Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lessons Learned from an Infocentre Upgrade

As part of my duties here at NTRLS, I consult with our member libraries on their Integrated Library Systems (ILS). I was at the John Ed Keeter Public Library of Saginaw yesterday assisting them with their migration from Sagebrush Athena to Follett’s Infocentre. Saginaw uses Novell, which was a challenge because Novell is not my primary area of expertise. Here are some lessons learned from the experience.

1. Test, Test, Test. I encouraged Saginaw to set up a test environment before attempting to migrate their “live” system. I did this because if something goes wrong in a test environment, you can easily recover whereas if something happens when migrating a “live” system, it can be devastating.

2. Call, Call again and Call one more time. Follett’s customer service was backed up with phone calls. We called at 11:15 am when we encountered our first issue with the migration. We didn’t hear anything back until after 2 pm and this was after we called them twice more. We, of course, continued to troubleshoot the issue while we waited, but it was still frustrating to have such a poor response time.

3. Download from a faster location if available. Saginaw does not have the fastest Internet connection so I had downloaded some of the required software the night before from my house where my connection is much quicker. Despite this, I still had to spend about an hour downloading some other software. If you have access to a fast connection, I highly recommend you use it.

4. Patience, Patience and more Patience. I hate to report that we never did get it to work correctly. This was actually my second visit to the library to attempt the migration in the test environment. I wanted to try again because Follett released version 2.2 of the Infocentre product. My hope was the newer version would fix whatever was causing the connection failure. We haven’t given up. Follett has upgraded our support request to the next tier and I am going to be on the hunt for a Novell expert who might be able to give us a hand.

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