a. Melvyl-T Update

As many readers are aware the CDL announced earlier that there would be a rollout of Melvyl-T to library staff in January 2003.  On February 5th CDL University Librarian Greenstein sent a message to campus ULs acknowledging the missed timeline and providing an update that included the following information.

Because of the size of the Melvyl catalog and the large number of catalog record sources, many challenges have been undertaken by Ex Libris, the supplier of Melvyl-T software, for the first time.  A definite “switch to production” date agreed upon by all parties has, on at least four occasions, been moved by a month or more owing to challenges Ex Libris’ has faced in record merging programs, indexing programs, and application performance under simulated user load.

Ex Libris has responded to CDL requests to devote additional resources to the Melvyl-T project.  There is evidence that the few remaining challenges will be addressed and Melvyl-T made available in mid-Spring.  While clearly not ideal, particularly from the point of view of preparing campus staff and education/outreach efforts, this outcome will yield an overlap period of 3 to 4 months with both legacy Melvyl and Melvyl-T in operation.  We understand that a longer overlap period would allow more preparatory time for library staff and a gentler migration for users.  However, as the recent transition to vendor-supplied journal article citation databases has demonstrated, we also know that users are resilient and able to move forward once their main concerns are addressed.

Meanwhile the CDL is directing efforts to investigate the costs and feasibility of extending legacy Melvyl beyond the planned retirement date of July 1, 2003, should it prove necessary.  This could provide a contingency for maintaining service if Ex Libris is unable to complete Melvyl-T in a timely fashion. However, an extension to Melvyl requires extensions to mainframe software and hardware maintenance contracts, renegotiating for data center services, loading record updates into two systems, and maintaining or finding backup expertise for decades-old programs.  The considerable expense of extending legacy Melvyl is difficult to contemplate in these times of budgetary constraints.

Regular updates will be provided to UC library administrations, advisory groups, and others.  In any case, the CDL’s goal remains the same as it has always been – through partnership with the UC libraries to deliver a union catalog of the highest quality that serves the needs of UC and beyond.