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Minutes NOTIS/Faxon SIG mtng at ALA, Atlanta, June 30'91 Karin Begg/Boston College 617-552-8709 12 Aug 1991 21:09 UTC

                  Faxon/NOTIS Special Interest Group Meeting

                      Sunday June 30, 1991 in Atlanta, GA

     * Introductions (Karin Begg, SIG Chair)
     * X12 claims transfer project report
                Gerald Ginsburg
                  Systems Analyst/NOTIS
                Joe Santosuosso
                  EDI Analyst/Faxon
                Bill Sozansky
                  Head, Serials Management Division
                  University of Minnesota Libraries
           Fritz Schwartz
                  Director, Client Technical Support Department/Faxon
     * Holdings transfer project report (Karin Begg)
     * Selection of new Chair
     * Other business

     After Karin Begg's welcoming remarks, Gerry Ginsburg introduced the
 X12 project report by echoing Fritz Schwartz, "[NOTIS too recognizes that
 with X12], we can drive it or be driven by it."  He said that with this pilot
 project, NOTIS is acknowledging that "electronic transfer is strategic,
 even as we're testing [its] limits."  (Select paragraphs from the minutes of
 the January 13, 1991 meeting of the SIG are appended to these minutes, to
 more fully explain the project.)  For NOTIS, the important questions that
 need to be answered include how valuable this capability might be for the
 NOTIS users, how much of it they might want and when, and how many of the
 users might want it.  [It may be noted that at the NOTIS Serials Interest
 Group meeting on July 2, Stuart Miller of NOTIS stated that "To all intents
 and purposes, we believe we will support X12 in the future." kb]

     Before leaving for another commitment, Gerry mentioned that as part
 of NOTIS' continuing explorations of X12, a second pilot project has been
 initiated.  This second project will involve the Syracuse University
 Library transmitting monograph orders from its NOTIS system to Blackwell
 North America via X12.  (Randy Erickson is the contact person at Syracuse
 for this project.)

     Joe Santosuosso then reported that the University of Minnesota
 Libraries have been electronically transmitting claims to Faxon success-
fully for about a month now, on a periodic batch basis, using the X12 869
 transaction set.  At the University of Minnesota, care has to be taken that
 the check-in records for Faxon titles are properly coded initially (with the
 Faxon title number, as for VITLS); but after that, claims to be transmitted
 to Faxon are easily downloaded into the X12 software by claims clerks who
 put an EDI code in the M statement of the NOTIS record.  (Bill Sozansky
 later mentioned that one day, two clerks who were also doing other tasks
 were able to download 225 claims - "it's magical" how fast it goes, he said).

     Once received by Faxon, the Minnesota claims have to be enhanced
 with payment information before being forwarded to the publishers.  Still,
 as Fritz Schwartz commented,  Faxon does indeed save the expected 20
 person-hours per month from not having to key the basic claims from the
 Minnesota account into the Faxon system.

     Joe said that Faxon wishes it could send claims acknowledgements back
 to Minnesota via X12, and also that Minnesota were able to send claims
 cancellations electronically.  Overall, he said, Faxon is still very pleased
 with the progress which has been made on the project.

     Bill Sozansky in turn said that he too is "very happy with the way the
 project has gone", that cooperation from both vendors (NOTIS and Faxon)
 has been consistently good and in particular, "Joe [Santosuosso] has been
 a saint" in responding to Bill's many questions. The fact that Minnesota
 processed over 1,000 claims during the month they have been doing the test
 is somewhat mis-leading on two counts, Bill explained: for one, they saved
 up old claims in anticipation, in order to have a good test; and for another,
 X12 demands that each individual issue claimed be its own transaction, that
 is, twelve separate claims rather than "volume 2, issues 1-12" as one claim.
 The claims have come from three different libraries within the Minnesota
 library system.

     The Minnesota claims staff has been keeping a very detailed log of
 any claims which they feel should have worked but didn't, and they have
 been sending those notes to both Faxon and NOTIS.  However, Bill says that
 these problems have been relatively few, and that in fact, the worst
 problem they had during the test involved hardware failure totally un-
related to the test.  Bill also said that although they have 30 ship-to-
numbers (to forestall NEODATA fulfillment problems, primarily), this has not
 caused any problems with the claims.  An unanswered question for Minne-
sota is how to handle lapses in the X12 context.

     The identification/extraction of the NOTIS claims to be fed into the
 X12 software is accomplished by a non-standard piece of add-on software
 which NOTIS wrote for this project (extension of the LB70 report process).
 This add-on is unique for the Minnesota site, and would have to at least be
 modified to work in another library and may in fact not be usable at all by
 others.  NOTIS users need to make it clear to NOTIS that X12 for this and
 other purposes is important to more than a few sites, and Bill urged that
 people make note of this in the NOTIS enhancement surveys.  He will be
 writing an article on the Minnesota project for an upcoming (this Fall)

     In response to specific audience questions, Bill explained that X12
 software (EDI/EDGE) at Minnesota is on an IBM AT PC, and asynchronous
 telecommunications to Faxon is through a Hayes 2400 modem and Kermit
 software feeding into a Faxon VAX.  The clerks at Minnesota dial into
 EDI/EDGE using a local telephone number.  Minnesota's access to Faxon is
 through IBM's InfoNet.  Other configurations are possible, however, and
 would have to be investigated for each site.  One alternative currently
 being used by Faxon for EDI is AT & T's EasyLink VAN (Value-Added Network).

     Fritz then said that from Faxon's perspective, X12 claims processing
 "is now a production service" and that he is "eager to extend it to other
 libraries."  Discussions have been initiated with Harvard as the next
 possible site in that Harvard would be able to provide the kind of software
 customization that NOTIS provided for the University of Minnesota.  Any
 other library that is interested is a candidate from Fritz's perspective.

     In order to provide the most consistent client support for EDI as well
 as for other technical production questions, Fritz has now taken on
 responsibility for the LINX Help Desk, he explained.  His new title is
 Manager, Client Technical Support Department.

     In the future,  Fritz would like to be able to pass along to libraries
 the publisher dispatch data which tells when materials have been shipped
 to the libraries.  Kluwer "is again in the forefront" in providing "error-
free" X12 dispatch data to Faxon.

     Karin then briefly reported on her efforts with the holdings trans-
fer project.  Unfortunately, she said, after eighteen months of work and
 considerable support from a number of people at Faxon, she sees the
 project at this time to be "essentially dead."  She explained that after
 having (last year) asked the libraries which had expressed interest to
 review her proposed specifications for transferring Faxon check-in data
 into the NOTIS OPAC, she worked with a programmer in Florida who felt that
 he could develop the necessary software relatively straightforwardly and
 at a cost which, if shared by several libraries, would be quite reasonable
 (under $5,000 each).

     However, support from NOTIS for the holdings project has been
 "neutral" Karin said, the geography raised obstacles with the programmer
 in Florida and the other potentially interested libraries all over the map,
 and, worst of all, the several libraries seemed to want different things
 ultimately and most often at no cost.   Karin noted that Faxon has agreed
 to pay a modest stipend to the programmer for his work in analyzing the
 specifications.  She thanked the following people at Faxon for their
 support:  Fritz, Joe, Craig Flansburg, Judy Luther, Pauline McGee, and most
 recently Mike Markwith.

     Summarizing her experience of working on behalf of the SIG over the
 past couple of years, she said it had been very gratifying.  She stressed
 the importance of the innovative X12 collaboration which the membership
 had said it wanted and which she had facilitated, a collaboration which has
 had particular impact at NOTIS which has now made a commitment to further
 pursue that standard.

     The last item on the agenda was the selection of a new Chair of the
 group.  The call for volunteers which went out with the January 1991
 meeting minutes having been unheeded, and her call to the audience at the
 Atlanta meeting similarly yielding no-one, she proposed that Bill Sozansky
 be elected Chair by acclamation (he had previously privately agreed to
 step in if no-one else would).  This was done.  Bill has been Chair of this
 group before, and has just finished a tour as Chair of the NOTIS Serials
 group.  However, his interest in promoting X12 fired his willingness in
 assuming the position of Chair of the Faxon/NOTIS SIG again.

     Karin asked for a round of applause for Faxon for doing the logistical
 arrangements for the meeting, including setting up the time and the room,
 providing coffee and cookies for attendees, taking notes for the minutes
 and later distributing copies of those minutes to attendees.  Bill then
 asked for a round of applause for Karin for her two years as Chair.  She
 thanked everyone at the meeting for their participation in the SIG

Minutes by K. Begg/July 7, 1991


>From the minutes of NOTIS/Faxon SIG Meeting, Sunday, January 13, 1991 in
 Chicago: Explanation of the X12 project.

    The X12 claims transfer capability was developed jointly by Faxon and
 NOTIS for libraries using those two vendors' systems.  This innovative
 pilot project, which was initiated as a result of needs previously identi-
fied by the NOTIS/Faxon SIG members, is using the University of Minnesota
 libraries (UMN) as a test site.  It is a definite first for libraries.

     X12 is an accepted set of data standards which is already in use in
 non-library organizations for computer-to-computer electronic trans-
mission (EDI = Electronic Data Interchange) of transactional business data
 such as purchase orders, invoices and banking activity.  X12 has recently
 made peripheral inroads into library-related markets through initiatives
 such as Faxon's transmission of claims data to seven major scientific
 publishers.  Although X12 is similar to the MARC bibliographic record format
 in that MARC also was originally designed to be a transmission format,
 unlike MARC no data is ever stored in X12 format but is always translated
 back into the format(s) of the host system(s).

     As a result of the project described at the meeting, the UMN serials
 staff will periodically extract claims data from the NOTIS check-in module
 using software developed by NOTIS for this purpose, and pass the data
 through a commercial PC software which translates the claims information
 into X12 and sends it over telephone lines to Faxon.  At Faxon the data will
 be translated from X12 into a form usable by the Faxon system, after which
 Faxon staff will enhance the data with payment history information before
 forwarding it to publishers for action.   Note was made that the manual
 process of adding the publisher-required payment information could be
 eliminated if the transmitted claims could contain the Faxon invoice--
page-line, or IPL; but NOTIS does not want to do the programming for this
 for the pilot project.