Ameritech will release an improved version of Dynix WebPAC this fall. The product is currently in testing. In addition to providing a Web-based user interface, it will offer self-service features such as patron-placed/canceled holds, ILL requests, patron-initiated renewals, and self-registration. It is designed to work not only with fully-configured PCs, but also with network computers. A network computer is a diskless workstation limited to running Java Applets from a central server. The intent is to reduce the cost of workstations-although the price differential between network computers and budget PCs currently is small-and to reduce the amount of time required for servicing workstations as applications will be managed on a central server.
In a related development, Sun Microsystems has announced that it will offer a $99 plug-in card based on a micro-Java processor, code-named Java-Blaster, that will provide fast hardware-based Java code interpretation to PCs. This will make it possible to convert PCs, especially aging PCs, into network clients. The cards are expected to become available in the third quarter of 1997.
Ameritech hopes to use Citrix Winframe technology, but it appears that a version of the product which supports Windows95 is at least as far away as late 1997. This despite an announcement by Microsoft and Citrix that they were working together to integrate Citrix technology into Microsoft products.
Ameritech has also announced that the long awaited support of diacritics and multilingual capability is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1997. Other enhancements under development are EDI x.12 online ordering and claiming, and the ability to place holds in Kid's Catalog.
[Contact: Ameritech Library Services, 400 Dynix Drive, Provo, UT 84604; 800-288-8020; FAX 801-223-5202; home page http://www.amlibs.com].