Syracuse, NY: Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) today announced that Polaris 1.3, the latest version of their award-winning integrated library automation solution supports a fully customizable telephone notification utility.
The Polaris Telephone Notification utility is extremely easy to install and maintain. Messages are pre-recorded, but the voice files are stored in a format that allows sites to customize each notification. Changes to messages and utility configuration options are made through the completely graphical Polaris System Administration interface. Sites can choose 2-, 4-, 8-, or 12-port hardware. All hardware is pre-configured by GIS and includes licenses for the required 3rd party software.
Todd Geraty, the GIS Software Engineer who designed and implemented the Polaris Telephone Notification utility, noted that the addition of telephone notification will save Polaris sites thousands of dollars each year in staff and mailing costs. "An average size library produces 1,500 holds, overdue, and fine notices each week. That equals 78,000 notices going out each year. If it costs approximately 50 cents to create a notice, including postage, printer, and special paper for notices, the library is spending around $39,000 in a single year on printed notices. It's not hard to see how the Polaris Telephone Notification utility pays for itself within the first month," Geraty said.
The notification utility was developed as a Windows NT Service using Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 and both the Active and Standard Template Libraries. The utility uses Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM) technology to interface with the Polaris application. Each phone line operates independently, yet can communicate with each other when needed. Bill Schickling, Vice President of Product Development at GIS, believes his staff has developed one of the most sophisticated and interactive library telephone notification systems on the market. "Like Polaris itself, the notification utility exploits the latest technologies. It's implemented using Polaris' N-tiered architecture, so the Windows NT Service runs in the background - no login required - and the COM business objects take advantage of our implementation of Microsoft Transaction Server and SQL Server." Schickling added, "Taking advantage of this technology now establishes the utility (and all of Polaris) as the most reliable, robust, and cost effective solution available today."
Polaris 1.3 also provides Polaris Online Public Access Catalog customization and hold queue enhancements. Each library in a Polaris system can now have a customized OPAC interface running on a single, shared web server. This allows geographically separate libraries to post site-specific information about collections, services, community activities, etc. while maintaining access to the system's catalog and other Z39.50-compliant databases. The Hold Queue management feature is an extension of Polaris' inherent support of distributed processing. Library staff at each site can now hold and route requested items in their own hold queue or the system's queue.
The Polaris technical services suite has also been dramatically enhanced. Because the entire suite of functionality (acquisitions, serials, and cataloging) was developed simultaneously, Polaris 1.3 is a truly integrated system. The system's authority control feature includes automatic linking to bibliographic and other authority records, as well as automatically updating obsolete bibliographic headings. For library systems using de-centralized fund accounting, Polaris 1.3 provides accelerated multi-library ordering and payment. Users will also find extensive new serials control functionality in this version of the software.
Polaris is a non-modular, native-Windows NT library automation solution. The system offers complete access to integrated cataloging, serials, acquisitions, circulation, patron/student services, and system administration functionality. Polaris provides a Web-based public access client and a Windows 95/98/NT Workstation-based technical services client. Polaris was built with Microsoft technologies solely for the Windows NT Server platform and SQL Server.
GIS is the 25 year-old software development division of Gaylord Brothers, a library supplies and furniture company in business since 1896. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers networking, retrospective conversion, and database enhancement services to libraries of all types. For more information, visit or contact GIS headquarters at 800-272-3414.