SYRACUSE, New York, June 4, 2002 – Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) and LSSI announced today that Polaris will be the first library automation system to seamlessly integrate the functions of the library's public access catalog with live reference service through LSSI's Virtual Reference ToolKit. The exchange of data between Polaris and LSSI will enhance the experience of library users by providing access to a librarian at multiple points in the search process.
“Gaylord and LSSI are taking significant steps toward providing a more satisfying experience for library patrons,” said Anita Wagner, GIS vice president of business development. “Integrating our two systems means that if a PAC search doesn't retrieve the expected results the patron will receive an automatic prompt to initiate a reference session. Prompts will appear at appropriate points during the search process, reminding patrons that reference help is readily available. We are excited to be the first ILS vendor to work with LSSI to integrate our two products in such a way that will help library patrons find what they need and reduce the frustration that can be associated with PAC searches. No other ILS vendor is even coming close to providing this type of integration to virtual reference services,” added Wagner.
Patrons using Virtual Reference ToolKit can choose to maintain with LSSI a history log of their reference transactions. These logs can then be displayed within their Polaris patron accounts, providing patrons with a single point of access to information about their library account. “Polaris users already can access their patron accounts for information on fines and fees, items checked out, and items on hold,” Wagner said. “Now, they can use the same patron account to track open reference queries and access a log of completed reference questions and answers.”
“Virtual reference is all about meeting patrons where they are, and providing the specific reference assistance they need at that point. The breadth and richness of resources provided by Polaris guarantees heavy use by patrons, and immediate, live reference assistance neatly completes the picture,” said Steve Coffman, vice president of product development for LSSI's Reference Division. “Tightly coupling virtual reference with a library's online catalog puts the service exactly where—and when—the need for help arises.”
The Polaris integrated library system facilitates all aspects of library operations by providing innovative workflow solutions packaged in a familiar Windows interface. The Polaris staff client offers a complete solution for acquisitions, collection management, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loan and serials control. With its object-oriented design and integrated Z39.50 capabilities, Polaris avoids the artificial boundaries common to legacy systems built on a modular framework. It also avoids the costs and downtime associated with installing modules one piece at a time. The Polaris PowerPAC extends this innovation to the end-user by providing a fully customizable library portal to the library's catalog and other library resources, including enhanced bibliographic data such as book images, tables of contents, and reviews. With embedded metasearch capabilities, patrons can search the library's catalog, the web, other library catalogs and Z39.50 databases at one time using one common interface. Today 300 libraries use Polaris every day to serve the information needs of their communities.
For 20 years—and for the benefit of nearly 2,000 libraries of all types and sizes—LSSI has been finding and delivering new tools and technologies. Now, LSSI's Reference Division team is taking this unique ability to identify and adapt technologies for libraries—and bundling them with superior training and support—to provide new tools and new ways for reference librarians to meet the changing nature of library usage. www.lssi.com
Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, Gaylord Information Systems is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the 27-year-old software development division of Gaylord Bros., a leading supplier and innovator in the library industry for more than a century. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers workflow analysis, retrospective conversion and database enhancement services to libraries of all types. Thirty percent of GIS staff is composed of professional librarians, including GIS President Katherine Blauer.