SYRACUSE, New York, May 16, 2003 – GIS Information Systems, Inc. today announced the resignation of President Katherine Blauer. William Schickling, GIS vice president of research and development, was named as Blauer's successor. Blauer will continue in an advisory role through December 2003.
Bill Schickling has been with GIS since April 1987 and is the principle architect of the GALAXY® and Polaris® integrated library systems. From 1990-1996 Schickling worked as GIS programming manager and from 1996-1999 he led the Polaris development team as director of programming. From 1999 to the present he served as vice president of research and product development for all GIS software products.
Blauer joined Gaylord Bros., Inc. as president of the automation division in 1999 with a mandate to improve customer service and accelerate development of Polaris. During her tenure as president the customer operations group has established itself as the best in the industry. Polaris customers rate their support higher than users of other automation systems, according to a Computers in Libraries January 2003 survey, and other industry surveys from Library Journal and the American Library Association show GIS has among the highest support staff to customer ratio in the library automation industry.
Commenting on her decision to leave GIS Blauer said, “I had two primary objectives when I came to GIS four years ago. First, we needed to make our customer support the best in the industry. And second, we needed to deliver through Polaris the type of automation system libraries need to enhance service to patrons and increase staff productivity. Industry recognition shows we've accomplished our customer service objective and the release of Polaris 3.0 will demonstrate the strength and versatility that makes Polaris the right choice for all size public libraries. Having achieved my objectives I'm ready to move on to new challenges.”
Regarding the future of GIS Blauer said, “GIS is poised for significant growth in the next six to twelve months. Bill Schickling has the trust and confidence of both customers and staff. He will do an excellent job of continuing the work of making Polaris the best automation solution for today's libraries.”
Since 1999 GIS has maintained an aggressive development schedule, delivering two major Polaris releases each year. The company developed its own metasearch engine and introduced its PAC in a multilingual version that makes it easy for customers to add up to 115 different languages. Polaris 3.0 with the ability for patrons to save searches to be run automatically, expanded virtual reference integration, patron authentication to electronic resources, and Unicode support for non-Roman character sets is currently in beta testing and scheduled for release in June 2003.
Under Blauer's leadership GIS formed partnerships with all the major library industry vendors to enhance the value of Polaris. Polaris partners include 3M, Baker & Taylor, BWI, Brodart, EBSCO's NoveList™, Ingram Library Services, LSSI, R.R. Bowker's Books In Print and Global Books in Print™, Syndetic Solutions, Tech Logic, Unique Management Services and Veicon Technology. Polaris was the first automation system to integrate the virtual reference capabilities of LSSI's Virtual Reference ToolKit into an ILS.
Martin Blackman, partner in the Croydon Company, which owns GIS, said he regretted Blauer's decision to leave. “Katherine has brought an amazing amount of energy to GIS,” Blackman said. “She has positioned us strongly in the marketplace through her own keen desire to offer the best possible service and product to libraries. GIS customers and staff will miss her dedication and enthusiasm.” Blackman added the Croydon Company was very pleased that Bill Schickling has accepted the position as GIS President. “Bill knows our products and customers inside and out. He will provide the continuity and stability staff and customers have come to expect from GIS.”
Prior to joining GIS, Blauer was vice president of sales for Information Access Company, now part of the Gale Group. From 1993-1997 she was Director of National Sales for OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, GIS is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the developer of the Polaris® integrated library system. From its beginnings as a division of Gaylord Bros., the company has for more than twenty-five years served libraries with innovative technology, from its first circulation system in the mid-1970's through its third-generation Polaris system. Ranked number 1 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. With its object-oriented design and integrated Z39.50 capabilities, Polaris avoids the artificial boundaries common to legacy systems built on a modular framework. It also avoids the costs and downtime associated with installing modules one piece at a time. 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. Today more than 300 libraries use Polaris every day to serve the information needs of their communities.
In addition to its library automation systems, GIS 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.