Civica Library and Learning has released the latest major version of its flagship library management system, Spydus 9. This new version of Spydus incorporates a variety of new functional capabilities and technology enhancements. Embracing many of the characteristics of the new generation library services platforms, it includes comprehensive resource management, Webbased interfaces, and open APIs. Civica offers Spydus 9 either for local installation or as a fully-managed hosted service.
New Features and Technology
Civica positions Spydus 9 as a significant advancement over previous versions of the product, and libraries will make at least a modest investment to upgrade. Although retaining the same product name, the transition from Spydus 8 to Spydus 9 is not unlike that seen in other companies such as Innovative Interfaces, where existing customers using Millennium pay some new fees to move to Sierra. While ongoing enhancements and bug fixes are expected as part of annual maintenance fees paid by libraries for the product they implemented, library software companies commonly expect some additional investment for major new product versions.
Civica reports that Spydus 9 puts special emphasis on support of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, including the ability for patrons to place requests for materials, manage account details, and other self-service activities. The company had previously offered a separate discovery product called Sorcer that could be used with Spydus 8 or other library management systems. With Spydus 9, the capabilities of Sorcer have been fully integrated into the product. The features include: fully unified search for library users, spanning all formats of materials, with relevancy-based ranking of search results; search suggestions as the user types a query; faceted navigation for narrowing search results; recommendations based on borrowing patterns; and other features expected of a modern discovery interface.
Spydus 9 also takes a more comprehensive approach to library resource management, including the capability to manage digital assets. It handles multiple metadata formats including MARC, Dublin Core, and ISAD (International Standard Archival Description). Consistent with demand from public libraries, Spydus has integrated e-book management capabilities.
Debut in Singapore
This new version of Spydus was put through its paces at the National Library Board of Singapore (NLB), a network that includes the National Library and 25 public libraries throughout the city. The NLB served as a beta test site for Spydus 9 and put the software into production in August 2013. These libraries migrated to Spydus 9 from a Carl ILS from The Library Corporation. The NLB has previously implemented and continues to rely on Primo from Ex Libris to power its SearchPlus facility that provides access to the subscription databases and e-journals in addition to its local print and digital resources.
Success in Multiple International Regions
Spydus has become as a well-established library automation product in many international sectors, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Only a handful of libraries in the United States have acquired Spydus. It has been adopted by about 1,800 library organizations. While Spydus finds a preponderance of its use in public libraries, it also has been implemented by many school and academic libraries. The Ministry of Education in Singapore, for example, uses Spydus in its 350 schools to manage combined collections exceeding 8 million items. The ministry also contracts with Civica for library management services.
Civica has found considerable success in the United Kingdom with more than 30 library services having adopted Spydus either individually or through consortia, such as the South East Library Management System. It supports more than 240 individual facilities across 9 library services. Among its UK customers, the Birmingham City Library has recently opened its new building, representing an investment of £189 million that ranks it as the largest public library in Europe. This library relies on Spydus to manage the collection of around a million volumes in this facility as well as the 40 others throughout the Birmingham. Civica Library and Learning operates within Civica, a large technology services firm that develops software for many different local government sectors. As reported in the July 2013 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter, the company recently changed ownership as OMERS Private Equity acquired the company from 3i Group.
For a detailed explanation of the background of Civica and Spydus, see the June 2008 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter