Indianapolis-Marion County Library & Horizon Site Visit
May 2, 2002
v 13 people traveled to Indianapolis on May 2 to see the Horizon product (4 LTLS staff, 9 LINC Policy Council members)
v We met with a total of 18 staff members from IMCPL – Head of Circulation, Head of Collection Development, Head Webmaster, Automation Head, Cataloging Head, Training Coordinators, Processing Head, Glendale Branch Manager and others.
v IMCPL Staff stepped us through a discussion of why they chose Horizon 3 years ago. They summarized the RFP process, said they were looking for not only a future-oriented product but also a vendor they could work with who would ‘build’ a product to fit their needs. Out of two finalists, they felt epixtech was the best choice. They moved from a GEAC system to Horizon.
v The staff described the training process, how the migration was handled. Library staff (500) were first trained on PC/Windows, then Horizon. Talked about their process of marketing the ‘switch’ to the public, preparing for the migration of not only data but also staff workflow and public use of the system. They migrated their catalog first, and then followed that two months later with coming online with Horizon (in retrospect, they said they would not recommend this).
v IMCPL consists of a main Central library and 22 branches. Their automation consortium also includes additional partners, including All Saints Catholic School, Bishop Chatard High School, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Bureau of Jewish Education, Cardinal Ritter High School, Cathedral High School, Covenant Christian High School, Decatur Central High School, Eiteljorg Museum, Eliza Hendricks School, Heritage Christian Elementary School, Heritage Christian High School, Indiana School for the Blind, Indiana School for the Deaf Alumni Hall, Indiana School for the Deaf Elementary, Indiana School for the Deaf Preschool, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lutheran High School, Roncalli High School, and Scecina High School. Grant monies were initially used to automate these partners but they now pay a yearly fee for this service.
v All purchasing, processing, and cataloging is handled by the IMCPL Library Services Center. OCLC is their cataloging source.
v IMCPL has several full-time programmers on staff that do custom programming. As they demonstrated the Horizon system, it was sometimes difficult to tell whether they were using Horizon or their own web-based documents (workflow shortcuts, forms, etc.) to do their work. But they reiterated several times that they work with epixtech to incorporate some of what they have customized with the Horizon product. Or, they ask for custom programming based on their local needs and that can usually be done by epixtech.
v LTLS representatives broke into groups – system administration, circulation, and cataloging/processing to see more in-depth demos of the system.
Comments from those in the groups included:
v “ Anyone who is familiar with the Windows environment will be comfortable using Horizon, however there are several layers of windows in some of the functions, and staff would have to learn to "dig deep" into the layers and remember where some functions are. (Perhaps there are keystroke shortcuts???)”
v “A big plus--far less use of passwords once the employee has logged on.
v Passwords are built into an employee's profile and don't require constant repeating.”
v “ I would want to see it again, perhaps in another demonstration at LT, this time as a hands-on experience. I would have liked to see printed reports and more of the modules, for example, Serials.”
v “ IMCPL is in some ways a consortia with interlibrary loan going on, so it's reassuring to see that working”
v “ I like the receipt printers and the self-checkout stations and would want a product that supports them.”
v “I was with the group that looked at circulation at the main library and museum. The thing that impressed us all was that a functional password was not required! We watched at the desk while phone calls came in requesting books and he was able to VERY quickly check availability of the book, let the patron know of any overdues or fines, check the patron's address, and place the hold.”
v “It appeared that all the terminology, etc. is the same as Dynix, so that would ease the switch.”
v “At Glendale branch, the Pac had no means to search and mark selected items, then print them as a saved list. The express Pac’s did (had the "receipt printer" types of printers) and you could print a singe brief record with call # or a group of saved items. The format of that printout is like a wide cash register tape. The search results printed info is minimal: call #, title, author (some if this looked more like a note), and format. It's enough to go find the item(s) but not what you might want for documentation if you were doing a paper. The Librarian said they could do a list / print from staff catalog and that they used to have the feature on the public Pac. She was surprised to find it was no longer there. (have sample printouts)”
v “We talked to George at the main branch about acquisitions module. They are using it, but sounds like they don't find it wonderful for their purposes. A clerk had a list generated from the Baker and Taylor online source, from which they download records for potential orders into acq, then generate a purchase order from it. If I understood correctly, the records do not show in the catalog until the po function is generated. He said there are 2 ways to get the bib record into the catalog: create the record in cat module and download it, or create the record in acq and generate / print the record as part of a po. (this does not work well for them). The module does not seem to have a wish list, cart holding (potential orders from staff) function. There is a PR subsystem (?) that can, but his dept doesn't use (?) He would be happy to talk to anyone further.”
v “It sounds like Horizon's acq module is much less complex than our text acq, but it sounds like it has a lot less detail. Sounded like the hierarchy set up was similar. Best news - no constant passwording!”
v “The "borrower account procedure" handout I picked up indicates a user login with pin # to account (pin is last 4 digits of lib card #). From this you can review and renew (if not on hold), view holds (including canceling or changing pickup location), make holds (can search from in acct and place hold), view fines etc, change pin, sign up for email notification, send a ref question, ask for an ILL, make a purchase suggestion, get to online databases.”
v “There were two parts of the Horizon system that I liked - the information that comes up on the screen at check in and the icons used on the public screens. I think these may be customized features, but both would be better than what we have now. The part that gave me misgivings is that several features that we asked about they said they had customized. I would like to see the basic product in case we could not customize our system.”
v IMCPL staff admitted that the two modules that are weakest are Serials and Acquisitions. They have not implemented Inventory or Reserve Room at this time.