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The key to a smooth implementation is a good plan and exemplary communications with the entire staff. Develop a reasonable plan and share it with the library staff and management. The most common problem encountered in implementing a library system is unrealistic expectations. Be sure that everyone involved, including library patrons, has a good idea of what their role in the process will be, and of when various implementation activities will occur. Instructing staff members and educating users are important at all stages of the planning schedule.

As each aspect of the plan is clarified, develop a schedule anticipating each planned activity. Be reasonable in your forecasting, then double the amount of time allocated. Your timetable must be flexible since each group involved in the implementation process must agree that the time estimated for its activity is realistic. Information systems technical specialists must agree that the software installation and testing will be completed as expected; the conversion vendor must agree on the time needed to deliver your data; the software vendor must agree on the time required to install, profile and/or customize the software. The challenge to the project planner is to coordinate all of these disparate groups. It is essential to build in flexibility since each step depends on others and one delay can hold up the entire project. Expect and plan for delays!

In most successful automation projects, one person is responsible for managing the project. The project manager must be available to devote complete attention to the decisions that must be made. Ideally, this person should be familiar with processing under the current system. The project manager is usually responsible for:

    • Coordinating all implementation tasks,
    • Coordinating the various organizational units involved in the implementation project,
    • Gathering requirements from functional units,
    • Communicating project status to management and staff, and
    • Acting as liaison between the library and vendors.

The project manager implementing the IOLS might also be known as the database administrator or DBA. Familiarity with the computing environment will be necessary to integrate the library management software with other information systems. The library DBA will need to work with systems staff to ensure the availability of computer resources, to perform backup procedures, and to establish procedures for routine tasks such as regular report generation. The DBA may come from the library staff or may be an individual from supporting systems staff. The DBA needs to be familiar with (or be prepared to learn) the computer's operating system. Operating system knowledge should include the ability to login and logout of the computer system, display or print a file, run a program and submit a batch job. The DBA needs to know the host computer's file maintenance and editing procedures in order to create, edit, copy, or delete files.

In a multiple library organization, the library DBA faces an additional challenge. Each stage of the implementation project must be coordinated with every location. Staff participation and communications are especially important when many libraries are involved. The DBA's role as project coordinator is to work toward consensus in database design and in functional integration.

The library DBA also serves as the primary contact person with the vendor, collecting questions from the staff and channeling them to the vendor for resolution.

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