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MicroLinx Survey Responses (W. Ted Rogers) ANN ERCELAWN 30 Mar 1994 01:28 UTC

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 1994 09:27:38 -0500 (EST)
From: W Ted Rogers <WTR100F@ODUVM.CC.ODU.EDU>
Subject: MicroLinx survey responses

I want to thank all of the respondents to my recent MicroLinx
survey posted on SERIALST.  Their responses have proven very
useful and will serve us well as resources for our upcoming
migration from SC-10 to MicroLinx.  Several of the respondents
expressed an interest in knowing the results.  For them and any
other parties, here are the results:

MicroLinx Survey

1.   How long have you had experience with Faxon's MicroLinx
     system?  With what versions have you had experience?  With
     what other systems (both standalone and integrated) have you
     had experience?

     There were six (6) responses to the question.  The responses
     to the question on length of experience with MicroLinx had a
     range of .333... year to 8.0 years, a mean of 5.3888...
     years, and a median of 6.5 years.  Most respondents'
     experience with other systems were limited to previous
     versions of MicroLinx and manual systems; one did note
     experience with two integrated systems and one in-house Vax

2.   How  many active titles are in your MicroLinx database?  Do
     you maintain inactive titles (e.g. ceased titles, previous
     titles, etc.) in your MicroLinx database?  If so, how many
     inactive titles are in your database?

     There were six (6) responses to the question regarding
     active titles in the database.  These had a range of 1200 to
     4000, a mean of 3100, and a median of 3800.  There were five
     (5) responses to the question regarding inactive titles, but
     only four (4) specified numbers.  These four had a range of
     0 to 1500, a mean of 750, and a median of 750.    Two
     respondents did not specify whether the numbers given were
     active and inactive or just inactive.  These two responses
     were 4500 and 5000 titles respectively.

3.   Do  you split your database between different
     terminal/workstations?  If so, how many terminals do you
     have for MicroLinx?  Have you had any specific problems
     caused or exacerbated by splitting your database between
     workstations, e.g. receiving invoices, generating claims,
     running reports, etc.?  Please give details.

     There were six (6) responses to the question regarding
     splitting the database.  None of the respondents split their
     databases.  Of these, two had one standalone terminal-
     workstation only, one had one active standalone with one
     backup (used for searching and report generating); another
     respondent had one active standalone and two view-only
     backups.  There was one respondent who had one active
     standalone with three view only backups, and a final
     respondent who had the active database loaded on a LAN
     server with many workstations (access to database was
     limited to one at a time).

4.   Do you receive your invoices on diskette or online?  If so,
     how well does this work?  How are supplemental invoices and
     credit memos handled?

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  One
     respondent received all types of invoices on diskette;
     another used to but had since moved the financial aspects of
     serials management to the acquisitions module of an
     integrated system.  Three (3) respondents received regular
     invoices on diskette but supplementals and credit memos were
     loaded manually or not loaded at all -- two (2) of these
     respondents stated explicitly that MicroLinx was not used
     for budget management/fiscal control.  One respondent loaded
     all invoices manually by choice.

5.   How much time do you devote to the claiming process with
     MicroLinx?  Does this interfere or create backlogs for

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  One
     respondent ran claims on a monthly basis, one on a triweekly
     basis.  Four did not specify frequency.  Two said their
     claims were generated overnight with 3 to 4 hours and 4 to 5
     hours for review respectively.  One claimed 3 hours to
     generate and 4 hours to review.  One stated that it took one-
     half hour per 500 (I assume s/he was specifying the time it
     took MicroLinx to generate claims although this was not
     explicitly stated).  One claimed it took one day for two
     people to review.  The final respondent did not specify the
     time for generation nor the time for review but did note
     that the whole process could be accomplished in one week
     from initiating claim generation to downloading to diskette
     for forwarding to Faxon; s/he also noted that going through
     each title one by one was still the most efficient.

6.   Is MicroLinx fairly accurate in claiming, i.e. does it claim
     issues that have already been received and/or not claim
     issues that are overdue?

     There were six (6) respondents to this question: two who
     stated that MicroLinx was fairly accurate in claiming and
     four who claimed it was accurate so long as the pattern
     information input was done correctly and accurately.

7.   How much time do you devote to generating reports?  Have you
     been able to schedule report generation for off-hours?
     Please explain.

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  Four
     stated that the reporting function was too inflexible and
     that the reports had too much detail -- one remarked that
     s/he was looking into the MReport option; another remarked
     that s/he decided against the MReport option as s/he was due
     to migrate to an integrated system.  Two commented that, in
     addition to the inflexibility and the overload on detail,
     the report function was too slow.  One respondent who gave
     no qualitative judgement stated that it took ten minutes to
     generate the check-in report, 15 minutes for the bindery
     report (averaging 100 items), and 20 minutes for monthly

8.   What sorts of reports do you generate from MicroLinx?  How
     useful have you found them to be?

     See no. 7 above.  In addition, one respondent stated that
     s/he generated 6 to 7 reports per month, all scheduled for
     off-hours; these reports were then file transferred to the
     mainframe to be printed.  Too much detail was nearly
     universal.  One respondent did note that patrons found the
     daily check-in reports and the bindery reports useful.

9.   How often do you back up the database?

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  A range of
     thrice daily to daily resulted in a mean of 1.666... times
     per day and a median of 1.5 times per day.  One respondent
     noted that back up took 10 to 15 minutes, another noted that
     it took only 3 minutes with a 486 CPU.  One recommended tape
     back up as there are problems backing up using disks.

10.  Do you maintain all eight (8) of the backup archive files as
     recommended on p.B:1 of the MicroLinx users guide/manual?

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  One
     maintained 8 tapes which were rotated each back up.  One
     noted that s/he maintained the 8 suggested.  One claimed
     s/he maintained 16 active files [?].  One maintained one
     week of back up files.  One used two tapes for back up, one
     which was maintained on-site, the other which was taken
     home.  The final respondent used three PCs as back up (for
     the back ups done twice a day) and the mainframe (which
     houses a monthly back up file).

11.  Do you maintain a view-only backup database on a LAN?  If
     so, does Public Services have access to it?  Do patrons have
     access to it?  How useful has this proven?

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  Two used a
     LAN, one provided for both public service and patron access,
     the other public service access only.  Three did not use a
     LAN, one providing no public service nor patron access, one
     providing only public service access via a back up PC, and
     the last providing both public service and patron access via
     a back up PC.

12.  Have you ever had any problems with the system crashing,
     data corruption, etc.?  Please give details.

     There were six (6) respondents to this question.  Five
     claimed that the only crashes they had experienced were due
     to hardware, one specifying printer malfunction, one
     specifying cursor locking up requiring a reboot, and one
     noting that s/he had experienced no crashes since getting
     new equipment.  A final respondent stated that the only
     crashes s/he had experienced were due to setting the view-
     only option at level 4; once it had been reset at level 5
     there were no further problems.

13.  In general, how do you rate MicroLinx?  What do you see as
     the major advantages and disadvantages to MicroLinx?  How
     does MicroLinx compare to the other systems with which you
     have had experience?

     There were seven (7) respondents to this question.  Three
     evaluated MicroLinx as very good over all.  Three rated the
     system as good over all.  One gave no over all evaluation.
     The advantages cited were:  fast check-in; reliable, fast
     claiming; easy invoicing; good support from Faxon; ease in
     use; and minimal training required to use.  The
     disadvantages cited were: single user limitation; overly
     detailed reports; and awkward searching capabilities on some
     fields.  One respondent noted that his/her conversion from
     SC-10 to MicroLinx had gone well and noted that the system
     was easy to learn.  Another stated that s/he thought that
     MicroLinx would likely be in the vanguard for the ANSI X12
     work that Faxon is involved in and stated that this was a
     strong advantage to MicroLinx.

     Thank you again,                Ph.: 804 683-4144
     W Ted Rogers, Serials Librarian
     University Library 
     Old Dominion University
     Norfolk, VA 23529-0256       wtr100f@oduvm.bitnet