Before we get to the latest RLIN developments, I have some questions for all of you reading out there. Are you getting everything that you'd like out of this column? Am I repeating information that you've already heard? Would you like some quick cheat-sheets in this column for RLIN software features? I wonder because so many of the latest RLIN developments are now being discussed on listservs, or are publicized on the Web, in a far more timely manner than they could be reported here, that perhaps this column could also address some other issues of more lasting value. Drop me a line and let me know what you like, don't like, or would like to read here. I can be reached at the e-mail address above, and am also listed in the AALL directory.
And now, my favorite RLIN development: Eureka on the Web! I can't encourage people enough to look at RLG's Web pages about this new service
There are sample search screens, a wonderful table comparing Eureka features and functions via telnet and via the Web, and a test area where you can see if your current Web browser will support all the functions. (The new feature that most interests me is that indexed headings will be active links!) Eureka on the Web is being tested and fine-tuned as I write, and should be generally available in January 1997.
The RLIN Database Advisory Group (RDAG) has released its new and revised objectives in a posting to RLIN-L. Of particular interest is the Revised FY97 objective relating to the impact of format integration on record transfer between RLIN and local systems. Quoting the e-mail message, the revised objective includes the goal to "...set up a mechanism to share information about which library uses which local system and identify local experts who can help others develop automated scripts for extracting records for cataloging into RLIN." This seems like a great idea, given the recent trends toward doing more cataloging on local systems, and automating the task of record transfer.
And, speaking of record transfer, it was announced at the RLG/NOTIS SIG Meeting held in September in Chicago that the new RLIN version of the Unix based GTO is running in production in at least three libraries.
By the time you read this, the date may be approaching, or may have gone by, when the last FRN reports will be generated. It is no longer possible to key a y in the FRN field to request a fuller record notification (FRN), however RLG can create files of outstanding FRN requests for future Diogenes processing. If interested, contact the RLIN Information Center.
Last, but definitely not least, there has been a lot of discussion on RLIN-L related to "dropped connections." (For example, you're using RLIN, working away happily, and suddenly you're not connected anymore; Murphy's RLIN Law dictates that this will happen in the middle of keying a long, enhanced contents note with diacritics!). Bruce Washburn has been posting updates on RLG's efforts to resolve the problem. So far these have included adjusting the configuration and monitoring the network "front-ends" at RLG to gather more information, and working with Princeton University and the English Short-Title Catalogue at UC Riverside to monitor and log incidents of dropped connections.
Response time has also been an issue for some institutions, and RLG has begun working with Cornell University to analyze response time problems, and to identify points of congestion on the Internet. As of this writing, RLG was also investigating an experiment with a lower-cost/lower-bandwidth CompuServe alternative for one institution in particular; the results of this experiment will be posted to RLIN-L.
Also keep an eye out for the December 1996 issue of RLIN Focus; it will have the results of the "Favorite RLIN for Windows Command Button" survey!