Troubleshooting HCPL Catalog Access

The online catalog is unavailable between 6pm and 7pm every Sunday for regularly scheduled database maintenance.

The browsers listed here are recommended by the vendor and have been tested by other library systems that use the same automated system as HCPL.  They have not been tested by Harris County Public Library.  Please use this as a reference only.

Recommended web browsers

  1. Internet Explorer 6.0+  Download
  2. Netscape 6.2+  Download
  3. Netscape Communicator 4.7 + Download

Common Browser Problmes
Some browsers use features such as TopSpeed and accelerator to speed up Web surfing.  The browser stores a copy of web pages on your local PC and uses those pages instead of going back over the Internet to get a new page display.  This speeds up or accelerates your Internet connection but may cause the problem with placing requests or logging into your account.

  1. AOL browser works if TopSpeed accelerator is disabled. Instruction.
  2. EarthLink browser works if the accelerator is disabled.  Instruction.
  3. Safari works on a Mac if caching is disabled.  Instruction
  4. Walmart browser does not work.  Work around
  5. Opera works with specific settings.
  6. Mozilla works with specific cache setting.  Instruction
  7. Firefox works with specific cache setting.   Instruction
  8. Galeon for Linux generally works but there may be some problems.
  9. WebTV works with basic online catalog features but not all features are available.
  10. Third party accelerators such as Propel cause problems.  Work around
  11. Other Dialup Internet connections may have problems if they use web page caching/storage to speed up connections. 

General guidelines when experiencing difficulty:

  • Use the compatible browsers listed above.  After you are connected to the Internet using whatever services you have, close the browser provided by ISP and switch to a recommended compatible browser.  They are all free to download from the Internet.
  • Clean browser cache and retry (even though using the recommended browsers).
  • Allow cookies. Enable JavaScript.
  • Disable firewall and/or reconfigure Internet security software
  • Check the browser security or privacy settings and do not set the security higher than medium
  • Disable features that use cache to speed up the connection.
  • If you get an Error Tracking Number when placing a hold, wait a few minutes, clean the cache and try again. 
  • If you get “Error connecting to server,” it indicates that the access is being blocked by a firewall, proxy server, or a router.  Check the firewall and/or contact your ISP or your network administrator at work.

Troubleshooting for receiving date due and hold notifications via email.


To turn off TopSpeed:

  • Click Settings on the AOL Toolbar.
  • Click Internet (Web) Options on the Essentials tab.
  • Then clear the TopSpeed check box. 

To clear the AOL browser cache:

  • Click on either the AOL icon or the Dialer icon on the right of the system tray.
  • Click System Information.
  • Click the Utilities tab.
  • Click Clear Browser Cache.
  • This procedure clears both the TopSpeed cache and the Internet Explorer cache. However, clearing the Internet Explorer cache using the normal Internet Explorer method will not clear the TopSpeed cache.

For Earthlink
We have found that if you turn off the Accelerator on the Earthlink browser, the placing holds problem is solved.  Or, after you start up your connection with Earthlink minimize the Earthlink browser and look for Internet Explorer on your computer.

For Walmart
It appears that the accelerator is built into the Walmart browser and can't be turned off.  After you start up your connection with Walmart, minimize the Walmart browser and look for Internet Explorer on your computer.  

For Safari on a Mac: Permanently disable the cache

  1. Go to Go/Applications on the Mac OS X toolbar.
  2. From within the Applications window, double click on the Utilities icon.
  3. Double click on the Terminal icon to open a Terminal window.
  4. At the prompt type:  rm -r ~/Library/caches/safari/
  5. Then type:  touch ~/Library/caches/safari

This creates an empty file where Safari expects its cache to be and prevents it from caching any pages.  We also have reports that IE and Netscape work with the library online catalog on a Mac.

For Mozilla: change the cache setting

  1. Go to Edit/Preferences on the Mozilla toolbar.
  2. Click on Advanced, then Cache.
  3. Change the setting to "Compare the page every time". 

For Firefox: change the cache settings

  1. In the Location bar type:  about:config
  2. Press Enter. Firefox will display a list of configuration settings.
  3. In the Filter box type:  cache
  4. You will see the configuration settings relating to the browser cache.
  5. Double-click on Browser.cache.doc_check_frequency
  6. Change the setting from 3 to 1.
  7. Click OK.

For Propel (a third party Internet accelerator):
Propel is a third party accelerator that speeds up your Internet connection.  You can turn off Propel when you search the library catalog and turn it back on for other web sites. 

Disable/Enable Propel Accelerator


When Propel Accelerator is enabled, this menu item will appear as Disable Propel Accelerator. When disabled, the menu item will appear as Enable Propel Accelerator. By default, Propel Accelerator is enabled, meaning that your Internet experience is accelerated. When you choose the Disable option, the Propel Acceleration Service will be bypassed and you will access the Internet at regular speed.

Note: Even if Propel Accelerator is disabled, the Propel Accelerator menu is still active. You can check performance or change settings in Options.

To completely inactivate Propel Accelerator, choose Stop Propel Accelerator from the Windows Start menu: Programs -> {Propel Accelerator program group} -> Stop Propel Accelerator 

The instructions provided here are adopted from St. Johns County Public Library and Lake County Library System websites.