ALA Midwinter mtng of NOTIS/Faxon SIG: minutes Karin Begg/Boston College 617-552-8709 19 Feb 1991 19:14 UTC

                      Minutes of NOTIS/Faxon SIG Meeting
                      Sunday, January 13, 1991 in Chicago

     After Karin Begg's welcoming remarks and introductions, Fritz Schwartz,
 Manager of Faxon's EDI Services, and Joe Santosuosso, EDI Analyst at Faxon,
 described the X12 claims transfer capability jointly developed by Faxon and
 NOTIS for libraries using those two vendors' systems.  This innovative pilot
 project, which was initiated as a result of needs previously identified 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 transmission
 (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
 payment information required by publishers 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.

     To date (early January 1991), two members of the UMN serials staff have
 been trained at Westwood in how to use the X12 software, the NOTIS extraction
 software has been successfully tested at UMN, and test data in X12 has been
 exchanged by Faxon and NOTIS.  It is expected that within the next couple of
 weeks (by the end of January), test NOTIS claims will be transmitted by UMN
 to Faxon.  When all tests have been completed, UMN will transmit claims data
 to Faxon via X12 on a nightly basis.

     Fritz expects that at Faxon alone, even with the Faxon staff manually
 adding the payment information, the savings from eliminated re-keying time
 (from paper claims into the Faxon system) of the X12 claims data for the UNM
 5,500+ active subscriptions will be 20 person-hours per month, time which can
 then be spent on more in-depth problem investigations by that same staff.  In
 addition, the accuracy of the data should be higher without the re-keying.
 This is consistent with the overall objective of using X12, which is to
 "translate the paper stream into an electronic one" for greater timeliness
 and efficiency.

     Fritz commented that he and Joe have had "tremendous cooperation from
 NOTIS, fabulous from UMN" in accomplishing this project.  He also commented
 that the thorniest problem Faxon faced was the workflow change for the claims
 staff in going from the accustomed paper to the on-screen reviews.

     In response to the obvious question from the audience, Fritz said that
 the principal purpose of the project was for Faxon and NOTIS to test the
 feasibility of using X12 between their two systems for this type of activity
 as well as to get a specific sense of what a library's needs might be for X12
 capability, rather than to develop a full-blown product that would be made
 available to other NOTIS sites.  Jane Burke, President of NOTIS, concurred in
 this, especially, she said, given that NOTIS is in the process of drastically
 re-designing its serials module for Release 5.1 (currently scheduled to be
 ready by the end of 1991).

     Another member of the audience wanted to know if VITLS (tape loading of
 Faxon invoices into NOTIS) could be replaced with X12 transmission between
 the systems?  Fritz stated that Faxon is involved in projects to test X12
 invoice transmission to two other systems at this time, and would certainly
 be interested in doing this eventually also with NOTIS; and in fact he has
 already discussed such X12 possibilities with relevant NOTIS staff.  In
 principle, NOTIS is committed to providing X12 capabilities in future NOTIS

     Bill Sozansky, Head of the Serials Management Division of the University
 of Minnesota Libraries, then spoke about his impressions and experiences as a
 test site involved in a cooperative development project with two unrelated
 vendors.  He said that the "Faxon training on X12 was excellent" and that
 "Gerry Ginsburg [NOTIS] was very helpful all along."  He commented that it
 was true that at every stage, things had taken longer than he had originally
 expected and that this had been frustrating; but that overall he had been
 very pleased and satisfied with the process.

     Bill's stated expectations of the X12 claims transfer capability is that
 it "will be very helpful in the long run", that it will make staff more
 efficient and that this will eventually save the library money.  He also said
 that only a few people on the staff needed to know something about the X12
 EDI standards in order for the library to use it.  There are a few data
 elements which have to be added to the NOTIS check-in record during check-in
 in a very precise way in order for the NOTIS claims extraction software to
 retrieve the proper information for the X12 process, but training for that
 part has been relatively easy at UMN.

     Bill will write an article for NOTISes about the UMN experience with X12,
 and he will also provide progress reports on the BITNET NOTIS acquisitions
 bulletin board.

     The third speaker was Gerald Ginsburg, the Systems Analyst at NOTIS who
 wrote the extraction software and who worked with Joe Santosuosso to iron out
 a number of other project-related details in the respective systems.  Gerry
 observed that "X12 is not electronic paper or a matter of paying the
 telephone company [for transmission] instead of the postal service.
 It is a whole new way of doing things", a whole new set of demands on the
 NOTIS system and a way of expanding its boundaries outward beyond the local
 sites, and he finds this quite exciting.  The project has provided NOTIS with
 good early experience with X12 which will better enable them to evaluate
 future X12 projects.

     Gerry asked the audience if X12 is being used anywhere on their campuses,
 but no-one knew of any such use.  A few universities have had X12 workshops
 recently to consider the possibility of X12 for financial or purchasing

     At the conclusion of the discussion of the X12 project, which elicited a
 number of good questions,  Karin briefly reported on the status of the
 holdings transfer project.  In that this had been identified in the 1989
 interest survey of the SIG as being of significance to relatively few users
 and thus not justifiable as a NOTIS programming effort, Karin had agreed to
 pursue the possibility of having an independent programmer produce such a
 product for a cost to be shared by those who wanted it.

     Karin indicated that after canvassing the potential users of such
 software as to what capabilities would be acceptable to them, she has been
 discussing with a programmer versed in the NOTIS system how he might
 accomplish this.  The programmer has also been in contact with Joe.   Karin
 had copies of the programmer's work proposal which she gave to those who
 expressed an interest, and she asked that they provide her with very specific
 feedback as quickly as possible.  The programmer estimates that he could
 accomplish the work in three months once he is given the OK to proceed.

     Karin then asked everyone to consider for the next SIG meeting (at ALA in
 Atlanta) any additional cooperative project possibilities for Faxon and
 NOTIS, and also she is seeking names for a new chair for the group to take
 over after Atlanta.

     The meeting ended exactly within its allotted one hour time frame.  57
 people signed the attendance sheets which were circulated.  [Attendees will
 receive printed copies of these minutes.]

 Notes by Karin Begg/SIG Chair


      At the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta this summer, the NOTIS/Faxon SIG
 is scheduled to meet Sunday afternoon, June 30, at 4:30 PM, location TBA.
 Hope to see you then!