Sierra aspects

Having used Sierra a while now, I’m seeing some quirks.

[updated Feb. 10, 2016, May 17, 2016]

Keyword quirk continues from Millennium

Something that continues from Millennium is that record suppression does not work properly for Keyword searches.  A title search will not turn up a record at all, but using keyword will pull up the record in the brief listing, and then if you click on it, it shows a blank with a notice such as “Record b1422325 is no longer available.”  Confusing for patrons.

To overlay or not to overlay

At first I thought this was my own error in the 949 field, but now I’ve caught Sierra overlaying a record imported from OCLC despite the 949 saying not to (ov= ; in the 949) immediately after I did it — and still had the OCLC record up in Connexion, so I could see the 949 there.

Since I check for duplicates by finding more than one record for a title, having this irregular glitch is a real nuisance and makes duplicate ordering more likely.  Now I have to scroll down to be sure each record has not been overlaid against my orders in the 949.

Haven’t had this in a while; it may have been resolved.

Exporting subfields

We just had a case of a file not exporting properly.  In order to do our labels for physical items, we export (among other data) the call number from the 092 field.

|a is the Dewey

|b is the Cutter

|e is the date

Except with this one file, instead of exporting 092|a and 092|b and 092|e, it exported 092 three times with the entire field.

It hadn’t been doing that for other files, some of them larger, and it didn’t do it for the next file we exported from.  Just that one file.  I suggested doing it for only part of the file — just a subset of the records in the file.

It worked fine for that.  So, break it apart and do it piecemeal if this happens.

Later files have been working fine again.

Modules No More

With Millennium, I could set a Create Lists file to search in, say, Cataloging module, and meanwhile switch over to the Admin module which also had Create Lists and work on a different file.

Can’t do that any more.  Good thing Sierra runs faster on our hosted system.

Time Lag

While hosted system runs faster, we’ve all noticed the slight time lag (at least) due to communicating with the hosted system.  On the days when the network here is slow, this can be irritating.  This may be our network more than anything; other programs are running slow as well on those days.

Selection Varies

I’ve seen some odd variation in Create Lists for selecting.

You can Retrieve Saved Query and pull up the selection criteria from a saved list, or you can Use Existing Search and use the previous one for that file or another.

The odd part is, I can run a Saved query which is exactly the same as an Existing search, and I get more records.  It doesn’t seem to happen the other way (more records found by an Existing search), at least so far.  And it isn’t necessarily a big difference, depending on the size of the file.  (say, for 5,000 records, perhaps 200 odd fewer records for the Existing search)

I can run the Saved query, get the total records, and immediately run the Existing search again on that file, and get fewer records.  Nothing has changed, but the (supposedly) exact same search comes up with fewer records.  And this is without sorting yet, so it’s not duplicate fields.

So, I’ve learned to stick with the Saved query to get the most records.  I think the difference may be in the number range used — using the existing number range instead of starting fresh with everything may limit the records searched.  But if it worked for that number range in the first place, it should get the same number of record from that range again, shouldn’t it?  Odd.

Transfer Media to Hosted?

This might be due to transferring to a hosted server rather than something specifically Sierra.

NPR had a series of “Wireless Arkansas” broadcasts some years back (early 1990s) and also put them out on audio cassettes.  I got permission to digitize them into MP3s and make them publicly available online through our catalog.

But, some of them didn’t make it through the changeover well — distortions in sound, or not playing properly.  Fortunately (actually, professional paranoia) I saved the files elsewhere, and so I was able to delete the old Media files and reload them from the originals.  They seem to be doing fine now.


This is one that’s not even III or Sierra, from using the old text-based inventory function.  Part of the process is to email data to yourself.  Turns out that our email spam filter was seeing too many emails from the same address, and apparently assumed the address was compromised.  The emails were getting blocked.  Our I.T. people had to intervene to allow all the emails to go through.


Videocassette icon in Sierra

For unknown reasons, this 3D icon shows for videocassettes in Sierra, but not in the catalog — the OPAC shows a videocassette tape icon.  Odd.

Update to 2.2

May 17, 2016 – III updated us to 2.2 last night.

Those PCs without administrator privileges for the regular user could not download the updates to the Sierra Desktop.  I had to log in and do that under my name.  Following that, logging in as the regular users went well.  I found the jarcache directory under Sierra needed to be updated; if that wasn’t dated this year, then the update hadn’t been done yet.

Also, the web access isn’t functioning yet.  While this only works for circulation at this point, it’s an interesting option I’d like to explore a bit.  I have a Supportal call on it.

Our database (the Regional Index) seems to be working fine.  That was my one area of concern, as we’d had upgrade problems with it once before.  This time, no problem so far.

Next post in this series is Sierra 2.4 So Far .



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