SYRACUSE, New York, June 22, 2004 -- GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced today the release of version 3.1 of the Polaris integrated library system software, with enhancements in every subsystem to increase staff productivity and improve service to patrons. The release includes major changes in serials control and enhancements in the Polaris PowerPAC that make it easy for library users to launch new related searches from within an existing search and to choose how their search results are sorted. Polaris 3.1 was released following the successful conclusion of beta testing with County College of Morris (NJ), Lexington County Public Library System (SC) and Washington County Cooperative Library Services (OR) and with design input from Maricopa County Library District (AZ). The new release has been installed at Lexington County Public Library System and the Clearwater Public Library (FL) and will be rolled out to all Polaris customers over the next several months.
New search capabilities in the Polaris PowerPAC help library users get more value from the library catalog and identify useful library materials they might not otherwise have found. Patrons can now choose how their search results are displayed. The default sort order is Most Popular. If no other sort order is selected (e.g., title, author, call number or publication date), titles in the search results are ranked by a popularity index in descending order. Polaris 3.1 also makes it easy for patrons to launch a new, related search from within their initial search. Options for extending searches include Related Subjects and Related Searches, displayed as links on the “dashboard.” Clicking a link launches the appropriate browse search.
In the area of serials control, Polaris 3.1 provides new capabilities to streamline workflow, efficiently manage serials prediction patterns, simplify check in, and ensure patrons can find valuable information about serial holdings. As the first phase of GIS’ implementation of MARC 21 Format for Holdings, Polaris 3.1 supports any regularity and calendar changes for basic bibliographic units, supplements and indexes. Libraries also can set up pattern templates, which facilitate the creation of new prediction patterns. Additional enhancements in serials control include the ability to create serials holdings records using bibliographic records in cataloging; the ability to check in issues at the system or branch level and to check in multiple issues quickly with one mouse click; and the ability to manually create and check in unexpected issues without changing the setup for automatic prediction.
Workflow enhancements are also evident in the acquisitions subsystem. An express import feature allows staff to bring MARC records in from book vendors with a simple selection of a profile of settings specific to both the type of records in the file and the purpose for which the records are being imported. The profiles hide the complexity of settings so that acquisitions staff -- who may not be cataloging experts -- can easily bring in accurate catalog-ready records for selection lists or POs.
“The release of Polaris 3.1 is further evidence of GIS’ commitment to delivering the capabilities most important to our customers,” said Bill Schickling, president and CEO. “We added Course Reserves to Polaris 3.1 to meet the needs of our growing number of community college library customers and public libraries involved in distance learning. Through the Polaris Users Group and our partnership with individual libraries we identify the staff productivity and public service initiatives that will really make a difference to our libraries and that’s where we apply our resources. The fact that our customers are quick to adopt our new releases is evidence that we are working on the right things for them,” he added.
Highlights of Polaris 3.1
Polaris PowerPAC Patrons can now choose how their search results are displayed. The default sort order for keyword, phrase, advanced, and Boolean search results is Most Popular. If no other sort order is selected (e.g., title, author, call number or publication date), titles in the search results are ranked by a popularity index in descending order.
Polaris 3.1 makes it easy for patrons to launch a new, related search from within their initial search. The Related Subjects dashboard is displayed with the initial search results page. Subject links are relevancy-ranked, with most common at the top. The Related Searches dashboard is displayed when you click a title in the search results to display the full title view. When you click a link, the appropriate browse search is launched.
Cataloging Polaris 3.1 supports subscriptions to MARC databases such as cataloged web sites so changes and deletions can be imported into Polaris. Importing a delete actually deletes the record in Polaris and importing a change overlays the old record in Polaris. This allows the library to update its holdings automatically without the need for manual intervention.
Circulation Polaris 3.1 supports Course Reserves, enhancing service to academic and community college libraries and any institution involved in distance learning.
With Polaris 3.1, libraries have increased control over renewal options, including setting parameters at the library level for which types of patron blocks will or will not stop a renewal. Polaris 3.1 also integrates smart card use in circulation and facilitates inbound telephony for phone renewals.
Serials Polaris 3.1 provides the first phase of MARC 21 Format for Holdings support. Polaris fully supports any regularity for basic bibliographic units, supplements and indexes. Libraries also can set up pattern templates, which facilitate the creation of new prediction patterns. Streamlined workflow now makes serials check-in more efficient.
Acquisitions With a new “express” capability, libraries can now set up and store profiles for importing selection records or records to load to Selection Lists or Purchase Orders. Importing records is now a simple “click and go.”
System Administration System Administration is even easier with Polaris 3.1. GIS can distribute new system administration settings without requiring libraries to do a full client upgrade. This allows new functionality to get to customers faster between major releases.
About GIS Information Systems
Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, GIS Information Systems is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the developer of the Polaris® integrated library system. From its beginnings thirty years ago, GIS has served libraries with innovative technology, from its first circulation system in the mid-1970’s through its third-generation Polaris system. Ranked number one by users for the quality of customer support they receive*, Polaris facilitates all aspects of library operations by providing innovative workflow solutions packaged in a familiar Windows interface. The Polaris staff client offers a complete solution for acquisitions, collection management, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loan and serials control. The Polaris PowerPAC extends this innovation to the end-user by providing a fully customizable library portal to the library’s catalog and other library resources, including enhanced bibliographic data such as book images, tables of contents, and reviews. With embedded metasearch capabilities, patrons can search the library’s catalog, the web, other library catalogs and Z39.50 databases at one time using one common interface.
In addition to its library automation systems, GIS Information Systems, Inc. offers workflow analysis, retrospective conversion, database enhancement and network security services to libraries of all types. Thirty percent of GIS staff is composed of professional librarians. More information is available via telephone 800-272-3414 and at www.gisinfosystems.com.