Computers in Libraries
Vol. 22, No. 7 • Jul/Aug 2002 

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Features That Fit
by Kathy Dempsey 

Unless you're a brand new subscriber, you already know all about our annual Computers in Libraries Buyer's Guide and Consultants Directory. You know that we spend half the year compiling this resource to make your life easier. We get updated information from all sorts of vendors about what they sell, where they are, and how you can find them. We hope you'll refer to it all year long!

And even if you are a longtime subscriber, let me remind you about the otherpart of our Guide—the Consultants Directory. We have four pages that list all sorts of folks who can help you make decisions about what to buy for your library, or how to set it up, or how to market your services once they're in place. Don't forget to refer to this valuable section, which begins on page 82.

Now then, for both old and new subscribers, we have a wealth of feature articles too. First and foremost, Eric Flower has contributed his annual overview on the computer industry. (I believe this is his 10th one!) In a sort of "looking back and looking ahead" piece, he notes what the three major PC manufacturers predicted a few years ago, tells you what's happening now, and concludes that their predictions might be pretty much on the mark. If you're a big-picture person, this feature is for you!

Next we have the perfect PC primer, all about "what's under the hood." If you're not a super-techie person, this is a wonderful explanation of what's going on in there. If you think you already know all that stuff, and you're about to skip this article, reconsider: It's written so that it's simple to understand, yet it is so complete that it explains lots of little things that you always hear about, but couldn't really define. For fairly experienced techies, it's not only a great review but also a great way to see what's new today as far as peripherals and speeds. So, regardless of your technology background, if you're aiming to buy computers, use this article to brush up before you make your choices.

Finally then, we have that after-the-fact feature. You've found and purchased new automated library system software—now what? How do you begin to use it to its fullest potential? How do you re-learn, retrain, and revamp your procedures? This author, a former vendor rep who trained staffs after they bought new systems, will share all the secrets. Foremost among them are forgetting your old ways of doing things and your old limitations; reconsidering old procedures; and having the guts to redesign your work flow to fit your new system. Blasphemy, you say? Total chaos would ensue? Don't be so sure! Read his reasoning (starting on page 24) and he may convince you that you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

Happy shopping, and happy summer. See you in September.

Kathy Dempsey, Editor

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