Report of the Administrative Services Council Xerox Review
Report of the Administrative Services Council Xerox Review Task Force
In September 1999, the Library signed a contract with Xerox Business Services to assume responsibility for managing the Library's copy service. During October-November, Xerox removed CDT copiers from thirty locations around the campus and replaced them with new Xerox equipment. (See Attachment 1: UC Berkeley - Copier Tracking Spreadsheet.) Xerox also opened a new copy center in the Biosciences-Natural Resources Library, assumed responsibility for the management of the Library's existing microfiche reader/printers, and began beta testing a new, networked public printing service. Charles Jackson, Head of the Library Copy Service, was the manager of the project and the Library's liaison with Xerox.
The installation of the new copiers and the start up of the pay-for-print service turned out to be much more difficult than anyone could have anticipated. Xerox Business Services had trouble fulfilling its originally planned timeline for installation. Library units complained about inadequate planning, communication and publicity on the part of Xerox and the Library.
In January, Mike Rancer, Chief Administrative Officer for the Library, asked volunteers from the Administrative Services Council to form a task force to review and document the issues and problems, and suggest how the Library should plan its next copier installation project in order to ensure a smoother transition for library staff and users. The Xerox Review Task Force included Tim Dilworth, RIS; Beth Edinger, Law Library; Jeanne Fong, GSSI; Marianne McDonald, Business-Economics; and Paul Payne, Library Systems Office. During April and May, Task Force members contacted the thirty copying locations, asking the unit head and/or operations manager about their experiences during the copier installation project and what the Library could have done to improve the process.
This report includes a general overview of what the Task Force learned from the public service units, plus a list of suggestions for publicity, communication and staff training, which we hope Xerox and the Head of the Library Copy Service will take into consideration. We purposefully avoided addressing the continuing problems with Xerox Business Services, which we know are being handled by Mike Rancer and Charles Jackson. The report ends with the recommendation that the Library form a copier advisory committee to manage the next copier installation project.
II. Summary of the Issues and Problems
A lot of staff time was spent pursuing information that should have been provided. While some units went through a fairly smooth, low impact transition, and could barely remember any problems, others experienced confusion and disorganization. Not surprisingly, the most complaints came from campus libraries with high volume copying, and from those with a significant percentage of non-UCB affiliated users. Staff spoke in particular about poor communication and coordination by Xerox and the Library, and the perception of a lack of control and accountability among the key players. Patrons were confused, inconvenienced, and in several instances, extremely angry.
Units should have been informed about the choices available to them, and whether or not they had the option of asking for additional, new copiers or copier upgrades. Units still do not know why they received the number of copiers that they did, and how it was decided what copying features they would receive. When asked about the copier survey mailed by the Head of the Library Copy Service, units said they had not known it was a survey and were not told how their responses were going to be used. Some units were unaware of the copier demonstration fair. Almost every unit said they received no advance notice of when their new copiers were set to arrive. Urgent and repeated emails and phone calls to Xerox and the Head of the Library Copy Service were often met with no response. Although there were some complaints about the copier exchange itself, especially among the larger units, most libraries were able to provide copy services without interruption.
Information should have been provided to the units about the changing timeline for the installation of the vend units. Xerox did not have the vend units ready in time to coincide with the copier installations. Users were caught by surprise when they were told that they either had to walk elsewhere to exchange their old CDT copy cards for new Xerox copy cards, or resort to using coins or bills. This was a major nuisance for users, and placed front line staff in the awkward position of having to explain and apologize for the Library's lack of coordination.
A swift, easy method for exchanging old staff copy cards for new Xerox cards should have been planned. Xerox personnel lacked accurate campus directory information about library, faculty and staff copy cardholders. Cards were sometimes sent in error to the wrong people. Some faculty had to switch cards several times before they received the right version.
Beta testing began in fall 1999 at Engineering, Biosciences-Natural Resources, Physics, Earth Sciences and Maps, and the Info Center. From the start Xerox did not demonstrate that they had a thorough understanding of the implementation details and limitations of the Pharos based print solution. The beta test period was conducted as a means of getting feedback from a small group of libraries so that any problems that were discovered could be worked out before the final rollout. Problems with the system were reported by library service staff, who found them while troubleshooting the system. The beta test period, which was initially expected to last a week or two, was extended due to the number and kind of problems that were encountered.
Intervention by Paul Payne and others from the Library Systems Office solved almost all the original problems. Twenty-eight printers are now installed in twenty-one library units. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this report, pay-for-print service has not yet begun. The printers still do not work with CD-ROMs, and DOS-based and Telnet products. The Windows 95 environment does not provide the printing resources under the Pharos application that enables printing of DOS and DOS based Telnet applications. Many of the CD-ROM applications are also DOS-based and therefore will not print under Windows 95. However, printing through Windows NT Workstation solved some of these problems. The Library is hoping to resolve the printing problem with the arrival of a new Pharos version that is compatible with Windows 2000.
Some units who had requested printers are still waiting for them. All the delays are due to the lack of necessary furniture and network connections to support the printer.
Convenient, organized training should have been provided to all units. Instead, training sessions were provided inconsistently. At least one beta test group received an introduction, but this approach does not appear to be widespread. There are some things the printers cannot do that units could learn about through training.
Xerox Service and Maintenance:
Units have few, if any complaints about the new copiers. They are working well, and are a welcomed change from the old CDT copiers.
The staff was overwhelmingly positive about the copier technicians and their response time.
Response time to printing problems was initially inadequate, and although staff now think it has generally improved, it is still is not up to the level of the copiers. Some Library staff members are trying themselves to address these problems, but it is a burden on their workload. In addition, Xerox is not alerting staff to issues such as server problems, which affect printing capability; currently the reference staff is sharing this information only as it becomes known.
III. Areas Needing Improvement
Documentation and training should be offered at the unit level. The Task Force received a few requests for refresher training on the copiers. The most common sentiment was that training would be more successful if it was conducted in the units so that more staff could attend. This would also maximize attendance by student employees, who are often the ones on the front lines fielding the most patron questions.
Units were given no publicity. For instance, units should have the following available in print and on the Web: Xerox price schedules, details about student rates, instructions for how to purchase and add value to copy cards, and a list of all the library copier and fiche reader/printer locations on campus so that units can make referrals, when necessary.
The Library Copy Service Web page has not been updated in over a year.
Signage for the new equipment is absent or inadequate It would be helpful to post basic instructions at the copiers (e.g. what does L6 mean?) and signage that lists the features each copier has (What's available at this machine? How do you make two-sided copies?).
Units still complain of a lack of responsiveness to phone calls and email to the Head of Library Copy Services and to Xerox. Despite previous announcements about whom to call, staff are unhappy when they follow instructions and get no reply.
IV. Future Recommendations
Almost all of the units' complaints were about the copier/printer replacement and installation process, and the belief that better planning, communication, and publicity by Xerox and the Library might have mitigated many of the problems. Poor communication was the biggest issue among the units.
The Task Force suggests setting up a copier committee to organize the next copier installation project. The committee should consist of no more than six library public service staff, and the Head of Library Copy Services, who should act as the project manager and Library liaison to the vendor. Representatives from the Space Planning Office and Library Systems Office should also be involved in the early planning stages.
Documentation from the August 1994 CDT copier replacement project shows that there were two groups formed to manage the CDT project. The Copier Replacement Advisory Committee was responsible for drafting the RFP, holding the copier demonstration fair, surveying the units for copier needs, and selecting the vendor. The second group, the Library Copier Advisory Committee, was in charge of working with the vendor and the public service units on all aspects of planning and organizing the copier installations and publicizing the new service to the user community.
Any future library copier committee should have the following responsibilities.
· What are the new changes in equipment and services, and what stays the same?
· For the purposes of referrals, produce a list of campus library locations of other copiers, printers, microfiche reader/printers, card vending machines and change machines
· Price schedules
· How to purchase new or exchange old copy cards
· Posters to enhance or supplement basic instruction on how to use the new copiers and printers
· Instructions for the administrative work that library and academic departmental staff need to do for the changeover, such as staff copy card card exchanges and how to charge copying to departmental funds
Templates for signage and publicity could be made available as Word files so that units can adapt them for use locally.
Public announcements, printed flyers and email are affective first-time notices, but putting the information on the Library's home page and the Library Copy Service's Web site gives staff and users a place that they know they can always go to for the most current information.
Attachment 1: UC Berkeley - Copier Tracking Spreadsheet