberry, and Mark Hinnebusch,
was formed, and the other universities’ libraries joined UF in using NOTIS. This is a chronology of the FCLA/NOTIS history.
Note in particular the “New Circulation” entries (also described above). Nolan and Richard (Bennett) played an important role in that.
And the "MFHL" entries in 1988/9. FCLA created the programs for this major "MHLD" function which were then incorporated by NSI into the distributed package.
Notes on indexing.
Gerald Snyder writes:
My memory about the index updates is that, in the early versions of NOTIS the index changes were not complete.
Only some of the primary fields were updated.
There was a more technical problem with the indexes and the way the entries were compressed into the index blocks.
As entries were added the blocks were split. The way the blocks were keyed, there was a limit to the number of times
the block could be split, then the index had to be regenned.
At FCLA, we did some work to improve the way block splitting was handled, so that limit would not be reached.
We also did work with deleting entries, adding additional index types.
I’m sure NOTIS was also making changes to make the index updates more complete as the MHI index was introduced.
The general attitude was to just run the index regen programs once per week or so.
At FCLA, with all the universities and somewhat larger bib files, running those index generation
programs frequently had some problems fitting into our overnight batch update window.
I think we were probably more motivated to make the dynamic index updates better than many of the other NOTIS installations.
Some of the FCLA index code went back into NOTIS.
Jim Aagaard notes:
We modeled the structure of the MHI after the structure of IBM’s VSAM (they probably could have sued us for patent infringement!)
but not quite as elaborately. So particularly if there were a lot of additions that generated index entries close together,
it was necessary to regenerate (or reload) the index to restore the free space.
It should have been possible to do this by just reading out the index to a tape and then reloading it
(without going through all the bib records and actually recreating the entries) but I don’t remember if we did it that way.
I seem to remember that a similar procedure was desirable for performance reasons (if not actually required) for normal VSAM files.
Legislature appropriates $3.4 million for:
- Establishment of a center
- Hiring nine staff members
- Buying hardware
- Building databases
- Use same software for all nine universities (whether shared or not was fiscal decision)
- Use existing data centers and telecommunications network
- FCLA funded
- FCLA Advisory Board appointed
- UF library donates staff and space
- Data roundup begins: 10 years of cataloging and recon records
- Search for permanent space begins
- Contract negotiations with Northeast Regional Data Center (NERDC) begin
- New positions approved and job searches begin
- Site visits for equipment needs and site preparation begin
- Orders are generated for million+ in equipment and furniture
- Technical Services Committee established
- First FCLA staff member hired (User Services Librarian)
- Three UF library programmers transfer to FCLA (one to be Assistant Director for Computing Services)
- Data loading based on UF specs begins
- Site visits for individual data load specs begin
- FCLA Director and Assistant Director for Library Services positions filled
- Staff moves to permanent space
Decision is made to use the NOTIS system already installed at UF. The UF/Northwestern license has no restrictions on how many institutions can be supported as long as they are all using the single copy installed on one server. No additional license fees had to be paid to Northwestern. FY ends with FCLA in new quarters; with eight of nine positions filled; at least one terminal per university installed; and test databases loaded.
- Plan developed and approved for expending approx. million for authority control services, bibliographic recon, and MARC holdings creation
- Public Services Committee established
- Monthly composite OCLC subscription tape begun for ongoing data loads
- RFP for authority conversion distributed
- Bids for authority conversion let to BNA
- SOLINET MARC holdings workshop
- 3.5 million bib records shipped to BNA
- Databases for UCF, FAU, FAMU, FSU, UWF, USF, UNF and FIU loaded
- SOLINET training in LAMBDA system conducted
- NOTIS 4.0 installed
- OPAC component name chosen: LUIS
FY ends with all databases loaded with all available OCLC backlog data (3.3 million records); equipment installed (700+ terminals); and use level averaging 1.1 million CICS transactions/month with a peak in April of 1.7 million.
- Circulation system implemented at UF
- First joint meeting of Technical & Public Services Committees; 1986/87 Workplan developed
- LUIS Inauguration statewide: grand openings, ribbon-cuttings, contests, and honored guests
- All bibliographic files overlaid with BNA-processed data (i.e., changed records)
- CICS 1.7 installed enabling all SUS terminals (i.e., non-library; approx. 10,000) access to LUIS without being in NERDC's tables
- 2.3 million authority records loaded into nine databases
- LCSH loaded into reference database
- Dial-access operids for LUIS access made available to community college, school district, public, private-academic, and special libraries (no charge for computer time)
- Merged two UF processing units into one
- Implementation of PC-based OCLC/NOTIS Interface system (ONI) for uploading OCLC bib and authority records
- Continued loading of various recon, major microfilm, and more BNA-processed data
- One-third of the UF locations were changed to "sci" for the opening of the new Central Science Library; materials from five separate buildings merged into one
- NOTIS 4.3 went into production
- LUIS public catalog terminals now automatically log-on and lock into institution's database
- NOTIS 4.4 installed July 4 weekend; system was down 7/3 - 7/4; LUIS and CIRC resumed 7/5, full operations 7/6
- Circulation implemented at USF, UNF, FSU-Law, UF-Health Center; USF-Medical
- NOFA implemented at FIU (partially) and USF
- Online "tickler" file implemented
- LTEM file setup for FCLA and library staff electronic mail (FCLA used LTEM PU to communicate timely information to all SUS library staff in the time before ubiquitous email and listservs)
- Serials check-in use begun in several libraries
- FIU location codes and names changed to reflect campus name changes (involved table and data changes)
- New and changed author, title and standard number entries merged into indexes nightly
- Substantial changes to LC call number indexing result in 293,000 fewer entries in the "other" index
- Reference Database Sub-Committee appointed to study and recommend strategies for access to other databases
- The Post Secondary Education Planning Commission is charged by the Legislature to study FCLA's mission, governance, and scope
- Single processing unit split into two separate units for UF Health (HC and JX) and USF (SF and SA)
- Loaded non-duplicate GPO data for FAMU, FAU, FIU, USF; specs in process for UF and UWF
- First Global Change run: 38,092 records changed in 10 databases for 46 obsolete subject headings
- Institution name appears on each LUIS screen software
- Numerous software changes and fixes to NOFA and data integrity fixes to fund, order, invoice records
- ONI enhanced to handle M300 save screen data and USMARC data from approval plan vendors uploaded via diskettes
- Prototype of union author and title indexes operational in test with implementation scheduled for Summer 1988
- SOLINET LAMBDA display data loaded into VHLD records
- Functional specs for creating, loading, storing, and maintaining MFHL data developed
- 1000+ terminals installed
- Union author and title index operational to provide a rudimentary union catalog
- Circulation module implemented at FAMU, FAU, FIU, SFCC
- MFHL extract program developed
- NOFA fund data validation
- Subfield h bracket resolution
- MFHL Phase I programs completed
- Install NOTIS 4.5
- Implement circulation at FSU and UCF
- Implement course reserve online
- Acquisitions implemented at FAMU, FAU and FSU
For all intents and purpose, the original FCLA 5-Year Plan is is complete: the SUS libraries are implemented on NOTIS.
- Conversion of VHLD records to new MHLD format (356,000 records)
- Name Authority Update service which matched incoming authority records to bib records and produced reports
- Continued loading of Major Microform tapes
- Installation of NOTIS version 4.5.1
- LUIS access to call number and standard number (e.g., LCCN, ISBN) indexes
- Load UNF's database of selected Florida Times Union article citations
- MHLD online derive/overlay function
- Merged Headings Index (MHI) software installed in techmode -- new indexes generated (for display of cross -references and online updating of indexes)
- NOTIS 4.6 installed
- MHI-LUIS developed, tested, and implemented
- Union index recreated in MHI format
- Record extraction software enhanced for full MFHL output
- Batch update of MHI indexes for tapeloaded and ONI interfaced records
- Enhancement to enable renumbering of receipt, memo and note statements in order records
- Enhancement to online HAS command in circulation
The major accomplishments of the year were MFHL conversion and MHI implementation, both projects required considerable personnel resources for programming and user support.
- Automatically renumber R, M and N statements
- Enhance HAS command
- External Billing transfer report
- Loaded MeSH test file
- Dynamic update of standard number indexes
- Creation of union standard number index
- Dynamic update of union standard number index
- Dynamic update of union author/title index
- ONI Conversion to handle new OCLC system "export"
- Generate Keyword Index project
- Search keyword project
- Convert techmode search to pseudo-conversational
The major accomplishment was the development of the keyword search engine. FCLA never implemented the BRS version of KWB because of the high cost. Originally quoted a price of ,000, FCLA was caught short when, once the funding had been secured, the price was raised to ,000. Instead of spending the money on a 3rd party option, FCLA programmers developed the functionality in-house. The other major accomplishment was the conversion of all the other NOTIS indexes to real-time updating thus freeing the batch update window from frequent index regens.
- KWB activities: LUIS keyword project (LUIS/keyword connection); Proximity subroutine development ; Boolean operation subroutines
- Databases: ERIC, IAC EAI and Business backfile, CRL, Wilson ASTI and BAI loads
- Expenditures by class report
- CIRC backup via NOW!
- 5.0.2 LUIS Project
- Standard # index in OPAC
- Separate LUIS screens for citation dbs & OPACs (FCLA needed a method for users to switch catalogs before NOTIS developed MDAS so FCLA never implemented MDAS; this made loading citation databases an easy decision)
- Fix SuDoc call # index and search
- Added X (everything) and TJ (journal title) searches
- 5.0 index display modifications
- Incorporate 4.6 index into 5.0 LUIS
- Convert all databases to conform to 5.0
- ERIC and IAC reloads especially for 5.0
- Sea Turtles database
- Enhance menu system for institution customization
- 5.0 OPAC improvements including long GUIDE screen
- Display of A23 notes in brief/long view
Much of this year was spent on the preparatory work for projects that completed the next year.
- Convert CIRC macro assembler code to command
- Convert techmode to CICS command
- Develop online dynamic update for ONI (FCLA's OCLC-NOTIS Interface)
- Load PsycInfo, PsychInfo Book Chaptesr, Books-in-Print, Current Contents and Compendex Plus databases
- Develop Search limiting by Processing Unit
- Develop “Hook-to-holdings” – ability for users to view holdings from the OPAC records while viewing journal article citation records
- Develop Proximity operators for keyword
- Modified NOTIS to store USERIDs in all records (for security)
- Implemented Keyword searching in tech mode
- Developed Boolean Search limits (date, format, lang) and multiple KWB truncation
- Created platform to support Florida Entomologist online, FCLA’s first open access online journal supported
- Load PsycInfo backfile; Medline (1992 - to date); Wilson's ILP and ART; and BIP databases
- Load LC Name Authority backfile
- Load Databases: UMI's ABI/Inform and Dissertation Abstracts; Wilson 6-pack, ASTI & ART abstracts;
- Create a Table of Contents (TOC) index for Current Contents and IAC General Academic & Business
- Create new LUIS course reserve indexes: rc=,ri=,ra=,rt=
- Develop dynamic indexing for the Course reserve index
- LUIS display of unlinked items in course reserves
- Implement Location and Location Group limiting in keyword searches
- Complete pseudo-conversational code rewrite
- Develop the (output to) TAPE Command for multi-PU institutions
- Implement VITLS for 5.1.2
- Begin Acquisitions DB2 project
- Unit cost report out of the DB2 project
- Download/Print Phase 1 to email
- Develop Browse of keyword index (command is bk=)
- Complete Format Integration
- Develop a LUIS view with holding/status in techmode
- WebPortal (web 3270 emulator)
- Develop indexes for vendor/invoice/fund/order records
- Load IAC EAI and Business ASCII full-text
- Extend LUIS hours almost 24 hours a day
- OPAC load modifications to handle alternate cataloging sources for outsourcing (e.g. Blackwell and Yankee)
- Load Bowker Distributor/Publisher database
- WinONI (Windowsbased ONI with tcp/ip)
NOTE: over a three-year period, FCLA staff significantly modified the NOTIS code so that it can run with the most current IBM system to take full advantage of system resources. This required converting the CICS transactions to pseudo-conversational code and rewriting the software from Macro-level Assembler code to Command level. These changes were given back to Ameritech Library Systems to be incorporated into the base NOTIS package. This project was done at the same time many new features and functions were being added to the LUIS/NOTIS system.
- New WebLUIS released.
- Hold, renew, recall available from WebLUIS via email.
- PC-based cataloging client (CATALYST) released.
- PC-based inter-library loan client (SILLC) released.
- PC-based serials client released for beta testing.
- University system-wide circulation (e.g., resource sharing) available.
- Electronic Theses and Dissertations hosted for UF.
- Search for new LMS continuing.
- Online renewal of checked-out materials available.
- Electronic materials ordering available.
- First PALMM collections: Florida Heritage Collection, Linking Florida's Natural Heritage and Reclaiming the Everglades released.
- Search for new LMS continuing.
All university libraries migrated to Aleph 500 after an extensive and highly inclusive procurement process.