June 16, 2001— Innovative Interfaces, a leader in library automation systems, introduced AirPAC, a catalog interface designed for wireless devices, at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. With AirPAC, the handheld device becomes a searching tool with which users can issue OPAC searches from anywhere. Patrons with Internet-enabled cell phones or PDAs can search the OPAC, browse titles, and peruse bib records or item lists.
The rise of the World Wide Web has given libraries the opportunity to expand access to a Web-literate population capable of accessing the catalog from any desktop PC, allowing searches, holds, renewals, and viewing checkouts to be done from home or from the office. The wireless Web offers another such opportunity to increase access and convenience. Innovative's AirPAC frees users from the desktop and allows library catalog interaction by patrons in transit, in classrooms, or browsing the stacks of the library itself.
AirPAC leverages the power of XML technology to deliver the next generation of OPAC access: from virtually anywhere at any time. Innovative's XML server outputs catalog data in response to HTTP requests issued from Web browsing software on the handheld device. XML documents are then transformed into HTML pages specially formatted for display on Palm-powered devices or cellular phones. AirPAC supports both Web clipping applications such as the OmniSky browser and wireless Web browsers such as EudoraWeb running on devices which use the Palm Operating System.
"AirPAC puts the interactive library OPAC into the palm of the patron's hand. As users are moving through the library stacks or through their daily routine, they can browse live catalog data, check item availability in real time, or look up call numbers," said John McCullough, Product Manager at Innovative.
"The flexibility of Web-based computing allows Innovative to take the next step beyond the desktop workstation, and to develop applications which take advantage of new technologies such as handheld wireless devices," said Jerry Kline, Innovative's President and CEO. "It is important for libraries to be able to keep pace with the new literacies of each generation of users, and to adapt their services to accommodate changing methods of access."