Library Technology Guides

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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Trying to keeping up

I havenít made nearly as many contributions to GuidePosts as I had in mind when I started it last June. The deadlines I face for print publications definitely have an impact on the frequency of postings. Itís not only hard to find the time for writing here when I have an article due for a print publication, but itís also challenging to come up with enough ideas to write about. Every month I have at least two deadlines for print publications. My ďSystems LibrarianĒ column appears in Computers in Libraries and Iím a contributing editor for Smart Libraries Newsletter published by ALA TechSource, which involves writing one or more articles for each issue.

Both of these publications allow me to publish the full text of what I write for them ninety days after it appears in print. I think thatís an extraordinarily fair arrangement. They get exclusive access for a reasonable period, while I retain the right to put that content on this Web site afterwards. I commend both Information Today and ALA for offering these terms.

The Library Technology Guides Bibliography provides access to all my print publications and citations to other literature that I use in my research. While I originally had in mind to make it a complete reference for everything published in the field of library automation, that turned out not to be a realistic goal. Lots of other resources provide good coverage of topics related to technology in libraries. These days I add only my own publications and presentations to the bibliography and some of the materials I happen to be using for writing or research projects.

In the last few dayís I have finally gotten around to putting up my last couple of Computers in Libraries columns. Iíll provide links to those in separate posts with some updates on subsequent developments.

Oct 2, 2007 21:12:00
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The sun sets on Horizon

My June 2007 Systems Librarian column titled ďThe sun sets on HorizonĒ was prompted by the March 2007 SirsiDynix announcement that the company would focus on its Unicorn ILS and discontinue forward development of Horizon. The problem with writing about a breaking story in a print publication is that itís kind of old news by the time the issue hits the streets. On the other hand, I think that itís important to document such developments and narrate the story from beginning to end. In this piece I talked about the birth of Horizon in the early 1990ís when it was called Marquis, the battle between NOTIS and Dynix within Ameritech Library Services that resulted it its transformation into Horizon, and the productís eventual rise as one the most popular automation systems for public and academic libraries. Mergers and acquisitions show no kindness. Despite its recent rebirth into a new technology platform, the ongoing development of Horizon didnít fit into the business plan.

In the months that have transpired since I wrote this column, SirsiDynix has been working toward shoring up its Unicorn product to make it more palatable to the libraries that have selected or are considering Horizon. At the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, the company unveiled the new branding for Unicorn. From now on, they will call it Symphony. About twenty libraries have agreed to beta test the initial release of Symphony.

Computers in Libraries June 2007 Edition

Iíve been watching the migration patterns of the libraries involved with Horizon. Itís a bit too soon to remark on any trends that might be developing. SirsiDynix is providing strong incentives for these libraries to take up with Unicorn / Symphony. There will be lots of spillage of these libraries into the hands of their commercial competitors and to open source alternatives such as Evergreen and Koha. Iíll be interested to see what systems the current Horizon libraries will favor over the next few years.

I made the advanced search of lib-web-cats largely help me track this kind of trend. The ability to search by current or previous automation system and the year of implementation makes it possible to keep watch on the ILS migration patterns. SirsiDynix changing the name of Unicorn to Symphony presents a quandary as I attempt to track ILS implementations. For the time being, I intend to stick with the Unicorn name. That approach is consistent with what I did when Dynix used the name Corinthian for the Horizon 8.0 offered to academic libraries. When tracking automation systems over time, these changes in brand names obfuscate the actual marketplace trends.

Stay tuned. I'll be following developments on this front to see the number of Horizon libraries that stay the course with SirsiDynix versus those that pursue other alternatives.

Oct 2, 2007 22:16:10
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Phoenix Public Library selects Polaris

According to public documents on the City of Phoenix web site, the city has entered into contract negotiations with Polaris Library Systems to provide Polaris as its next generation library automation system. Phoenix Public Library has been running a Carl system since 1999.

Phoenix Public Library
Phoenix Public Library

In 2006, the library launched a new version of its Web site and catalog based on Endeca ProFind, making it the first public library to take advantage of this technology.

The city ordinance (S-34395) authorizing the contract specifies that its value not exceed $1.9 million.

While the contract has not been finalized, this legal notice that the library selected Polaris over Carl marks an important benchmark. Phoenix Public Library with its service population of 1.4 million, and annual circulation transactions of almost 15 million, will stand as the largest and busiest library served by the Polaris automation software following the anticipated successful implementation process.

Oct 9, 2007 20:22:24
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Name: Marshall Breeding

Title: Publisher

Organization: Library Technology Guides


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