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At Woods Hole, Endeavor's Voyager becomes a Mariner

Press Release: Endeavor Information Systems, Inc. [March 27, 1996]

March 27, 1996 -- Cathy Norton, director of the library at the Marine Biological Laboratory/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MBL/WHOI), knew exactly what she needed in an automated library system: "Our patrons," she said, "are scientists--here, at sea, and all over the world. Our job is to enhance and extend scholarly communication. So we needed a system that would be accessible from all over the world, and our platform had to be accessible by any other computer platform."

The library Norton directs is unique. It serves some 2,000 scientific staff who work for one of five organizations: the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Geological Survey (Atlantic Branch). and the SEA Education Association. In summer the ranks of scientists swell to 41000. including researchers from 200 universities and 25 countries. MBL is home to Boston University's marine biology Master's and PH.D. program, and WHOI offers a joint Master's and Ph.D. program in oceanography with MIT.

In addition to some 30,000 books, the collection includes some 2,000 current journal subscriptions, and extensive special collections including rare books, papers of scientists such as Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gvorgyi. and an extensive collection of maps and nautical charts. The library is open 24 hours per day. 365 days per year and has never been closed.

Even the location is unique. Sitting on a small spit of land on Cape Cod. Woods Hole is a natural deep water port that is blessed with fast-running tides that minimize pollution and wash incredible varieties of marine life into the area. "I have the best job in the whole world, says Norton. a native of New Bedford, Mass.

Norton selected Voyager from Endeavor Information Systems. Inc. But to reflect the unique nature of the library and the community she serves, the Voyager system in production at Woods Hole is called Mariner. "Our people go to sea in pursuit of knowledge: they are mariners." she said. "Our Mariner goes with them." And it's literally true that the system goes with them. Researchers at sea can use a satellite relay to link them with Voyager's ASCII client and gain access to the library's resources.

Norton describes the Unix-based client/server system that employs the familiar and user friendly Windows interface as "outstanding." But she also points to two qualities that will be of value to other libraries seeking a next-generation system. One is the speed of implementation, and the other is price.

The MBL/WHOI Library was leaving a consortium and its contract with the group ended on Dec. 31. 1995. The contract to purchase the Voyager system was signed on Sept. 30. 1995. During October and November. Information Systems librarian Maggie Rioux. who serves as system administrator, prepared the records in the consortial database for extraction. She then wrote an extraction program that saved the library thousands of dollars. While the tapes were being prepared at Endeavor's Rosemont, Ill.. offices. Rioux used a training database to train staff in Voyager functionalities.

In a one-and-a-half day period just after Christmas. Rioux installed the library's loan policies and other library-specific options in the new system. On Jan. 1, 1996. the system was up and operating.

The cost of a new system was of great concern to Norton. Rioux, their colleagues, and the institution's administrators. Currently. Norton says, the annual cost of a Voyager system tailored to a unique library's needs is "almost similar" to the cost of membership in a consortium. More important, she says. "In three years. the annual cost will be less than a third the cost of membership in the consortium."

Norton and Rioux give Endeavor staff members high marks. Rioux said, "We were up when we were supposed to be up." and added. "the team is wonderful to work with. They listen, and I get answers to my questions." Speaking to the responsiveness of the programming and support staff. Norton said. "If' I have a question. I just snap off an email and get a response. I like that. They have delivered--on time--every feature they promised."

"Mariners." she noted. "sail of in search of something. Our Mariner will help them find it.

View Citation
Publication Year:1996
Type of Material:Press Release
Language English
Issue:March 27, 1996
Publisher:Endeavor Information Systems, Inc.
Company: Endeavor Information Systems, Inc.
Products: Voyager
Libraries: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marine Biological Laboratory
Subject: System announcements -- selection
Record Number:3519
Last Update:2023-11-16 22:34:48
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00