Vancouver, B.C. -- Now users can search their library catalog from anywhere in the world, using any computer, without specialized software or network hardware.
The new Web Online Public Access Catalog (Web OPAC) module for SydneyPLUS, the acclaimed library automation system from ILS International Library Systems, Corp., uses familiar World Wide Web search techniques to bring the power and reach of the Internet to the library catalog. It provides libraries with flexibility and security, while giving users unprecedented ease-of-use and the freedom to get catalog information whenever they need it.
"We've been experimenting on the Web for a year and a half now," says ILS president Ron Aspe. Those experiments and feedback from SydneyPLUS users led ILS to create a catalog search system that will be immediately understood by those familiar with the Internet. Searching couldn't be simpler. Users connect to the Web OPAC site, through either the Internet or an internal "Internet," then use familiar search tools, similar to the popular Yahoo, Infoseek, and A1taVista search engines for the World Wide Web. They can select any of several search fields that you designate. Search results appear as a series of "hot-links" which users can click to obtain full bibliographic information.
"Users already know how to search in Yahoo; they've already learned in A1taVista," says Aspe. "So the first time they're on the Web and run into SydneyPLUS, they'll know exactly what to do."
Those searching with Web OPAC need no special hardware or software. Anyone with access to the Internet and a Web browser -- such as Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mosaic, or Lynx -- can search the library catalog at any time. They can use Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, or any other computer system. If desired, access can be restricted to authorized users; alternatively, the library's catalog can be open to anyone on the Internet. Libraries have the option of setting up an online catalog on their own Web site, where users have real-time access to the database, or on the ILS Web site, where it can be updated as often as necessary.
The Web OPAC is ideal for library administrators wanting wider access to their catalogs without the inconvenience of connecting additional networking hardware or installing special software on their users' computers. It's a cost-effective way for corporate and organizational libraries to provide the kind of world-wide connectivity that was previously possible only for multi-national corporations and governments.
Like other Web pages, SydneyPLUS' Web OPAC search screens are completely customizable using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Color backgrounds, explanatory text, artwork, photographs, organizational logos, animation, and hot-links to other Web sites can all be added. And since Web pages permit only limited interaction between users and the library's database, security levels can be stringent. (Setting up a catalog on the ILS Web site provides the ultimate security "firewall," because users have no direct access to the database at all.)
The Web OPAC is currently available as a fully-integrated module for the UNIX network and client/server versions of the SydneyPLUS Librarv Automation Svstem.
About ILS International Library Systems. Corp.
In addition to a full range of standard library automation modules, SydneyPLUS offers Customization, Document Imaging, AV Management, CD-ROM based catalogs, and multilingual capabilities.