February 21, 1996. Kansas State University library administrators knew that the system they selected to replace the library's NOTIS mainframe system had to have client/server architecture. They knew it had to meet the special needs of a large research library. As Dave Mien, KSU director of library network services, put it, "Academic libraries just won't swallow the one-size-fits-all approach" of many vendors.
And they knew that the change would have to take place during a massive $28-million construction and renovation project as well as a visionary reengineering of the work of library staffers. "When these projects are complete," said Acquisitions Department Chair Debora Madsen, "the library will be an entirely new entity. We wanted a new system to be a part of that new entity."
With such monumental change taking place, speed of implementation and ease of data migration from NOTIS were critical issues. Confident that Endeavor's Voyager 3 could meet the library's present and future needs, KSU signed a contract with Endeavor Information Systems in late May. Implementation began in mid-June, and KSU library administrators are amazed at the pace. "It has gone quite rapidly," said Karen Cole, associate dean of KSU libraries, "much more quickly than either we or Endeavor realized. All the modules are in production."
The migration of the library's data from NOTIS to Voyager 3 is a prime example of this speed. Cole said the process of data migration was expected to take two to three weeks, but the extraction and loading of some 700,000 bibliographic records, 1.2 million holdings, and 500,000 authority records, was done in less than 10 days. Several test runs, using 8,900 complex serials continuations records, demonstrated that the migration would take place without compromising the integrity of records.
Marilyn Turner, chair of the Bibliographic Control Department, said that the crucial process of data mapping for migration was made easier because both KSU librarians and Endeavor staff, many of whom worked on NOTIS, know the old system so thoroughly. Madsen noted that she, Turner, and the Endeavor staff "knew exactly where the data was parked, and how to get it out." Allen believes that Endeavor, because of this expertise, will have great success in selling Voyager 3 to libraries that currently use NOTIS.
"Acquisitions, Serials, and Cataloging went live right after the migration was complete," said Allen. According to Doug Bates, chair of the Access Services Department, the migration of patron records also went smoothly, even though it involved migrating records from NOTIS and an administrative system used for student records.
Cindy Edgington, chief designer of the Voyager system, is proudest of the migration of circulation transactions. "KSU staff shut down NOTIS circ at 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday and were up 'live' with Voyager on Monday. The 'hot cutover' of open transactions went incredibly well," she said.
Bates and Allen both said that KSU students were enthusiastic about the capabilities of the OPAC.
Choosing a system still under development by a fledgling company was an act of faith for a large research library, but KSU administrators are very happy with the results. Bates said, "Problems are taken care quite rapidly. Things get done. Things get fixed." Speaking about the Windows environment that Voyager 3 employs, Marilyn Turner said, "In cataloging, if we find that 250 times a day we repeat clicking on a selection that results in a pull-down menu, we ask for a button. The next week, we have a button."
"With some companies, you think of new releases in geologic terms," said Allen. "Endeavor works very quickly. We knew there would be growing pains, but we've been patient, and they have earned our patience with their desire to be responsive. They have certainly been willing partners."
Allen said KSU has had numerous visits and calls from libraries considering choosing Voyager 3. "We give Endeavor our endorsement. They're responsive, dedicated, and we like the fact that they are employee-owned and focused on academic libraries."
Madsen said she tells librarians considering Voyager 3 that "they're buying a company and a long range relationship and a system that will evolve."
"We bought a system under development," said Turner. "We took the Endeavor people at their word. Are they living up to their word? Absolutely."