|About the Library
Data plays a very important role in an information system of any organization. The ability to organize, efficiently manage, and make data available to users when needed within a reasonable time, is a principal success factor in any business or organization. Data management is the core of an Information System.
The library, as an organization, organizes and maintains a large collection or resources (print, audiovisual, and electronic). It also keeps data on these resources (or metadata), which are used to support any type of information inquiry pertaining to the resources.
As with any organization, the increasing size of collection or data to be managed often results to data management problems such as slow data retrieval, lost or misplaced materials, record tracking difficulties, inaccuracy of data, and many others. These problems are typical of a manual or traditional system. Many organizations seek to enhance the system by moving from traditional to a computer-based automated database system. Relational technology is widely used this time. Evolution of data management software has been so fast that more and more commercial data management software ( be it for library, department stores, finances ) are in the market today.
Ateneo de Zamboanga University had since started with a manual card catalog system.
In the early 90’s , there was move from the manual card system to an automated catalog system known as the Card JB. The software was donated by some Jesuit entities.
The first Online Card Catalogue Retrieval System was made by Benito Villareal, a Computer Science graduate of 1994. OCCR was initially meant to be a database of bibliographic records for the librarians’ use. It eventually evolved to an on-line card catalog retrieval system. The project was refined by Fatima Ho, also a CS graduate batch ‘94, when she became a member of the Computer Science Department. Maureene Bello of batch 95 took over the remainder of the project after Ms. Ho left in 1996. The College Library had almost 50,000 titles then in its holdings and most of them are already stored in the OCCR.
During the late 90’s, there was a move to improve the OCCR into a Windows-based system (that is, more friendly to users, which added features such as click buttons, sounds, pictures and barcode recognition system). And so in 1998, the school purchased a commercial library software form the Follett Software Company (FSC) whose main office is based in USA. The same software is also used by Ateneo sister-schools. Along with the purchase of the software, the school also purchased the necessary hardware equipment to host the library system.
The successful deployment of the Online Public Access Catalog throughout the whole campus was a joint project of Christine Chiong and Cristina Bagor with some assistance from Anna Marie Teo. All three were Computer Science graduates of 1999. With support from Fr. Ramon Prudencio Toledo, SJ, then Computer Center director, the network operating system was changed to Netware from NT when it became obvious that the latter was not suitable for the kind of service needed.
The cleaning up of the database prior to the work of Benito Villanueva was done by Estrellita Marie 'Candy' Antonio from 1992 to 1994.
Former IT persons worked so hard to put up the system and get it running. This is especially during the conversion from the DOS-based program to the windows-based system. The Follett Software stores data in MARC format, which is an industry-wide standard. Using this format would allow more libraries to share bibliographic resources since most commercial systems are designed to work with this format. The problem was that the bibliographic database was in the OCCR database format, and that data conversion from table to MARC was needed.
In the later part of 1999 towards year 2000, conversion process of the bibliographic format was started under the leadership of Ms. Cynthia Jamiro-Agustin.
The system was running then and the On-line Public Access Catalog was made available to users. However, circulation was not yet implemented. Ms. Christina Bagor, then Systems In-charge, worked on tapping patron records from an in-house system that keeps the records of students, faculty and staff. With assistance from the Circulation personnel, the patron records were successfully loaded to the new library system. The collections were bar coded and integrated into the system to facilitate circulation of books.
To date, there is still an on-going reprocessing and cataloging of collections along with the library’s project of converting Dewey Catalogs to the Library of Congress’ System of Cataloging.