Thursday, 29 September 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel...

When I started my new job four months ago, I became a super user of Heritage LMS. My previous experience had been with OLIB and Eclipse, and although I had often heard of Heritage I had never really seen it action.
Image taken by ComedyNose

For the first three months of this job I found Heritage totally overwhelming; it is a huge piece of software encompassing many different modules and I found it quite intimidating. As Systems Librarian is it my job to maintain Heritage – keep it updated, ensure it runs smoothly and is both accessible and useful to our users. Not having ever used Heritage before I had no idea how to do any of this. I tried to learn as much as I could myself, but found even the helpsheets and manuals too complicated for a beginner. To say I was wading through mud would have been an understatement.

This began to slowly change last month after I attended the Heritage Open Day. I found it incredibly valuable and blogged about it here. It helped me realise that Heritage users come from all manner of libraries and we all use it in different ways. It helped me to relax a little and panic less.

Two weeks ago I attended a day-long workshop at Heritage HQ IS Oxford, entitled Inheriting Heritage. It was aimed at new superusers of Heritage who have the task of maintaining a system they know nothing about. I cannot say how valuable I found this day – it was worth every penny! I met other people who are in exactly the same position as I am and exchanged contact details with a few of them. All the information I needed on what to do with Heritage was there, and at a pace I could keep up with and understand. The following day I went to work and tackled things we’d done in the course and I actually felt as though I had achieved something!

I’m no longer scared of Heritage like I was when I first started this job. There’s still such a lot I don’t know, but I’m not afraid to poke around and try to find out now. I’ve used the Marvin help forum and the support desk – I find these more useful than the helpsheets – and I can now at last see that I’ve made some progress. I still can’t get my head around the reports function (command line syntax, anyone???) and I’d love to go on the IS Oxford daycourse for that (should budgets allow). I’ve come to accept that yes, Heritage is a massive piece of software, but I’m not the only person to struggle with it. If I was, Heritage wouldn’t have the need to run training events and open days, and the Heritage User Group wouldn’t even exist. I am so glad I attended the Inheriting Heritage workshop, it has improved my confidence as well as my knowledge; it lifted a weight from my shoulders, and I wish wish wish I’d had the chance to do it sooner.

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