K–12 school librarians and their employing districts need ever-more sophisticated data analysis and reporting tools to monitor students’ educational progress as well as to satisfy reporting requirements of state and federal agencies. To help its school library customers meet such requirements, Sagebrush Corp., a company that specializes in providing library automation products for K–12 libraries (see SLN 25, no. 9, Sept. 2005, p. 2), also offers products that extend beyond the library, into the information and assessment needs of the broader school administration. Last month, Sagebrush added “Viewpoint,” a suite of analytical tools for school districts, to its product array for K–12 customers.
Viewpoint offers a suite of data warehouse, data mining, and analytical reporting tools that comprise a data-management system to support the complex reporting and analysis involved in monitoring the progress of student learning and school performance. Based on a data warehouse model, the Viewpoint system uses an Operational Data Store (of focused data) that supports reporting and analytical modules. One of the components, “Student Plans,” packaged with Viewpoint provides users with a facility to easily complete some of the common student-plan reports required on the district, state, and federal levels. Sagebrush offers “Viewpoint Student Plans” as a standalone product as well.
All the features of Viewpoint operate through a Web-based interface, providing users with a unified approach to managing the system; this also allows access to all the data and modules through a single, secure sign-on mechanism.
Viewpoint builds on Sagebrush’s earlier reporting product, “Analytics,” which was announced in May 2003. Analytics, based on decision-support technology licensed from SwiftKnowledge, remains a component of Viewpoint.
As of early November 2005, two school districts, one in Hillsborough County, Florida, and another in Sacramento, California, are using the software. The other forty districts that have previously licensed Analytics will upgrade to Viewpoint in the coming months.
Sagebrush’s offering of Viewpoint serves as an example of how each of the library automation companies seeks to expand their businesses beyond offering just a core library automation system—a topic I’ve covered often in this “ILS Scoop” department of SLN over the last year’s volume (25). As ILS sales slow due to market saturation, these companies must seek out additional opportunities for revenue growth. With the launch of Viewpoint late this year, Sagebrush is able to extend its K–12 school library-technology product expertise into a broader, but related, market niche.