|PRIVATE LAW LIBRARIES|
Katten Muchin Zavis
One of my responsibilities as the Technical Services Librarian at Katten Muchin Zavis is to coordinate upgrades with the Information Systems Department. I could use some politically correct terms but what this means is that my PC is almost always in a testing mode. Once the problems are resolved, the rest of the Library PC's are upgraded. The appropriate fixes or patches are then loaded onto all the PCs. I have the satisfaction of knowing that the rest of the staff has a painless upgrade.
Sometimes this is not a problem. Several years ago when the firm migrated from a DOS environment to Windows 95 that was not the case. The support staff PCs were not going to be that difficult to upgrade because they were strictly DOS. The only difficulty that we had was the conversion of the cataloging staff's label making program to a Windows program. It took several weeks before the proper printer drivers were loaded. Each small step was treated with great enthusiasm that we were getting closer to the solution.
The main problem that caused the IS staff and me to become Siamese twins was the conversion of the Reference Librarians PCs. They were running DOS and Windows 3.1 programs. Their initial plan was just to transfer the files from the old PCs to the new ones. We quickly learned that Windows would not copy over as is. I had the satisfaction of having suggested that was a possibility. We had to install each and every package. After each installation, there was testing to determine whether there were conflicts with other packages already installed. When they fixed one, another one produced error messages. I became proficient in using the Paint Box for printing out the messages with each instance.
Since we also have branch offices, we had to develop instructions for the local IS staff, so they were not having to develop the same solutions that Chicago had already developed. What turned out to be interesting was that they had completely different problems.
The problem that caused a lengthy resolution was printing DOS products to the network printers now running in a Windows environment. The locking up of the PC was frustrating because it would mainly happen when I was trying to do something in a hurry. Based on these experiences, I created Roeske's Rules for PC's.
Rule #1: Never let your computer sense that you are in a rush. It immediately causes system problems.
Rule #2: Keep your sense of humor. Even if no one else understands your brand of humor do whatever to preserve your sanity.
Rule #3: If no one complains after the stress time is over, you can pat yourself on your back for a job well done. No one will say anything to you when everything is working okay. But you will hear from them, if they have problems. Then your job continues.
Rule #4: Discover the vices of your IS staff. If it is homemade brownies, Fannie May candy, or whatever, feed that vice. They will keep coming back until they resolve the situation.
Rule #5: Encourage the IS staff to admit they cannot easily resolve the problem. Make it clear that it is not a reflection of their abilities if they have to ask for assistance. It is better than wasting both your time and their time. Dragging out the conversion timeframe is not acceptable. If this can be prevented by using consultants or other personnel with the expertise in the area, do it.
Rule #6: Remember to congratulate and compliment them to their supervisors afterwards. They rarely hear success stories but they certainly know about complaints.
Rule #7: Even though it is easy to verify what version of a Windows product you are running, maintain a paper copy as well. Murphy's law decrees that when your PC is busy processing, you will get a call wanting to know the version number.
If anyone else has a list of rules, please let me know. They can be for future articles.