HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (April 10, 1998) - The libraries of the Montana State University (MSU) system and the library of the University of Great Falls have announced the licensing of Sirsi Corporation's Unicorn Library Management System. Library officials at both universities will use the Unicorn system to share resources with users throughout Montana and in other regions. The Montana State University system, which has libraries at its Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings and Northern campuses, previously used automation systems from three different vendors. The MSU libraries will now operate the Unicorn system from a central server in Bozeman. In addition, the libraries of OMNI, a consortium of university, college and tribal college libraries located in eastern Montana, will share the Bozeman server.
According to Maggie Farrell, MSU associate dean of libraries, "One of our missions is to support our distance users, whether they are distance education students, an agriculture extension station or private citizens. We view the Unicorn system as a means to achieve our goals. For example, a joint catalog among the MSU campuses will make it easier for our users to locate information within the MSU system. In addition, SIRSI's WebCat will enable us to merge a variety of databases into a Web interface. In the near future, our users will begin their research from the MSU Libraries' Web site and will be directed to our catalog, journal indexes, local and remote databases, and to the Internet."
Founded in 1932 by the Sisters of Providence, the University of Great Falls (UGF) serves approximately 1,100 students. In addition to providing information resources to students, faculty, staff and Great Falls area residents, the UGF library serves distance education students in Wyoming, Montana and Canada. Una Koontz, UGF library director, says that the Unicorn system will enable her staff to provide better service to these students: "Currently, our distance education students must call the library and request information about a particular topic. The library staff then compiles and mails a list of resources to the student. After the Unicorn system is installed, our off-campus users will be able to dial in and access the library's holdings." Beginning in fall 1998, the UGF library will also offer online access to its catalog via SIRSI's WebCat, Koontz says.
SIRSI, founded in 1979, is a privately held company with headquarters in Huntsville, Ala. SIRSI uses the most advanced technology available to provide easy-to-use information systems for libraries, businesses and archives.