Library Systems and the world of hardware

The project for implementation of Aleph as the new ILS for the Library of the University of Amsterdam started last week (October 2) with the official kick-off meeting. The Ex Libris project plan was presented to the members of the project team, bottlenecks were identified, and a lot of adjustments were made to the planning in order to be able to carry out more tasks simultaneously and thus earlier in time.

First steps are installation of Aleph 18, and giving on site trainings to all people involved, using the new locally installed Aleph 18 system.

"Systems dependent on hardware and people"

But of course, before everything can start, we need the hardware! The central ICT department of the University of Amsterdam (not part of the library) is responsible for configuring and providing the Aleph production server according to the official Ex Libris “Requirements for ALEPH 500 Installation”. And as always there is confusion about what is actually meant by the provider,and as always there are conflicts between the provider’s requirements and the ICT department’s security policy.

As head of the Library Systems Department of the library and as coordinator of the project’s System Administration team, I have been acting this week as an intermediary between our software and hardware providers, passing information about volumes, partitions, database and scratch files, root access, IP addresses and swap areas.

This makes you realise again that all these new web 2.0 systems and techniques are in the end completely dependent on the availability of correctly configured and constantly monitored machines, cables and electricity, and not in the least on all these technicians that know all about hardware and networks.

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