This past year, Geac strengthened its position as a leading supplier of library automation systems by developing products to meet the evolving challenges facing libraries. The major focus of the Company's development efforts during the year has been to expand its client-server products and continue to enhance its core products to improve the efficiency of library operations and streamline access to local and remote information resources.
The acquisition of ODIS NV (Belgium), ODIS BV (Netherlands) and ODIS SARL (France) made in fiscal 1995, was successfully integrated into the Library Division's operations. The VUBIS™ library automation software system obtained in the acquisition of ODIS expanded Geac's comprehensive library systems product family and its overall share of the library marketplace.
Geac's unique approach to developing client-server solutions facilitates implementation of the latest technology by easing the operational and budgetary impact for libraries using Geac systems. Through a combination of the functionally rich and proven core products - ADVANCE™ and PLUS™, and its state-of-the-art client-server solution GEOS2™ - Geac has now provided academic, public, and special libraries with the necessary tools to become integral parts of the emerging worldwide information network.
With a continued focus on research and development of its client-server solution, the Company expanded GEOS2 with the introduction of GeoCat™, an integrated cataloging and holdings maintenance client, and GeoWeb™, a gateway product which enables users to search a library catalog directly from an easy-to-use World Wide Web ("WWW") browser on the Internet. Additional enhancements to GeoPac™, the public access research client, further improved market acceptance of the GEOS2 client-server solution.
GeoCat revolutionizes the way libraries retrieve and manipulate cataloging information. Bibliographic information is retrieved using the Z39.50 protocol, an international library standard for search and retrieval. As a result, GeoCat retrieves and stores bibliographic information from ADVANCE, PLUS, or any Z39.50 compliant database. In addition, GeoCat utilizes standard Windows graphical user interface capabilities, such as cut and paste, spell-checking, and context sensitive help screens which greatly improve the efficiency of the cataloging operation.
GeoWeb is part of Geac's expanding line of Internet products and provides a gateway between Z39.50 compliant databases and the WWW. GeoWeb opens the full range of information resources for users such as library catalogs, journal article repositories, and archives, utilizing the same WWW browser (e.g. Netscape's Navigator™, Microsoft's Internet Explorer™, etc.) used to access other Internet resources.
GeoPac, the Library Division's multi-media system introduced last year, was installed at a variety of libraries in fiscal 1996. All sizes and types of libraries are now taking advantage of the benefits of this sophisticated tool for searching, retrieving, and presenting bibliographic and multi-media information. Improvements to both the user interface and searching capabilities of the GeoPac client were made during the year.
Release 6.5 of ADVANCE and Release 2.5 of PLUS were introduced last year. Release 6.5 of ADVANCE includes enhancements which improve the work-flow of library operations and the ability for patrons to check out their own material through self-charge stations. Release 2.5 of PLUS expands the functionality of circulation, the online catalog, acquisitions, and serials and also improves the efficiency of daily library operations.
As library systems become the focal point for local information sources, Geac will continue to expand its client-server product GEOS2 and refine its core products. This strategy will strengthen Geac's ability to provide libraries with the most advanced technology available to manage and deliver information.