In Other Words
Networking, Migrating, and Aggravating
By Lauree Padgett
Sigh. It seems like "Yesterday," not 40 years ago,
that John, Paul, George, and Ringo invaded the U.S.
with their "really big" debut on The Ed Sullivan
Show. While the Fab Four were causing general pandemonium
and hoarse voices within the teeny-bopper ranks, I
was toddling around in my "terrible twos" phase, no
doubt causing my own brand of chaos. Now, though much
older, I'm still quite capable of instigating all sorts
of trouble. However, I'm going to be good and pass
along some groovy articles from Computers in Libraries, MultiMedia & Internet@Schools,
and Searcher that are sure to be of "Help."
A Long and Winding Road
Did you hear the news, oh boy, about ILS migration?
Then pay close attention to the excellent guide Qin
Zhu has written: "Two Critical Stages for a Successful
ILS Migration" (Computers in Libraries, March
2004, p. 26). Systems migration is a complex project
with multiple stages. In this article, Zhu focuses
on the two areas she has found to be the most important:
system profiling and data conversion. She notes: "Without
proper server configuration, you will not be able to
install the ILS software. And without appropriate ILS
settings, you will not be able to map the data from
your current system to the new system."
It all starts with configuration. The easiest route
is to let the new ILS vendor provide the service. If
you have the support to do so, maintaining the server
locally will give you more flexibility. In this stage,
you'll look at login settings, acquisitions and ordering,
cataloging, authority and serials control, and policies
regarding circulation and user management. Zhu suggests
getting input from all library service areas about
these system-setting selections.
Once all of these issues have been studied and addressed,
it's time to set the most complex part of the migration
into motion: data transfer. Most likely, you won't
be able to directly load data from your current system
into the new one. First, the data will have to be mapped
and converted into what the new system will recognize
as the loadable format. Either the old or new vendor
can provide data-conversion services if you don't have
the expertise to do the conversion in-house.
Before migrating an entire set of records, always
do a thorough sample test that will feature a group
of diverse records. What should you be looking for?
Zhu suggests record displays, a record index, and item-holding
information. To put it another way: Don't say goodbye
to your old version before you know you have successfully
said hello to the new one.
Here, There, and Everywhere
And you thought 300-plus spam messages a day were
a problem. Malware, a collective term for all the viruses,
Trojan horses, and malicious code software lurking
on the Web and ready to inflict all kinds of computer
trouble, makes spam sound almost pleasant. As Russell
Smith explains in "Survival in a Malware World" (MultiMedia & Internet@Schools,
March/April 2004, p.10), "Malware writers want to cause
damage to as many different users as possible." But
luckily, Smith also tells you how to beat malware by
installing programs that will build a safety net around
Although they're a good first line of defense, firewalls
don't always keep malware out. Smith rates the Norton
Internet Security 2004 software security buffer as
one of the best products around. The package includes
Norton Antivirus, Norton Personal Firewall, and Norton
AntiSpam. This product can block pop-up ads, let you
filter spam messages, and offer privacy control to
keep your personal data safe.
As an added precaution against spyware, which can
infiltrate your machine, display program ads, and also
transmit info about your surfing habits (and more)
to the Internet, Smith recommends the freeware program
AdWare and a "donation-ware" program called Spybot
Search and Destroy.
What about total crash and burn? USB flash memory
drives enable you to back up key data files and store
them on a second machine. But when you forget to back
up, you may need to rescue accidentally erased files
or those that have become damaged. Then it's time for
Jufsoft's BadCopy Pro. This product can retrieve data
from a variety of damaged media.
So now that you know about malware, beat it before
it beats you. That way, you don't end up looking like
the fool on the hill.
A Little Help from Your Friends
According to Marc Solomon ("Searching Becomes Conversing," Searcher,
March 2004, p. 16), social networking software (SNS)
is "an artificial, low-risk enhancement for turning
strangers into business contacts." It works through
a new kind of specialty search engine. Solomon writes, "The
search engine challenge lies in going beyond the Rolodex-like
field constraints found within the common business
card and creating an information base nurturing enough
to unite two strangers."
Data-mining companies are creating dossier-gathering
tools. Content-mining tools find executives, not executive
summaries, by extracting the source of information
from resources such as management journals. With SNS,
the distinction between primary and secondary research
is blurred, as the published word is combined with
the verbal word. Background information comes from
a variety of data, including company Web sites, news
wires, and industry-specific newsgroups. Other vendors
are reaching beyond enterprise data and public documents
to draw resources from listservs, blogs, and Web-based
A common sales interface would display browsable
data fields: company name, team relationships (cumulative
contacts within the workgroup to the targeted account),
date of last known contact, etc. A separate page would
show the degrees of separation between the request
initiator and the search target. This ensures that
the person with the closest connection to the target
will make the next important contact.
Solomon's article includes three charts that help
better define SNS. "Critical Success Factors" looks
at the challenge, resolution, and prognosis of SNS-based
business deals as well as social games, highlighting
both the intoxicating effects and diversifying outcomes.
If you want to compare how SNS works within knowledge
management, reputation management, referral networks,
and people finders, check out the "Market Evolution" table.
Finally, Solomon takes the four vendors that are featured
throughout the articleVisiblePath, LinkedIn,
Spoke Software, and BroadLookand summarizes the
key points each vendor addresses, what is unique about
their package, their positioning within the market,
and their target customers.
At the height of Beatlemania, I fell for my first
teeny-bopper idol. Maybe it was his British accent
or the fact that at 5'3" he seemed more my size, but
something about the Monkees' Davy Jones made my 5-year-old
heart go pitter-patter. Soon, I was singing along with
the "Prefab Four" and had learned how to rig the record
player so it would keep spinning "I'm a Believer." Tonight,
as this "sleepy Jean" heads to bed, I think I'll pop
my new Monkees compilation into the CD player. With
any luck, I'll soon be daydreaming of a springtime
full of Pleasant Valley Sundays. And, of course, Davy
Lauree Padgett is Information
Today, Inc.'s manager of editorial services. Her e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.