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 AGENDA: * 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) NOTISes. 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 process. 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.