SENT: Friday, October 04, 2002
SUBJECT: Access Pennsylvania Database Systems, Friday Status Report, October 04, 2002


General l Access Pennsylvania Database
VDX Interlibrary Loan l VDX Tip of the Week l NOVELIST NOTES l Support

------- ***IMPORTANT***-------

Change in IP address for Access Pennsylvania Web Site

The Access Pennsylvania Database and ILL System web site has always had the alpha address of If this is the link you are using, have bookmarked, is in your favorites, or is a browser link on your desktop, this is the address you should continue to use.

This past week, we have started pointing the address directly to the separate Access PA server at This is always where the web site has been housed, but now the alpha address is pointing directly to it. Some users have reported problems accessing the site when they use the alpha address This is because while in most cases, domain name servers are updated via Internet propagation at least daily, some may not be. In order to assist in the transition, we will continue to redirect the old IP address (which was to the new one. If you are having a problem connecting, please try modifying your bookmark, favorite or desktop link to go to the numeric address for the site which, again, is It is best, however, to keep the alpha address ( as your link if possible.

Please contact if you experience any connectivity problems.


A list of registrants for the Access Pennsylvania Database Fall 2002 training sessions is available by going to the Access Pennsylvania Database web site: and clicking on the link labelled "Access Pennsylvania Database Fall 2002 Training Schedule and Registrants List." The list of registrants is organized by session and may be viewed by clicking on the link labelled "Click here to view list as of ..." next to the appropriate training session. The lists are current as of 10/04/02 for forthcoming classes.

Fall training registration remains open online at the Access Pennsylvania Database web site: There is a link on the home page or click on Information for Libraries/Training/Live Training/Training Sessions to look at the schedule and map of training locations. Click on Training Registration to enter the registration area. Registration must be done on the web site. You may also see the announcement regarding training which was issued on 5/14 by clicking News & Tips and then Access PA News on the Access Pennsylvania Database web site. If you have any problems with your registration please review the Training FAQ or send a message to

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Access Pennsylvania Database


Please continue to report any duplicate requests generated by the system. While the number of occurrences appears to have been greatly reduced with our recent software modifications, a few people continue to experience this phenomenon. If your requests are being duplicated (and you know you didn't enter them more than once), please let us know by sending an email message to the Access Pennsylvania Database Support Center. The email message should include the name or 5-character code of your library, along with the Request numbers of the original and duplicate requests.

To check for duplicate requests, please log into the VDX ILL system after placing an ILL request in the new Access Pennsylvania Database. Make sure Requester Only is selected as Your Library's Role. Next, make sure Status=Pending is selected in the Status box along the right-hand side of the Request Search screen, then click submit. If you have two or more requests for the same item, please let us know.

For instructions on how to cancel duplicate requests, go to:

Please note: we have had 1 (one) report of system generated duplicate requests during the week of 9/30 - 10/4.


If you are an academic or special library, you may sign up to have your IP address(es) recorded to permit you to link to NoveList and the Professional Development Collection databases from within the Access PA database as well as from your own web sites. To do this, please fill out an application form which you will find on the Access PA Database web site at: The completed form should be returned to Commonwealth Libraries at the address indicated on the form. Academic and special libraries must be participants in the Access PA Database program to be eligible for access to these databases.

Interested academic and special libraries which are not yet Access PA Database participants will find an application form on the Access PA Database web site at:

School and Public libraries should contact POWER Library support if they have static IP addresses which are not yet on file. All access to NoveList through the Access PA Database is currently by IP address only. There is no username/password or barcode access. We are working on a way to provide barcode access in the near future which will use the same barcode records as does the POWER Library. For additional information on NoveList, please see NoveList Notes for October which is included below.

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VDX Interlibrary Loan


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VDX Tip of the Week - Why Shouldn't I Ship Requests Marked NOT SUPPLIED
(and if I Shouldn't Ship Them, Why do I Have to See Them at ALL)?

Requests marked NOT SUPPLIED have moved on in the Rota to another library. There may be any number of reasons why you were unable to fill the request, including, but not limited to, you did not see it in time. This is OK. You should not feel that, through no fault of your own, you are unable to fill all requests you receive (although that is a worthy goal, sometimes it's not going to happen). So let it go. If you send the material once the request is marked NOT SUPPLIED, it means that in all probability the next available library will also send it. And the requesting library will receive TWO copies (or more) of the same item. Plus there will be no way to track the copy you sent, since only requests which are marked Shipped can be tracked. So why do you have to see requests you didn't supply? Because part of our ability to troubleshoot problems with things like e-mail alerts are dependent on knowing that you received a request but not the e-mail alert for it. Or maybe someone else on your staff saw the e-mail alert but you didn't. It happens. It also happens that there may be a problem with your e-mail, or we have the wrong e-mail address entered for you. But beyond this, just click the COMPLETE button on all Not Supplied requests, and they will be removed from your Results List the next time you log in. If you think there is a problem in receiving e-mail alerts, please contact us at See the next paragraph for more on the COMPLETE button and Not Supplied requests.

When an enhancement was made two weeks ago to automatically include Not Supplied requests by default when performing a Request Search, requests that have reached the end of the Rota (regardless of when the requests were placed) began appearing along with the active requests. It is now possible to see all active requests in a single display, and to allow Requesters to COMPLETE Not Supplied requests when necessary (for additional details on use of the Complete button see: If no prior action has been taken on a request, and it reaches the end of the Rota, it stays in the Not Supplied state until you remove it. The old requests you may be seeing are of this type. They are long gone and no longer needed. Simply click the Complete button for each one, and the next time you sign on to the VDX system they will be gone. If you have any difficulty clearing out old requests, please send a message to us at with the request numbers and we will assist you.

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Sometimes finding the right mystery to read is anything but elementary. There are times when we all wish we could draw on some of Mr. Poirot's "little grey cells" in addition to our own. When it comes to solving your readers' requests for new mysteries to read-you should think of NoveList as added memory.

Using NoveList's Describe a Plot feature and understanding how NoveList describes mysteries is one way you can find the perfect solution to your patrons' reading needs. Another is by using NoveList's Find a Series Name search. This approach will help you and your patrons find the next book in that mystery series they love, or learn which earlier titles they might have missed.

While NoveList provides you with information on many mystery titles, the thousands of mysteries contained in the product can be overwhelming. Here are some ideas for helping your readers reach a deeper understanding of what makes a particular title a good read for them.


Although some mystery readers are drawn to this genre because they want to solve the mystery, research shows us that many readers are drawn by the title's detective and/or setting. NoveList's many subject headings can help you find just the right detective or location for your mystery fans. Understanding how to use the subject headings in NoveList to describe the detective and/or setting will help you narrow your mystery search most effectively to the aspect of the story that is most important to the reader.

In NoveList, detectives can be described in a number of ways, including character name, gender, occupation, or ethnicity. Consider using and mixing the following search strategies based on what your reader is looking for:

CHARACTER NAME: Mystery readers often talk about their favorite detective and share this information with their friends. This sometimes leads readers to the library with the name of a detective but little or no information about the author of (or titles in) the series. To crack this case, simply enter the character's name using NoveList's Find a Series Name, such as "Lincoln Rhyme" or "Stephanie Plum" in order to retrieve Jeffery Deaver's and Janet Evanovich's popular mystery series. The results of searches like these show the books in order by publication date, which, while imperfect as an indicator of placement in series, is often a good start.

NoveList also lets you find books for readers by searching on a detective's name in Describe a Plot. For example, you can find all of the books that have Sherlock Holmes as a character by entering the words "Sherlock Holmes" in NoveList's Describe a Plot function (including books that feature Holmes as a character but were not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). This search provides a list of about 250 books, including those titles by Laurie R. King that have Holmes serving as a mentor to young Mary Russell.

GENDER: Over the past several years, many titles have introduced detectives who are women. While male detectives like Spenser and Robicheaux are still around, they are sharing the space under the streetlight with the likes of Kinsey Millhone and Blanche White.

Using the "women detectives" heading in a Describe a Plot search at the adult level retrieves about 250 titles that have women detectives as characters.

OCCUPATION: NoveList's subject headings allow you to search for detectives by searching by the occupation. The formula to use is an occupation/career/profession and the word "detectives" [NOTE: Make it "detectives" (plural) because you are searching for a class/group of characters.]

Here are a few examples from our database:
pointer Banker detectives
pointer Bookseller detectives
pointer Domestic-worker detectives
Lawyer detectives
pointer Professor detectives


The location or setting of the mystery is another key appeal factor for mystery readers. Indeed, some series are known by the setting rather than (or in addition to) detective name. For instance, a search in NoveList's Find a Series Name function using the words "cape cod" will retrieve Phoebe Atwood Taylor's Asey Mayo Cape Cod mysteries.

Another way NoveList allows you to search for mysteries by location or setting, regardless of whether they belong to a series, is with the Describe a Plot feature. You can search by country, by state/province or by city. (NOTE: Regional headings like Southwestern United States are also sometimes used but you will get better results by searching on individual states-New Mexico, for example.)

To find mystery stories that combine a setting with a particular type of detective, you can use the following models to search NoveList's Describe a Plot function:

"Mystery women detectives california"-retrieves 250 mystery titles that contain women detectives and that are set in California.

"Mystery detectives boston"-retrieves over 200 titles that involve detectives from various walks of life who are attempting to solve crimes in Beantown.


There are other ways to help your readers find mysteries in NoveList. These include browsing the Mysteries and Thrillers portion of Explore Fiction (book lists are arranged by sub-topics, such as Cozy Mysteries and Forensic Detectives), and checking out the Mysteries and Thrillers Award lists in Best Fiction (e.g., Agatha Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award winners).


Meanwhile back at NoveList Headquarters, our data detectives are sleuthing out existing and newly published mystery series, adding character names and series names to all the title records in a series, and building subject heading and series links that help you and your patrons identify detectives and mystery series quickly. Providing complete series information is a large and on-going construction project for us. (If there are 8 million stories in the Naked City, we believe half of them are mystery series!) If we have not yet completed our work on your favorite series or detective, use our Send Feedback option (located in the menu on the left-hand side of any NoveList screen) to tell us; we'll move your favorites to the head of the construction line.

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That's it for this Friday. Until further notice, these reports will be sent out every Friday to several lists. We apologize for any duplication. If you miss a report or wish to read previous reports, you will find them on the Access PA web site at under News & Tips/Access PA News.

Access Pennsylvania Database Support

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