Syracuse, NY (April 2000). Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) today announced the successful deployment of Polaris the industry's first native Windows NT automation solution at libraries with more than 350 client workstations.
Polaris is currently installed at more than 160 libraries. Two of the largest Polaris sites are the Southern Oregon Libraries Information System (SOLIS) with 400 client workstations and the Washington County Cooperative Library System (WCCLS) with 350 client workstations. SOLIS and WCCLS are proving to the library industry that Windows NT can deliver the scalability and performance required to support high-transaction libraries.
Performance was the most significant consideration for WCCLS and SOLIS in their decisions to deploy Polaris. The SOLIS consortium serves 177,000 patrons through the public libraries in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, and the Rogue Community College Library. WCCLS, a multi-type consortium operating the Washington County InterLibrary Information Network (WILInet), includes 16 libraries in the western suburbs of Portland. Its member libraries serve more than 270,000 patrons, circulating more than 4.7 million items each year.
With Polaris running on Windows NT (and utilizing Microsoft's SQL Server relational database), WCCLS and SOLIS are today processing an average of 15,000 transactions per hour with minimal latency. A more telling number is the 18 million transactions WCCLS performed with Polaris in 1999. With more than 350 client workstations on either system's network, SOLIS and WCCLS are providing hundreds of users inside and outside the library - simultaneous and immediate access to catalogs and other resources via the Polaris OPAC.
Bill Schickling, Vice President of Research and Product Development at GIS, feels that the library community can now put aside questions about Windows NT's performance in large-scale transaction environments. "There is more to NT than a simple 32-bit app. We took it deeper and proved that performance is now a non-issue. The real story about 3rd generation automation systems is providing the infrastructure for easy integration with the Web. Today there is no better choice than Polaris for libraries concerned about current and future Web technologies that will compete for their patrons' attention."
Recognizing the power of Polaris and the tremendous potential of a native Windows NT solution, SOLIS is convinced Polaris represents a best-of-class product. Gail Warner, Director of Josephine County Library noted, "SOLIS members required a state-of-the-art' system that will take the consortium into the 21st century. We know that Polaris is that system."
For WCCLS it was important to position member libraries for the future with an automation solution that would serve an active, computer-savvy user base. "Our patrons are the people developing the computer products of tomorrow," says Eva Calcagno, director of the cooperative. "Why should their library system be less sophisticated than the average desktop machine?"
Early in Polaris development, GIS recognized that the system would have greater stability and performance on Windows NT than an application ported from another operating system. Ported applications are not able to take advantage of the features of the operating system or the database in the way a native application can. This fact was important to both SOLIS and WCCLS. Neither consortium wanted a legacy system that had been ported to Windows NT. As Barbara Kesel, Automation Program Specialist at WCCLS, noted, "We chose Polaris on Windows NT because we needed a solution built to take full advantage of its operating system. That was the only way to have the streamlined functionality and integration we wanted."
Polaris is designed to provide seamless library functions, including open access to cataloging, serials, acquisitions, circulation, system administration, and patron/student services functionality.
Unlike other automation solutions with discrete modules, Polaris is a single integrated solution that enables librarians to move through the system as their work requires, creating custom workflows as they go. 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 a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the 25 year-old software development division of Gaylord Bros., a leading supplier to the library industry for over a century. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers workflow analysis, retrospective conversion, and database enhancement services to libraries of all types. For more information, visit or contact GIS headquarters at 800-272-3414.