In recent years, SirsiDynix has been executing a development agenda that provides libraries with tools and interfaces to improve access to their collections and services. The company continues to make improvements in the functionality of its strategic integrated library systems, Symphony and Horizon, concentrating especially on the development of patron-facing tools. These interface products address the different methods with which patrons might want to access the library: BookMyne and BookMyne+ for iOS and Android based mobile devices, Enterprise and Portfolio for the Web, and the Social Library for Facebook. SirsiDynix has also launched eResource Central for access and management of e-books, complementing the capabilities of its Symphony and Horizon ILS products in managing a library's print collection.
Ongoing Development and Support for Symphony and Horizon
Despite any past announcements or recent rumors, SirsiDynix asserts full commitment to support both its Symphony and Horizon ILS products going forward. In remarks at the recent Customers of SirsiDynix Users Group, Inc. Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, Talin Bingham, SirsiDynix chief technology officer, said that the new interface products will support both Symphony and Horizon in both locally installed and SaaS deployments. Both Symphony and Horizon have many installations in libraries, making ongoing support and development a sound business strategy. SirsiDynix continues to make incremental improvements in Horizon even as it enhances Symphony more aggressively. A development project underway for Symphony, for example, will produce Webbased cataloging clients , offering a more flexible approach to the creation of bibliographic records than the current Javabased WorkFlows.
Enterprise and Portfolio
SirsiDynix continues to develop Enterprise as its strategic Webbased discovery product. An enhanced version named Portfolio also includes the ability to manage digital content outside the ILS. SirsiDynix Enterprise was initially launched in June 2008 with relevancy-based search based on GlobalBrain, a search technology licensed from BrainWare.
SirsiDynix Enterprise and Portfolio was re-engineered in Version 4.1, released in June 2011 to make use of the open source SOLR search engine, which has become the most widely used search platform by library-oriented discovery products. By May 2012, 251 library organizations had implemented Enterprise. The most recent 4.2 release of Enterprise/ Portfolio brings a tighter integration with the patron functionality of the underlying Symphony or Horizon ILS to provide more complete “My Account” features, such as sign-in, renewing items, managing holds and requests, and making payments. Previous versions offered more limited patron account features. Other enhancements include integration with eResource Central and the ability to easily create citations through RefWorks or Zotero.
With increasing investments in e-books, public libraries want to provide access that is integrated into existing end-user discovery interfaces and to effectively and efficiently manage e-books in their collections. The initial model of public library e-book lending has largely been based on linking patrons to third-party e-book providers, especially OverDrive.
In recent months, interest has grown in integrating e-book discovery and lending to existing library interfaces. The May issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter featured the integrated environment from Polaris in partnership with 3M and also BiblioCommons' project for integrating e-book lending. SirsiDynix has created a new product called eResource Central to allow its customer libraries to dramatically improve their e-book services to their patrons.
SirsiDynix initially announced eResource Central in January 2012 as a product offering a radically simplified user experience for access to e-books, audio books, and other digital content. It aims to be a single point of search and discovery of the library's collection, including both the print materials managed within the Symphony or Horizon ILS as well as e-book collections. Patrons will be able to access available copies of e-books through a single click. Through eResource Central, appropriate services will be presented according to the type of material: requests or holds for physical materials; or the download and viewing of e-books. No separate authentication is needed to access e-books that of the library interface, such as Enterprise/Portfolio, BookMyne, or Social Library.
The product also includes functionality to help libraries manage their e-book collections. The staff of eResource Central will provide libraries with tools to select and acquire e-books from commercial suppliers as well as from freely available sources. The libraries' e-book holdings will be indexed and made available through eResource Central in a way that seamlessly integrates with their print collections. The product will also include analytics that will assist the library's collection development processes for the selection of new materials.
The functionality of eResource Central contrasts with the process that many libraries currently have in place to manage their e-book collections, such as loading the MARC records into their ILS and providing links to external e-book providers. When libraries load the e-book records into their ILS, it is not necessarily possible to include features such as their availability in the initial result lists or to provide buttons for patrons to download the item or request it without being sent off to the platform provided by the e-book supplier.
The structure of eResource Central is cloud-based. SirsiDynix hosts both the software and the indexes, eliminating the need for locally installed software in the library. SirsiDynix's primary patronfacing interfaces, including Enterprise/ Portfolio, BookMyne, and Social Library, deliver the end-user functionality of eResource Central. Customer libraries using legacy online catalog interfaces, such as iLink, IPS, or Horizon Information Portal (HIP), can use eResource Central through a dedicated Web-based client, currently known as eRC PAC, which will be rebranded in the near future. These older catalog products do not have the capability to make use of the Web Services layer and the search technologies that eResource Central holds in common with Enterprise/Portfolio, BookMyne, and Social Library.
Patrons of libraries using one of the current SirsiDynix interfaces will be able to search both holdings managed in Horizon or Symphony and e-books managed in eResource Central from a single interface. Users will see unified relevancy-ranked search results spanning print and digital materials with facets to narrow results according to the usual topical categories and by immediately available e-book collections.
The discovery component of eResource Central relies on an index maintained by SirsiDynix of the major e-book collections, profiled according to those held by each library that makes use of the product. This index will include those items offered in publicly available collections, such as Project Gutenberg and Open Library as well as those from SirsiDynix's commercial partners. SirsiDynix is currently working with Baker & Taylor to integrate e-books from its Axis 360 service through eResource Central. This initial effort results in the ability for library patrons to download e-books into the Blio reader with a single click after discovering an item of interest, provided that they have already signed in. The library will also be able to purchase e-book titles through the staff interface of eResource Central. The arrangement with Baker & Taylor is not exclusive. SirsiDynix reports that it expects to form similar arrangements with other suppliers of e-books to libraries.
SirsiDynix expects the initial release of eResource Central to be in the fourth quarter of 2012.
While SirsiDynix describes eResource Central as a tool for access and management of electronic resources, the current features focus on e-books and audio books and the loan models seen in public libraries. It does not currently provide functionality similar to the electronic resource management products used in academic libraries to manage complex collections of scholarly resources. The capabilities needed for the management and access of e-resource packages comprised of e-journals, book chapters, abstracting and indexing products, and aggregated content platform differs considerably from that needed to support e-book lending. E-book integration services such as the SirsiDynix eResource Central and electronic resource management systems such as Verde from Ex Libris, Innovative's Electronic Resource Management, or OCLC's WorldShare License Manager constitute different product categories and highlight the increasingly divergent automation requirements between public and academic libraries. SirsiDynix indicates that they plan support for journals, serials, and scholarly reference materials in the next major version of eResource Central expected in 2013.
SirsiDynix has created a personal space, called Bookshelf, for patrons to place items of interest. BookShelf will be implemented at no additional cost across its major public-facing products, including BookMyne, Social Library, and Enterprise/ Portfolio. It provides a graphical interface, using the cover art of materials when available, as a portable container for patrons to place items of interest, including the ability to share those items with others.
SirsiDynix Social Library
In January 2012, SirsiDynix announced the launch of Social Library, a native Facebook application that adds catalog search and other features to its Facebook page. Social Library operates through the Web Services layer available for both Symphony and Horizon. Recent developments to the SirsiDynix Social Library include the integration of BookShelf. As of May 2012 SirsiDynix reports that around 25 libraries have licensed Social Library.