STAR, the software product of Los Angeles-based Cuadra Associates, Inc., has won a major library automation contract in Germany. STAR was selected as the standard integrated library system software by the 34 libraries of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft eV (FhG), Germany.
The award was announced by Bernd Harmsen and Christine Sattelmayer of the FhG, which is the leading organization of applied research in Germany, operating 47 research institutes with more than 9,000 employees, about half of them scientists and engineers. Its internal service team "FhG-Online" provides library support and training and also produces an online database covering all publications by institute scientists.
According to the FhG announcement, its libraries had been using another integrated library system software package but had become became increasingly dissatisfied with its non-graphical interface. The users demanded a graphical user interface, preferably Web-based.
A working committee was established by FhG in 1996 to survey the market and evaluate integrated library systems, The committee defined the mandatory and optional features needed and then solicited information from suppliers of integrated library software. Eight such suppliers responded and three candidate systems were subjected to hands-on testing between February and May 1998. None of them fully met the requirements, so the working committee installed and tested three additional systems.
Eventually four systems, including STAR, were presented at the annual meeting of the librarians of all Fraunhofer institutes, and feedback was solicited by questionnaire on the suitability of the systems to serve as their main working tool. STAR, with the STAR/Libraries application package, was selected.
According to the committee, most of the competing library software systems were not flexible enough to adapt to the cataloging requirements of the Fraunhofer libraries or to handle 'gray' literature, journal articles, and conference papers.
Another major element in the decision to choose STAR was the excellent reputation of the German distributor for STAR -- Glomas Deutschland GmbH -- for customer support.
STAR has been supporting special libraries for over 17 years, with installations in the U.S., Canada, Austria, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and South Africa.