18 May 1992
To: Library Department Heads (please route)
From: John R. Haak, University Librarian
Re: Microcomputer Support
The Library Administration recognizes that library reliance upon microcomputing technology has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. The increasing numbers of micros and the wide variety of uses to which they are being applied, highlights the need for more explicit structuring of support for the installed base of microcomputers. The microcomputer has become as common to virtually every facet of library work as the typewriter once was. Library staff now depend on the 94 currently installed microcomputers and 60 micro peripherals for the entire range of library endeavors including, but not limited to, online searching and demonstrations, the preparation of instructional/presentation materials and correspondence, as CARLterm cataloging, OCLC and RLIN workstations, as diacritics and image display terminals, for standalone database management, and CD-ROM database access.
The Library Systems Office has attempted to provide support for library microcomputer initiatives as an ad-hoc extension of its charge to develop and maintain the centralized automated system. During the time that the ALOHA automated system was essentially stable and consisted of only 3 modules, the Library Systems Office was able to almost keep abreast of micro support even though only one staff position was partially (30% FTE) allocated to this function. This informal approach made sense as long as library-wide microcomputer usage was fairly limited in scope, specialized, and usually related to interfacing with the integrated online system.
Now that microcomputers are used for innumerable purposes throughout all library departments, centralized support out of the Library Systems Office without the formal assignment of many additional staff is no longer feasible. In addition, centralized support for software is not currently feasible due to the wide range of tasks and types of products in use.
Administration has worked with the Library Systems Office to define the components of microcomputer support and to determine what functions can be effectively supported by the Library Systems Office and which functions must be handled in other ways. Please review the attached Microcomputer Purchase Request Procedure with the following in mind.
1. Determination of source of funding is the domain of the Administration.
2. Systems Office will continue to be responsible for maintenance of all microcomputer-based equipment related to library-wide services or initiatives (for example, public CD-ROM database access, cataloging, diacritics, handicapped, and cataloging workstations) and to maintain the in-house automation equipment inventory, and act as technical consultant and representative on library-wide automation equipment maintenance contracts. Systems Office will remain responsible for acquisition of new library-funded microcomputer hardware for departmental use. This will include purchase preparation and initial basic installation.
3. Systems Office will perform the first diagnostic pass on malfunctioning departmental microcomputer equipment within 5 working days of receipt of a report. After diagnosis, Systems Office will recommend a possible course of action, but responsibility for arranging for repair or replacement will rest with the department and the Fiscal Office. It is recommended that departments make "fallback" plans to compensate in the event that equipment upon which the unit is dependent for its day-to-day "products" fails.
4. Software purchase and installation, troubleshooting and usage instruction are the domain of the departments. Systems Office will support only software purchased for its own or Administrative use. Book order forms should not to be used for ordering departmental software.
5. Each department is to designate a microcomputer liaison to coordinate the microcomputer/equipment-related priorities and requests of the unit. The microcomputer liaison for each department will be responsible for interfacing with the dept. head, the Library Systems Office, and the Fiscal Office. Please submit the microcomputer liaison names to Lucy Usui by June 15.
Please forward questions to your department head for discussion in the POA or PS Heads meetings.