AUSTIN, TEXAS, November 6, 1998 - Nichols Advanced Technologies announces the release of Athena Webserver v2.1, with substantial enhancements over the previous award-winning version. Athena Webserver puts libraries using the Athena library automation system on the Internet or their local Intranet, allowing patrons to search their collections using a standard browser. To see Athena Webserver in action, access a link through our web site at www.nicholsinc.com.
While Athena Webserver's interface has changed slightly, the main improvement in Athena Webserver v2.1 is the addition of Visual Search, an icon-based tool that allows patrons to search for items and launch bibliographies using visual clues as well as text. Patrons can click through a hierarchy of colorful buttons to narrow their search and find the items they want. For example, they may start by clicking on the "Geography and History" button, then click on the "History of North America" button, and then click on the "North Central States" button, which displays their search results.
Libraries can also create bibliographies of items, and place them under a Visual Search button that displays the bibliography. For example, a librarian might want to create a bibliography of items on a subject their patrons find interesting, like the "Amazon Rain Forest". Once they do, they can attach the bibliography to a button they label "Amazon Rain Forest". When a patron clicks on the "Amazon Rain Forest" button, the bibliography is displayed. And schools, for example, can have a button that says "Teachers" or "Professors." When a patron clicks on the button, a subsequent group of icons - one for each teacher - appears. When the patron clicks on a teacher, a bibliography of items the teacher recommends is displayed.
If the library has cataloged Internet resources such as web sites, patrons can view the record of the site, then go to the site by clicking on the hypertext link.
In addition to Visual Search, this new version of Athena Webserver also offers several features included in Nichols' Athena library automation system, but not in the first version of Athena Webserver. These include the ability for a patron to specify the indices of each of his search terms, browse indices, and search by barcode number and call number. Athena Webserver also allows patrons to sort their search results by a number of criteria. And Athena Webserver now includes "See" and "See Also" capabilities.
"With this new release, we're providing unique capabilities for libraries on the Internet," said Bruce Butler, President of Nichols. "Instead of providing a way to search only the library's book and magazine holdings, we're giving libraries the tools they need to get directed information to their patrons - like cataloged web sites, bibliographies on particular topics, and more. This new version of Athena Webserver takes our approach one step further."
About Athena Webserver
Athena Webserver allows anyone with an Internet connection and a browser to search the library's holdings. By giving the public greater access to its resources, the library can develop better relationships with, and gain support from, their communities.
Athena Webserver enables patrons, via the Internet, to initiate a search and carry out any other Athena search functions, such as browse displayed results or view bibliographic and copy information. Patrons can even find other links directing them to addresses on the Internet where additional information on their topics can be found. And they do not need special "client" software to access the library; all they need is a browser.
About Athena & Nichols
Athena is the best-selling library automation system for Windows and is one of the highest rated library automation systems in the world. In a recent rating of 36 library automation systems by the American Library Association's Library Technology Reports, Athena received the highest ratings overall - and in 10 of the 12 categories considered. Athena provides circulation, searching, cataloging, cross-platform capabilities (Macintosh and DOS), and related functions for large and small libraries and school districts.
Austin, Texas-based Nichols Advanced Technologies, which has additional offices in Edmonton, Alberta and La Crosse, Wisconsin, provides powerful, easy-to-use library solutions for all major microcomputer systems. Founded in 1983, Nichols delivers library automation systems, retrospective conversion services, barcode readers, and automation supplies.