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Manythanks to those who took the time to reply to this query.  My teacher
was very pleased to receive all the help.  As always, you guys are awesome.
Many people requested a hit, so here it is.

I am in my first library position and have been using Spectrum 5 since
I would say that the first MAJOR weakness that comes to mind when I think of
the system's
weaknesses is the "Key Words" search function in the "Easy Search" mode.  It
really should be
called "Key Word" (singular!!!) as the system doesn't allow a searcher to
type in a phrase for
searching.    As far as I have been able to figure (and I've called and
asked Spectrum Tech
Support about this) the only way to do a "Key Words" search of more than one
word is to go into
the "Expanded Search" mode and enter each word in one of the three separate
I also would like to be able to print any of the OPAC screens, but the
system only allows the
searcher to print from the "Materials Found" screen.
These two system quirks apply to the Client/Server version of Spectrum 5.
The web-based
version of Spectrum 5 apparently was designed later and does, I believe,
allow true "Key
Word(S)" searching.

From a library cataloger's point of view setting up and using Union
catalog on Spectrum 5.0 (and soon 5.1) I can give you my impressions.
The good things are:
1. Low bandwidth usage.  We can run this system across heavy traffic
lines without a problem.
2. Central control of cataloging, but independent control of
circulation.  This gives the school librarian much discretion on local
policies, but standardizes and improves cataloging.
3. Uses MARC records, imports and exports records well.
4. There are local material types and Union Material types, allowing for
some records not to show on the union.  This is especially valuable for
the libraries in our system that use Spectrum to manage textbooks or
5. If union crashes, the local school systems are unaffected and still
operate, conversely, if a school server is down, the union is

The not so good things: (from cataloging point of view since I don't
work with circ)
1. MARC record matching depends on EITHER ISBN or author/title, but not
both.  In other words there is an assumption that all ISBN numbers are
unique and used only once.  Wrong!
2. On the staff cataloging client a browse screen during searching would
be helpful, but a search will drop you to the first record.  You must
remember that there may be more records with similar title, author,
etc., and check the next record.
3. Subject authority file maintenance needs improvement.  As it works
now, it is very slow, and cumbersome.

One of the problem that I have is this.
I have older books that were bar coded in past years but never entered on
the automation system (4,000 to be exact with a principal who wants me to
catalog by hand). The program sets its own bar code. It does not let me
enter the bar code that is already on the book unless it is a second
copy. When I duplicate the entry, the second screen will allow me to
enter the old bar code. Winnebago told me to create each copy as a first
copy then go back in and duplicate then reenter it as a second copy then
go back and delete the "first copy". I am rebarcoding the books.

One thing that my aide and I find so frustrating about Spectrum 5.0 is the
terrible way it does overdues/fines. It waste too much paper and  won't
allow us to sort by grade. At one point we had half a page of complaints
about the reports functions, but a friend appeased me by telling me that
5.0 and its next upgrade will allow us much more flexibility in doing the

Ease of use.
Graphic interface for younger students.
Easy to edit members and circ info.
Great service when I call with questions.
The only thing I don't like is that when I renew a book, the patron goes
away.  I'd like the patron to stay up so I can access fines, etc.

About a year ago there was an article in the SLJ and this was
done by librarians. It may be too technical but hey, it's worth a shot.

 I have used Spectrum for several years in several different versions. One
thing that I
find annoying is that you have to use a password to get into everything
while you are in
circulation. It is time consuming and very difficult when I have a sub.

I really like this new version over the old.  Some of the strengths from the
circ/cat window: You can now use it as a real windows program in that it now
allows you to open several windows at a time.  This is an improvement over
the last version, which only allowed you to open one window at a time.  So
you were in the middle of editing a record and needed to check out a patron,
as soon as you went to checkout, it closed your material edit window!  Also,
a lot of things are color coded.  For example, as you are checking out a
patron, and their screen comes up, you can immediately see if they have
overdues or messages, etc, because they are in color.
A weakness is in the printing of labels.  I print my own barcode labels and
it used to be a pleasure, but now Sagebrush admits there is a bug in the
print function and the last number of each barcode is omitted.  So I have to
handwrite those in!
A strength with the patron catalog- the window stays maximized, as opposed
with the earlier version, when the window kept shrinking!
Also, we have the deluxe version with the visual search.  This is a
searching tool for our students.  Especially the younger ones.

We have only had Spectrum 5 since the beginning of the school year, so still
learning what all there is and what all it can do.  So far, the feature we
have enjoyed the most is the ease that the students can use OPAC once they
realize how it is set up - the old program relied on function keys.  The
other feature is the ability to utilize the Web Resource Links (WRL-which
connects students to the Internet on the particular subject) providing that
your school has purchased this feature.  The down side has been the need to
enter passwords for the different functions plus when renewing a book, the
program does not allow you to view the title and due date like our old
program did.

Linda Lucke
LC Director
Butterfield School

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