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Annual survey of PC- and Mac-based library system vendors

Library Systems Newsletter [April 2000]

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Each year Library Systems Newsletter surveys the library automation industry to get an overview of the market and to facilitate comparisons among vendors. The February-March, 2000 double issue described the vendors of library automation products that use UNIX and other multi-user operating systems and whose customers are primarily mid-size and large public and academic libraries or district-wide systems for school libraries. This issue is devoted to the vendors of PC- and Macintosh-based multi-function products—those using the Windows 3.x/95/98 or Macintosh operating system to support at least three fully integrated modules, including both circulation and online catalog.

Not included are products with only a single module such as acquisitions, serials control, or cataloging; or two modules such as cataloging or a union database and interlibrary loan (ILL).

While some of the products developed for the Windows operating system are now available under Windows NT server, and a number of vendors of Unix-based systems now offer NT server as a small-system option, the vast majority of sales by vendors in this issue are to small libraries, especially those in schools (over 80% of all sales), and, to a lesser extent, special and public libraries.

The survey was limited to North American vendors of PC-or Mac-based library automation products and used the same methodology employed in previous years. Vendors were contacted by fax and mail, with follow-up by email and telephone as necessary. Our queries focused on whether the product was available as a bundled product, software only, or both; the hardware platform, operating system, and programming language; the number of sales (contracts, not the number of packages) during the past calendar year; the total number of installations; types of libraries served; the percentage of customers using each module or major function; corporate revenues and profitability; and the number of staff devoted to software maintenance and development, sales and marketing, and other customer support. Major enhancements as reported by the vendors also are included.

Unlike the multi-user systems market detailed in the February-March issue, vendors of PC and Mac-based systems typically offer only a limited number of modules. In this survey, circulation and patron access catalog modules are offered by all of the vendors; several offer acquisitions and serials control; and a few offer five or more modules. In contrast, the multi-user systems surveyed in the February-March issue support 10 to 14 modules each.

Seven of the 11 vendors included herein offer only software packages. The others, in addition offer what we chose to call bundled systems—hardware and software, but without installation and on-site training. Given the large installed base of PCs and Macs, and the dramatic increase in the number of LAN5, even the vendors who offer bundled products, in fact, supply software only at least 75% of the time.

The following sales figures are not always consistent and do not include every vendor but are useful for approximations. The respondents reported the signing of 13,448 “new name” contracts (contracts with organizations not already customers) in 1999. This figure compares with 14,199 “new name” contracts in 1998 and 15,656 in 1997. The total number of reported installations is 72,738. As many as one-fifth of the installed systems operate on a single PC or Mac. The remainder, which are networked, generally average five users, therefore, it is not possible to meaningfully compare the figures with those reported by the vendors of UNIX and other multi-user operating systems as these systems support an average of more than 50 users. The figures are useful in comparing the vendors discussed in this issue with one another.

Total annual revenues for this industry segment appear to be just over $100 million. Follett and Sagebrush, the market leaders, reported gross sales of $35-$40 million each; COMPanion reported $5-$10 million; EQS International and SIRS, which declined to provide data, probably had sales of $5-$10 million each; CASPR reported $2.5-$5 million; Brodart is estimated to have had about the same. Revenues for the remaining companies were reported or estimated to be under $1 million each.

Table 1ranks the vendors by the “new name” (first-time customer) sales during 1999. Table 2 ranks them by current installed customers.


Table 1. Reported Number of “New Name” Contracts Signed During 1999
VendorTotal Contracts
Follett6,835
Sagebrush (incl. Winnebago)3,629
COMPanion1,309
CASPR1,053
SIRS376
EOS International121
Diakon85
Brodart40
(Kelowna, On Point and Surpass declined to release their sales figures.)


Table 2. Reported Total Number of Customers Currently Supported
VendorTotal Customers
Follett35,000
Sagebrush16,924
COMPanion10,495
CASPR5,536
SIRS2,453
EOS International1,926
Brodart312
Diakon92
(Kelowna, On Point and Surpass declined to release their sales figures.)

Library Technology Reports has published detailed evaluations of the systems of nine of the 11 vendors included in this survey. The following vendors were covered in the March/April 1999 issue: Diakon, EOS, and On Point. The following vendors were covered in the July/August 1999 issue: CASPR, COMPanion, Follett, Kelowna, Sagebrush, and Surpass.

VENDOR REPORTS

The vendor reports are arranged alphabetically and are based on information furnished by the vendors.

Brodart Automation offers its Pinnacle-One Library Management System both bundled and as software only. It runs on IBM PC compatibles with Windows 95/98/NT as the operating system. The database management system is proprietary and the programming languages are C, C++, and Assembly. It is available in both a standalone and LAN version; the LAN version has no maximum number of concurrent users; the database size is limited to 32 GB. The system is capable of taking in, editing, retaining, and outputting full-MARC bibliographic records.

There were 40 “new name” contracts signed during 1999, 95% were software only. The total number of customers was 312, all in North America—43% public, 47% school, and 10% academic or special libraries.

The product has limited range of functionality. All of the sites are using local cataloging, circulation, patron access catalog (100% GUI and 10% Web-based), and ILL modules; 90% have a LAN interface; and 10% each have OCLC and BiblioFile interfaces. The product does not include acquisitions, serials control, inventorying, materials booking, journal citation files, community information, or CPU gateway for remote database searching. Z39.50 and EDIFACT are not supported.

The company had nine staff committed to software development and maintenance of the product, 11 to marketing and sales, and 18 to customer support. Releases are issued as necessary.

The company declined to provide information on gross sales or profit-ability for the product or the company as a whole. We have estimated the 1999 revenues for the product to be between $2.5 and $5 million. Offices are maintained in Williamsport (PA) and Brantford (Ontario, Canada). [Brodart Automation, 500 Arch Street, Williamsport, PA 17705; (800) 233-8467; fax (570) 327-9237; www.brodart.com].

CASPR Library Systems, Inc. offers LibraryWorld as a software-only product with Windows 3.1/95/98/NT or the Mac as the operating system. The DBMS is The MARC Database Engine (MDE), a proprietary product; the programming languages are C++ and Java. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. For the LAN version, the number of concurrent users is limited only by the size and speed of the network being used; the maximum database size is 32 million records. The system is capable of taking in, retaining, and outputting full-MARC bibliographic records.

The vendor reported a total 1,053 “new name” contracts for 1999, bringing its customer base to 5,536 worldwide, including 5,467 in North America. (The figure is substantially less than reported last year because that figure included accounts of another vendor, which were being supported by CASPR.] The customer base was 85% school, 10% special, 3% academic, and 2% public libraries.

The product offers a broad range of functionality. All sites are using local cataloging, cataloging support system interface, authority control, circulation, inventorying, patron access catalog (100% GUI and Web-based); 50% are using acquisitions and serials control; 20% are using ILL; and 10% have materials booking. The system does not have a CPU gateway for searching remote databases, community information, Z39.50 client and server, and online ordering and claiming.

Reported revenues were between $2.5 and $5 million, with an after-tax profit. The vendor declined to provide staffing information for 1999. (It had previously reported 10 staff committed to software maintenance and development, five to marketing and sales, and 10 to customer support.] There are two enhancement releases each year.

[CASPR, Inc., 100 Park Center Plaza, Suite 550, San Jose, CA 95113; (800) 852-2777 or (408) 882-0600; fax (408) 882-0608; www.caspr.com].

COMPanion Corporation offers two products: AFW (formerly Alexandria for Windows) and Alexandria v5. AFW is sold as software only for Windows 95/98/2000/NT. Its DBMS is dBase and the programming language is Visual C++. Both standalone and LAN-based versions are available. There is no limit to the number of workstations, but the database is limited to 500,000 title records. AFW takes in, retains, and outputs records in the full-MARC format. There were 590 “new name” sales and a total of 2,500+ customers worldwide, 26% in North America, 24% in Europe, 44% in Asia/Oceania, 4% in South America, and 2% in Africa/Middle East. Over 92% are school libraries.

AFW offers broad functionality. All of the customers have circulation, local cataloging and authority control, and nearly all have the patron access catalog module—80% with GUI and 45% with a Web-based user interface. Approximately 70% have serials control, 40% media booking, 30% acquisitions, and 20% interlibrary loan. Ten percent of the customers have an OCLC interface, 85% a LAN interface, 30% a Z39.50 client (there is no Z39.50 server), and 25% a gateway through the CPU for searching of remote databases. The product does not include online ordering and claiming, community information, or Z39.50 server.

Staffing and financial data is not broken down between the two products. The other product, Alexandria vS1 is offered as software only or bundled for Windows 95/98/2000/NT and the Mac operating systems. The DBMS is proprietary; Visual C++ is the programming language. Standalone and LAN versions are available. The number of workstations is unlimited, but the maximum database size is 500,000 records. The system can take in, store, and export full-MARC records.

The vendor reported 719 “new name” sales, 93% software only. The total customer base, 92% school libraries, was 7,995, including 7,000 in North America, 50 in Europe, 400 in Asia! Oceania, 500 in South America, and 50 in Africa/Middle East.

The product offers broad functionality, with all of the same modules as the AFW product. The customers use the modules in the same percentages as the AFW product.

Reported revenues were in the range of $5-$10 million, with an after-tax profit. Thirty staff were committed to software development and maintenance, 23 to sales and marketing, and 24 to customer support. There are two to four releases each year. Current development efforts appear to be focused on Alexandria vS. In 1999 the releases included integration of e-mail and word processor, union catalog option, and improved Boolean and simple searching.

The vendor maintains its headquarters in Salt Lake City. It has affiliates in six other countries.

[COMPanion Corporation, 1831 Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, UT 84121; (801) 943-7277; fax (801) 943-7752; www.goalexandria.com].

Diakon Systems offers its PC Card Catalog as a software only product. It is available for Windows 95/98/NT. Its DBMS is Elevate's DB]SAM and Delphi/ Pascal is the programming language. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. The number of workstations is limited only by the hardware and operating system, but there are practical limits to the database size: 50,000 items and 50,000 patrons. The system takes in and retains full-MARC records, but it cannot export them.

The vendor sold 85 “new-name” systems in 1999, bringing the total customer base to 92-85% in North America with 41% special, including many church and non-profit libraries; 37% school; and 14% public libraries.

The system has limited functionality. All of the customers have local cataloging and authority control, but only 30% each have circulation and inventorying, and 20% have the patron access catalog module—all GUI. Twenty percent have a LAN interface.

Sales were under $1 million, but an after-tax profit was realized. There was one person committed to software maintenance and development, and one other spent half-time each on sales and customer support. The major developments in 1999 were completion of the integrated circulation module and inventorying.

(Diakon Systems, 3801 Glenmont Drive, Forth Worth, TX 76133; (817) 292-8413; www.DiakonSystems.com].

EOS International appears in both parts of this survey. Its T Series and Q Series were covered in the February-March double issue. This issue contains information on its GLAS (Graphical Library Automation System) product, which is sold as software only or bundled and runs on Windows 3.1/95/ 98/NT using FoxPro as the DBMS and Visual Objects as the programming language. It is available in standalone and LAM versions. The only limitation on the number of users is the hardware. Maximum database size is 250,000 bibliographic records, 250,000 item records, and 250,000 patron records; and the system is capable of taking in, editing, retaining, and outputting full-MARC bibliographic records.

There were 121 “new name” contracts signed during 1999, bringing the total number of customers to 1,926, including 1,136 in North America, 528 in Europe, 158 in Asia/Oceania, 19 in South America, and eight in Africa/Middle East. Some 65% of the customers are special libraries, 13% academic, 9% school, and 13% public libraries.

The product offers a fairly broad range of functionality. No customer appears to use all of the modules. Some 71% each use local cataloging (GUI-based), authority control, journal citation files, and community information. Only 53% use circulation and inventorying, 49% use serials control, 42% use the patron access catalog (all GUI and 23% Web-based), and 20% use acquisitions. Most have a cataloging support interface, approximately one-third each has OCLC, RLIN, or BiblioFile. The product does not include ILL, materials booking, Z39.50 server/ client, or online ordering and claiming.

The company declined to provide financial data, but claimed an after-tax profit. There were seven staff devoted to software development and maintenance at the end of 1999, nine to sales and marketing, and 12 to customer support. There is a major release once each year. The major enhancements in 1999 were support for many non-Roman alphabets.

Corporate headquarters are located in Carlsbad (CA), European headquarters in London, Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, and there is a regional office in Paris.

[EOS International, 5838 Edison Place, Carlsbad, CA 92008-6596; (800) 876-5484 or (760) 431-8400; fax (760) 431-8448; www.eosintl.com.]

Follett Software Company offers two main products, Circulation Plus and Catalog Plus and also Alliance Plus as software only. Both are available for Windows 95/98/NT and the Mac operating systems using FairCOM as the DBMS and C++ as the programming language. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. There is no limit to the number of workstations, nor to the database size. Both take in, retain, and output full-MARC bibliographic records. Catalog Plus is the more popular product, with 4,525 “new name” sales in 1999 as against 2,310 “new name” sales for Circulation Plus. The total customer base for both was 35,000 at the end of 1999, including 34,830 in North America, 50 in Asia/Oceania, 40 in Europe, 50 in South America, and 30 in Africa/Middle East.

The main difference between the products is that circulation plus offers only a limited cataloging capability. Both products offer a narrow range of functionality. All of the sites have local cataloging, circulation, inventorying, and the patron access catalog (all GUI and 10% Web-based), but only 25% have authority control. While 90% have an Internet interface, only 1% has Z39.50 client and server. The products lack acquisitions, serials control, ILL, materials booking, cataloging support interfaces, remote searching through a gateway, journal citation files, community information, and online ordering and claiming.

The company reported gross revenues in the range of $35-$40 million with an after-tax profit. A staff of 45 was committed to software development and maintenance for both products; 85 to marketing and sales; and 40 to customer support. There is at least one enhancement release” issued each year.

The vendor has its headquarters in McHenry, IL, and has sales representatives throughout the U.S. and Canada.

[Follett Software Company, 1391 Corporate Drive, McHenry, IL 60050-7041; (815) 344-8700 or (800) 323-3397; fax (815) 344-8774; www.fsc.follett.com.

Kelowna Software Ltd. offers Library 4 Universal as a software only product for Windows95/98/2000/NT and MacOS using ACI's 4th Dimension DBMS and programming language. Both standalone and LAN-based versions are available. The maximum number of concurrent users is 1,533 (theoretically 32,758) and the maximum number of records is 16.7 million. The system can take in, store, and export full-MARC bibliographic records.

The vendor declined to provide data about its sales, total number of installations, percentage breakdown of customers by type of library, or geographic distribution.

The product has broad functionality. All of the customers have acquisitions, local cataloging with authority control, circulation, and patron access catalog (all GUI and 65% Web-based).

Over 95% use inventorying; 80% use serials control, materials booking, and a LAN interface; 75% use ILL; and 65% each have community information and remote database searching via a gateway. The product lacks journal citation files, Z39.50 client and server, and online ordering and claiming.

The vendor issues at least two releases each year.

[Kelowna Software Ltd., 1980 Cooper Road, #202, Xelowna, BC, V1Y 8K5, Canada; (800) 667-3634 or (250) 712-4644; fax (250) 860-4240; www.L4U.com].

On Point, Inc. offers its TLC (Total Library Computerization) product as software only for Windows 3.1/95/98/NT and Mac OS. The DBMS and programming language are Filemaker Pro. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. The LAN is limited to 250 users and the maximum database size is 2.0 GB per module. The system extracts data from MARC records, but does not store the records in the MARC format, nor does it export records in the MARC format.

The company declined to provide information about sales and number of installations. it did report that 90% of its sites are special libraries. Five percent are academic, 4% are school, and 1% are public.

The product includes the core modules. Some 81% of the customers have cataloging and the patron access catalog, 63% have serials control, 60% have a LAN interface, 50% have acquisitions, 44% have circulation, 32% have interlibrary loan, and 30% have an Internet gateway. The product does not include authority control, inventorying, community information, cataloging support system interface, CPU gateway, Z39.50 client and server, or online ordering and claiming.

In 1999, the vendor had revenues under $1 million with an after-tax profit. It issues maintenance releases as needed, typically every 18 months.

There is one person devoted to both software development and maintenance, and customer support. Another halftime person is devoted to sales and marketing. The major enhancement in 1999 was a rewritten graphical user interface.

[On Point, Inc., 2606 36th Street NW, Washington DC 20007; (202) 338-8914; fax (202) 338-8914; www.onpointinc.com].

Sagebrush (formerly Nichols Advanced Technologies) offers two products, Athena and Winnebago Spectrum—the latter purchased in 1999. Athena is offered as software—only for Windows 3.1/95/98/NT and MacOS. The DBMS is proprietary and the programming languages are C++ and Javascript. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. The number of concurrent users supported under the LAN version is based upon network software; the database size is limited only by hard drive space.

There were 2,082 “new name” sales in 1999, bringing the total number of sites to 7,539, including 7,323 in North America, 204 in Asia/Oceania, and 12 in the rest of the world. Nearly one-third of the customer base is using Molli, an older generation product. Some 85% of the customers are school libraries, 5% public, 7% special, and 3% academic libraries.

The product has the core modules. All sites have local cataloging with cataloging support system interface, authority control, circulation, inventorying, patron access catalog (all GUI and 4.8% Web-based), and report generator. Nearly 84% have a LAN interface, 14% have a CPU gateway to access the Web, and 10% have Z39.50 client. The acquisitions and serials control modules, which are used by fewer than 1% of customers, are still DOS-based. The product lacks ILL, community information, media booking, Z39.50 server, and online ordering and claiming.

Winnebago Spectrum is offered as software only for Windows 95/98/NT and Mac OS. The DBMS is Faircom and C++ is the programming language. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. Only the hardware limits the number of users and number of records. The system takes in, retains, and outputs full-MARC bibliographic records.

There were 1,547 “new name” sales in 1999. The total number of customers at the end of the year was 9,385, 9,285 in the U.S., with more than 86% school libraries, about 12% special and public, and less than 2% academic.

The product offers a narrow range of functionality. All of the sites have local cataloging, circulation, GUI-based patron access catalog, community information, and report generator; and all have a cataloging support system interface. Over 80% have the Web-based patron access catalog. Only 1% have Z39.50 client/server. The product lacks acquisitions, serials control, authority control, inventorying, interlibrary loan, and materials booking. EDIFACT is not supported.

The company combined financial and staffing information for both products. Sagebrush reported sales of $35-$40 million for 1999, and realized an after-tax profit. A staff of 49 was committed to software maintenance and development for both products, 60 to marketing and sales, and 54 to customer support. There usually is a software release once each year for each product.

In addition to Austin, which is the principal sales office, the company has offices in Caledonia (MN), Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), Topeka (KS), and Orialaska (WI).

[Sagebrush Corporation, Inc., 8911 Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 2100, Austin, TX 78759; (512) 342-2850; fax (512) 342-2827; www.nicholsinc.com.]

SIRS, Inc. offers its Mandarin Library Automation System as software only or bundled. While staff workstations must be PCs, the patron access catalog is supported on both PCs and Macs. The operating systems are Windows 9 5/98 and NT. The DBMS is proprietary and the programming language is C++. Both standalone and LAN-based versions are available. The LAN version has no maximum number of concurrent users and number of records. The system is capable of taking in, editing, retaining, and outputting full-MARC bibliographic records.

During 1999, 376 “new name” contracts were signed; some 78% were software only. The total customer base at the end of the year was 2,453, including 2,408 in North America and 36 in Europe. Over 80% are school libraries, 10% public, 5% academic, and the rest special libraries.

The product offers the basic functionality. Almost all of the sites use local cataloging, circulation, inventorying, and patron access catalog (all GUI and 40% Web-based). Forty percent have interlibrary loan, but only 5% each have acquisitions and serials control. Z39.50 client and server are used by 35% and 30%, respectively. The product lacks authority control, cataloging support system interfaces, journal citation files, community information, CPU gateway modules, and online ordering and claiming.

The vendor declined to release revenue information, but claimed an after-tax profit. It issues at least one release a year. There were 36 staff committed to software development and maintenance at the end of 1999, 25 to sales and marketing, and 10 to Customer support.

The company maintains offices in Montreal and Champlain, NY, as well as its headquarters in Boca Raton.

[SIRS, Inc., P.O. Box 272348, Boca Raton, FL 33427; (561) 994-0079 or (800) 232-SIRS; fax (561) 994-4704; www.sirs.com].

Surpass Software offers its Surpass product as software only for Windows 95/98/NT/2000 using a proprietary database management system and Delphi and other programming languages. Both standalone and LAN versions are available. There is no theoretical limit to the number of concurrent users and more than one million records can be accommodated. The system is capable of taking in, storing, and exporting fullMARC records. The company declined to give figures for its 1999 “new name” sales, the geographic distribution of the sales, and the total size of the customer base. It did indicate than 80% of the customers are school libraries; the other 20% are special and public libraries.

The product offers limited functionality. All of the customers are using local cataloging, 95% circulation and inventorying, 85% are using the patron access catalog (including 70% GUI), and 15% have a Z39.50 client. The product does not include the following modules: acquisitions, serials control, authority control, interlibrary loan, materials booking, cataloging support system interface, searching through a CPU gateway, community information, journal citation files, Z39.50 server, and online ordering and claiming.

The company did not report its revenues, but claimed an after-tax profit. It also would not disclose the number of staff. It claimed to issue as many as four _releases a year. The major software enhancements in 1999 were patron photo id. card printing and support for laser portables for inventorying.

The company maintains offices in Calhoun, GA and Windermere, FL.

[Surpass Software, 517 Oothcaloogo St., Suite C, Calhoun, GA 30701; (706) 625-5399; fax (706) 625-2699; www.SurpassSoftware.com].

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View Citation
Publication Year:2000
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 20 Number 04
Issue:April 2000
Page(s):27-34
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Company: Brodart, Inc.
Caspr, Inc.
COMPanion Corporation
EOS International
Follett Software Company
Kelowna Software, Ltd.
ON POINT, Inc.
Sagebrush Technologies
SIRS Mandarin, Inc.
Surpass Software
Mandarin Library Automation
Products: Precision One Integrated System
LibraryWorld
Alexandria
PC Card Catalog
GLAS
Circulation Plus
Catalog Plus
Alliance Plus
Library 4 Universal
Total Library Computerization
Athena
Winnebago Spectrum
Mandarin M3
Surpass
Subject: Library automation systems -- directories
Library automation systems -- microcomputer based
ISSN:0277-0288
Record Number:7596
Last Update:2022-08-06 19:11:15
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00
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