USCInfo: A High Volume, Integrated Online Library Resources Automation Project

USCInfo: A High Volume, Integrated Online Library Resources Automation Project

Mathew J. Klempa (Computer Information Systems Consultant, USA) and Lucy Siefert Wegner (University of Southern California, USA)
Copyright: © 1997 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-937-7.ch012
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This case sets forth automation philosophies and systems development processes associated with the University of Southern California’s “USCInfo”1, an integrated retrieval software for accessing both the USC Library catalog and periodical indexes. Regarded at its implementation as being cutting edge in library automation, USCInfo’s present size is 25 gigabytes of data, with searches numbering 3,800,000 annually. USCInfo is illustrative of “messy problems,” i.e., unstructured, complex, and multidimensional, which typically involve substantive organizational issues “soft” in nature. Problem conceptualization, decision making, and solution implementations in USCInfo often are both heuristic2 and utilize satisficing3 decision–making processes. Such decision making deals with multiple, substantive constraints as well as conflict and ambiguity, i.e., “equivocality” 4. Systems development concepts embodied in this case include: • systems life cycle evolution amidst technology change and obsolescence • systems design alternatives and end user characteristics • management of the systems life cycle maintenance phase • management of applications prototyping • small design team dynamics, champions • organizational impacts on the systems life cycle • rational and political organization processes • dual responsibility project management Mathew J. Klempa Computer Information Systems Consultant Lucy Siefert Wegner University of Southern California Mathew J. Klempa is a consultant in the application of computer information systems. He has taught at the University of Southern California and the California State University. He was formerly a corporate planning officer for a major bank holding company, systems analyst at IBM and operations research analyst at McDonnell™Douglas. E-mail: Lucy Wegner is Interim Assistant Dean for Information Technology and Director of the Center for Scholarly Technology in the University Libraries at the University of Southern California. Ms. Wegner’s career has focused on developing systems to access and organize electronic information resources. She is a frequent writer and speaker on the library of the twenty-first century, the future of librarianship, and technology innovation in libraries.

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