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Magazines > Information Today > March 2004
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Information Today
Vol. 21 No. 3 — March 2004
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 your computer.

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 collaborative discussions.

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 article—VisiblePath, LinkedIn, Spoke Software, and BroadLook—and summarizes the key points each vendor addresses, what is unique about their package, their positioning within the market, and their target customers.

Daydream Believer

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 Jones.


Lauree Padgett is Information Today, Inc.'s manager of editorial services. Her e-mail address is lpadgett@infotoday.com.
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