[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Evergreen issues and suggestions

Bryan Baldus bryan.baldus at quality-books.com
Mon May 19 14:45:51 EDT 2008

Below are some things I noticed while working on a project for one of our customer libraries (matching records, importing from OCLC when needed, and setting holdings in Evergreen).

Cataloging Editor:

In the cataloging editor, when looking at an authority record pop-up, the font on my screen is a shade of white on light gray/tan background. This makes it rather difficult to see. Is this font color an option I need to set somewhere, or is this the intended color? Why isn't the color something darker, like black--like the same color as that of the editor text? Or is this a problem with my computer's (Windows XP SP2) installation of the Evergreen client?

In the cataloging editor, if I have text selected and want to enter a delimiter/subfield code, it would be nice if the editor inserted the subfield delimiter at my selection (overwriting the selection) rather than appending a subfield delimiter at the end of the field.

In the cataloging editor, it would be nice to be able to copy entire fields (or the data in those fields, or both) rather than having to copy each subfield in parts. Among other things, this would allow copying headings as a whole to be pasted into other applications--like another application (LC authorities, OCLC Connexion) to search for the authorized form, or into a word processing program for various reasons. The ability to copy multiple lines might allow fields to be moved within a record or copied from one record to another more easily. Also nice would be the ability to delete subfield delimiters and codes without deleting the data in the subfield--for example, if, in the middle of a subfield, I accidentally added a delimiter and now want to remove it, but don't want to have to copy the data of the subfield, paste it before the delimiter I just added to be able to then delete the empty subfield. Another example: say I imported a record with a long 505 with $t, $r, and $g throughout, but I would prefer to have all in $a. As the cataloging editor is currently constructed, it appears as if I would have to copy and paste data from each of the subfields, potentially a lengthy process, rather than simply getting rid of only the delimiter and code pair. For an implementation example, see OCLC's Connexion Client.

In the cataloging editor, it would be nice to be able to make better use of arrow keys to move from field to field and within the fields--up arrow to move up to the field above, for example. At the same time, it is sometimes good that the movement is limited. For example, OCLC's Connexion Client allows freedom of movement, but sometimes the selection of text using shift-arrow or control-shift-arrow, or even using the mouse, can grab more of the field than desired (trying to reduce the selection by arrowing one direction but instead selecting the entire field).

In the cataloging editor, if one has modified a record, it might be useful for the program to prompt the user who attempts to close the tab or move to another page from that tab--a message confirming that the user is about to lose any changes they may have made.

After editing a record and saving, and then discovering another edit that should have been made, the changes made earlier are sometimes not retained--if I recall correctly, the changes appear in the MARC view, but are not always present in the MARC Editor. It seems as though this might be related to the way the database updates records--as if the updated copy of the record has not made it to the official database yet. Given a sufficient amount of time (a day or so), the changes solidify and it should be possible to update the record again without losing the changes made earlier.


Staff Client:

In the Evergreen client, if I accidentally press control-Q instead of control-W when trying to close a tab, the window containing all my tabs disappears, leaving just the Startup/Shutdown portion of the client running. Is there a way to get the main window back from this interface without having to log-off and then log-on again? If not, I do see that it is possible to retrieve the last record I was working on after logging-out and back in again, provided the client does not die while loading (which it does on occasion--either freezing while loading or when it gets to the Data loaded message, without opening the main window).

Related to the above, sometimes, right after logging into Evergreen, the Data Loaded message appears and then the program encounters an error and asks if I want the report sent to Microsoft. Looking at one report I received: AppName: xulrunner.exe. AppVer: ModName: js3250.dll. ModVer: Offset: 0001f7b5. A second report: AppName: xulrunner.exe. AppVer: ModName: unknown. ModVer: Offset: 8f8ff981. The program then goes away. Relaunching the application is usually successful.

Could "Actions for this Record"->"Set bottom interface as Default" be a workstation-level (individual PC) setting rather than an account-level setting (username qualitybooks)? It appears to apply to all using the same username rather than being limited to one workstation. There are times when 1 person here is setting holdings (Holdings Maintenance) and the other is importing records or editing records (MARC View/MARC Editor), and it would be nice to be able to set the default for each client/workstation.

In the Holdings Maintentance screen, might it be possible to have buttons for some of the more common tasks (add volume, add items)? Selecting these from the drop-down menus, either via right-clicking, or by going to the Actions for Selected Rows button, may not take much time, but when adding new items any time or mouse motion savings would be welcome. Even better, but as a longer-term goal, might be to have the buttons be customizable, as one can do in OCLC Connexion Client.

A few times, after importing from OCLC, the record failed to finish loading--it appeared to import ok, then began loading the OPAC view. It failed to finish loading that view and did not go on to load to MARC view (my default). Opening a new tab and searching by TCN usually succeeded in bringing up the record. In at least 1 instance, it was necessary to bring up 3-4 tabs before the TCN search successfully brought up the record.

In Holdings Maintenance, if the only copy is deleted from the only volume, must that always mean that the bibliographic record is marked for deletion? If so, it might be good to provide the person deleting the last copy with stronger warning about the consequences of deleting that last copy (for example, in cases where someone has imported the record, set holdings but found them to be wrong, attempted to delete the volume to be able to start from scratch, and then found that the bibliographic record had to be imported again). If any changes had been made to the bibliographic record during or after importation, those changes have to be made again or are lost when the deleted record has to be reimported.

Is there a way to move between tabs using the keyboard rather than the mouse? If I am editing one record by copying and pasting from another record in a nearby tab, it might be nice to be able to switch tabs using the keyboard rather than having to switch to the mouse. Of course, being able to copy more than the subfield data of a single subfield at a time (as mentioned above) would also reduce the number of times one has to switch from one tab to the next, for example when copying a subject heading with multiple subfields so the headings on both records will match.

The Staff Client is very slow on older computers (ca. 2002-2003), when bringing up a record, bringing up Holdings Maintenance-related screens, etc. While it is to be expected that older computers might have difficulties with newer software, it would be nice if improvements could be made to the Staff Client's responsiveness.



When there is a list of multiple search results, is there a way in the staff client to open individual records in a new tab so that the results listing will be available for subsequent access? I have tried right-clicking and clicking while holding down various keys, but I fail to get a pop-up menu with various choices, including Open in new tab. This would allow comparison between multiple records without having to do multiple searches, among other things.

While searching for a TCN, the program took a while (as it often does when searching for a TCN it can't find--when searched via shift-F3; when searched via Quick Search as TCN, the not-found message comes up relatively quickly). When I put my cursor down near the button (on the Windows taskbar, arranged in order of opening) for the Evergreen window (of tabs for searching etc.), the button moved, as if it had closed and reopened itself. It was then impossible to get the Evergreen window to come back up by clicking on the button. It also disappeared from the Alt-Tab options. I was able to get to the initial Evergreen log-in window and chose to exit Evergreen. This closed the launch window, and then the other (searching) Evergreen window came up. While attempting to get the search window back before exiting the log-in window, I did notice a small dialog box, but it disappeared before I could access it (fell behind windows for other programs I clicked on trying to get Evergreen back).

Frequently when searching for a TCN that is not in Evergreen, I get a network error message. After clicking the ignore error button, I get a message saying that it is a deleted record but would I like to display it anyway. Saying yes usually results in a pause and then a message saying that the TCN was not found.

Searching for words with diacritics may need some attention. For example, I searched by title on "Vietnamese-English dictionary". One of the results included a heading "Nguy??n, ?ình Hoà". I clicked that heading and retrieve 0 hits. Removing the diacritics from the search box (Nguyen, Dinh Hoa) does appear to bring up the record among the 15 results.

In the OPAC, advanced search, the Quick Search options for various numbers, it would be nice to have these quick searches available on the results pages, as well--either as options in the Keyword drop-down at the top, or somewhere else, but available without having to go back to the Advanced Search page each time.

In the Staff Client, it might be useful to have an option to batch search by ISBN or by TCN, which could be stored in a bucket. Along with this, it would be helpful to know which search lines did not result in a match (in an exportable format like 1 line per term in plain text, preferably).

LCCN searches don't seem to complete successfully. When I searched for LCCN 2007013351 (found on TCN ocn122338074), the initial search presented a progress bar crawl and then said there were no hits. Doing the search again returned desired 1 result. (This appears to be similar to the MARC Expert search behavior I posted about and others responded to earlier). ISBN and TCN searches seem to work without problems.


OPAC Usability:

The Staff Client offers the ability to search for a TCN and have the record come up immediately. It might be helpful if such an option were also available in the OPAC search (for example if the user searches via the Quick Search for a TCN). This would save time in having to wait for the results list display, then the OPAC record display, and then MARC display (if MARC display were the preferred display for the user--if this is an option for those who are logged in).

It would also be nice if there were a way to easily do Quick searches (ISBN, TCN, etc.) via the HTML-only interface.

It would be nice if there were an option to see the MARC display in the HTML-only version of the OPAC. Even better would be the option to have multiple records appear at once in MARC view, for example, as one can see using the Tagged option of the Advanced Search of LC's Z39.50 server (http://www.loc.gov/cgi-bin/zgstart?ACTION=INIT&FORM_HOST_PORT=/prod/www/data/z3950/locils.html,z3950.loc.gov,7090).

When visiting Evergreen's patron OPAC interface via an older computer/browser (or less compliant browser), I have difficulty in seeing all of the elements of the OPAC interface. For example, at home, I have a PowerMac 7500/G3, with Mac OS 9.2.2. I tried accessing www.gapines.org using Mozilla (latest Mac OS 9 compatible version) and I was able to see some parts of the OPAC--the basic interface, and the middle section of an advanced search, but did not see ISBN or other quick searches, and attempting to display the MARC record showed only the top part of the record; of course, Mozilla has problems with other sites, as well (often cutting off the left-most portion of a site, for example). The HTML-only (non-JavaScript/basic) version of the OPAC succeeded in presenting an ISBD formatted record. After these initial results, I did additional testing, the results of which appear below. In iCab 3.0.5 (latest version available for Mac OS 9; supposedly more compatible with modern Web features), the browser crashed, perhaps while attempting to load the advanced search page, or perhaps after a search. This, too, is not an unexpected occurrence with that version of iCab (additional information appears below).

Mozilla 1.3.1 (WaMCom; Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC; en-US; rv:1.3.1) Gecko/20030723):

At 832x624 2 searching options are available--Quick search and MARC expert search. The regular searching options that appear in the center of the screen of other browsers or in the Windows staff client do not appear--they may be off to the right, but scrolling stops around the edge of the Quick and Expert searches, which fill the screen (set at 832x624). At 1024x768, the drop-down boxes for Keyword, etc. and Contain[s], etc. start to appear. At 1280x960, I can see the input boxes.
At times, after searching and clicking on MARC Record view, I see just LDR, 001, and 003 fields. However, when I clicked Print page, the rest of the record appeared.
At times, the Loading copy information... step fails to complete (I have had this happen in the Staff Client on Windows, as well). There is no bibliographic data and the cover image icon is a broken image icon. Clicking on the link for Shelf Browser or MARC Record fail to resolve the problem. Refreshing the page sometimes allows the record data to appear.
At times when trying to view a record (going from results display), a running progress bar (looping green dots) appears and continues to display (there was a brief flash showing the record screen before the progress loop appeared). Closing the browser window and going back to the record (via copied URL) sometimes resolves this issue. Like some of the other issues seem, this may be caused by running out of memory.

At the Advanced Search page, the Log in link appears to do nothing when clicked. It is possible to log in using the My Account link and then going back to the Advanced Search page. When logged in, the Log out button also appears to do nothing when clicked.


With JavaScript on:
iCab 3.0.5: Runs out of memory while trying to load the Advanced Search page (74.5 MB allocated to the program)

iCab 2.9.9: Crashes with type 2 error while trying to load basic page or runds out of memory while trying to while trying to load the Advanced Search page (74.5 MB allocated to the program)

With JavaScript off:

iCab 2.9.9: On Advanced Search page, quick search and MARC Expert search not visible. Buttons fail to work.

Going to the HTML-only version of the catalog, I succeeded in obtaining a page of results. Clicking on one of them brings up an ok ISBD-formatted card-like display of the record. One of the links in that display is "Dynamic Details", which appears to link to the JavaScript-enabled OPAC display.


Item Status (Display Item):

There is an option to Upload from File. On exporting, there are options for Export (to clipboard) and Print Export (to printer or image file). It might also be nice to have an Export to File option for lists that may be too long to fit on the clipboard (though based on exporting 662 items, this may no longer be as much of a problem as it was when I tried exporting the list last August on an older computer).

When exporting, it might be nice if the column order were retained.


Record Overlay:

When the record to be overlaid is displayed, the right side appears to be cut off. It is possible to scroll to see the rest of the record, but there does not appear to be a way to expand the white portion of the display into the gray background so that the entire record is visible on the pop-up.

After overlaying a record, the message box indicates that the record was successfully "overlayed." Perhaps "overlaid" would be better?


Z39.50 results:

After conducting a search in Z39.50 when a previous result is in MARC View, the button for Results View/MARC View does not reset itself. As a result, it is necessary to click on the button 2 times to get the MARC to display for the results of the new search.

When clicking MARC Editor for Import, would it be better for the program to prompt at that point if an existing record has the same TCN, rather than waiting until after the record has been edited and the Import Record button is clicked? That way the person importing the record would know immediately that the record already exists in the database, before any time has been spent editing.

Sometimes when clicking the Results View/MARC View, perhaps while  the results are still loading, an error message pops up. Debug output:
Please open a helpdesk ticket and include the following text:

Tue May 06 2008 13:36:52 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)

Failure during marc view.

         has no properties",
                object XULCommandEvent



View Holds:

In the Actions for this Record menu, if I accidentally select View Holds when I meant to select Holdings Maintenance, it might be nice to be able to press the Escape key to cancel the resulting message about not having permission to view holds. Also, when I clicked the Cancel button, an alert message came up saying "!! This software has encountered an error. Please tell your friendly system administrator or software developer the following: patron/holds.xul [object Object]".



What would be involved in implementing the checks of MARC::Lint, MARC::Errorchecks, etc. in the cataloging editor, perhaps in association with the Validate button or as a related button next to it?


Thank you for your assistance,

Bryan Baldus
Quality Books Inc.
The Best of America's Independent Presses
bryan.baldus at quality-books.com

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