American Library Association
Midwinter Meeting 2006, San Antonio, Texas
RLIN21 Users Discussion Group

The RLIN21 Users Discussion Group meeting was held on Sunday morning, January 22, 2006 from 10:30-12:30.

There were approximately 12 of us in attendance, and it seems to be the same people at every meeting. I was surprised that Barbara Tillett joined the meeting. I guess everything isn't RDA-all-the-time for her.

Karen Smith-Yoshimura and Joe Altimus represented RLG. The first thing Karen discussed was the delay in batch loading records. RLG plans to finish all the loading by August 2006, admittedly much later than they'd expected. The dataloads are prioritized by the size of the contributor, i.e., since LC contributes the most records, their records were loaded first. SHARES members also have a priority before other institutions. In answer to why everything was taking so long, Joe Altimus said that in the change from the mainframe IBM to their new system, the toolsets had to be rebuilt, and some other technical details that I didn't understand.

Karen said she made daily spreadsheet reports of the progress of the data loads based on the reports of the programmers. Several people mentioned that since RLG has this information, it should be shared with RLIN21 users. For example, if your library always chooses copy from NYPL, and NYPL is far back on the list, you can choose another institution to pick copy. SCIPIO users said it was particularly difficult for them. As institutions have coverage responsibilities, and their records are not available on SCIPIO, it seems to other institutions they have not fulfilled their share of the work. Karen seemed amenable to issuing status reports.

The second major topic was the extraordinarily slow response time in the RLIN21 client. Apparently Z39.50 connection is somewhat faster. With the Client, working very early in the morning on the east coast, and late in the day on the west coast seems to be successful, but that’s not much of a solution.

I reported a couple of problems I’ve noticed. One is the system freezing. I frequently have two sessions open and if one session is not constantly engaged, it often freezes. At that point, sometimes it revives itself and sometimes it needs to be shut down. Philip Melzer of LC said he has noticed the same problem. Another problem I reported was the failure of some of the restored limit searches. For example, in limiting a search, 260 subfield b is successful because they’ve indexed publisher’s names. 260 subfield a, which I frequently used in old RLIN, does not work, as it begins a search of the entire database -- not likely to be successful.

I also asked about several other features that were lost in the transition -- such as the “mul” command to return to a list. Without it, you’ve got to do the search again.

In reply to another question, Karen said that with the integrated database, pre-limiting one’s search to a specific format is no longer possible. When one is looking for a serial title, it’s turned into a very cumbersome search procedure.

Karen suggested chaining commands, which she said works on clusters larger than 10,000 records. For example: ti history of the united states;lim li dclc or lim loc dclc, will return titles held by the Library of Congress in one search request. ti Syria;lim mat con will return serial titles with Syria in the 245 (and not only in subfield a). All of the instructions for these searches are on the “Database help” area at the top of the screen.

In response to a question regarding the “colon searching problem,” Karen suggested using the new adjacency search. She said with this particular search, the more words used in the search, the better. Some people said they hadn’t heard of this feature, but it had been publicized in the News area on the opening screen.

Other topics included the optional client upgrade for UTF-8 export and planning for the 2006/2007 Client 4.0 which is scheduled to include more script support, expanded Han character repertoire, planning for scripts in LC/NACO authority records, and addressing navigational issues.

At the end of the meeting, Karen distributed screenshots of possible changes to the RLIN21 screens. Basically this rearranged some of the display of the information. The new display showed a drop down menu, rather than the buttons. The attendees were evenly split in their preference. Several people suggested having the choice for other RLIN databases on the top portion of the display so the user needn’t scroll down to choose another database. It was also suggested that RLIN not take up valuable screen space with their standard “You are searching: …” text box, but put searching news and announcements in that space.

Another possible change would be to replace the arrow keys, currently at the bottom of the screen, with the text: first, previous, next, and last.

Another feature that may be forthcoming will be easier selection of records for printing, and eliminating some of the steps currently required to print an individual record.

Finally, Karen said she reads every message sent through the Feedback response at the top of the screen. If there are any searches that don’t work, features from old RLIN that are not available in RLIN21, or any other matter, this is the place to let RLG know.

Report by Elizabeth Lilker

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