Information Today
Volume 17, Number 6 • June 2000
SIRSI Unveils Unicorn 99.4, Announces System Implementations

SIRSI Corp. has announced that it has released version 99.4 of its Unicorn library management system. In separate releases, the company has announced that the Bombardier Aerospace Library, two Missouri library systems, and Creighton University have selected Unicorn to automate their systems.

Unicorn 99.4
Key features of Unicorn 99.4 include the relevance ranking of search results in SIRSI’s WebCat Online Public Access Catalog, optional sound files for selected functions at the circulation desk, and the ability to operate SIRSI’s Hyperion Digital Media Archive and the Oracle-based version of Unicorn on Windows NT servers.

Greg Hathorn, vice president of SIRSI’s Library Products Division, said that the relevance ranking within WebCat provides library users with information about search results similar to that provided by popular Web search engines such as Yahoo! and AltaVista. “WebCat users now have the option of having their search results returned in relevance-rank order, based on the number of times the search terms appear in the fields being searched. This feature will be very popular with users who want a quick way to narrow their searches.”

According to Hathorn, the sound files included in Unicorn 99.4 help busy circulation desk staff by alerting them audibly in specific situations. “Library staff can choose the specific sound they wish to hear when exception conditions arise at the circulation desk, such as when the person checking out a book has available holds.”

Because of the growing acceptance of the Windows NT server operating-system environment, SIRSI continues to offer libraries more options on that platform. “We are pleased that the Hyperion Digital Media Archive, which has gained quite a following since its introduction, is now available for Windows NT servers. In addition, the Oracle relational-database-management system may now be added to Unicorn systems hosted on NT servers,” said Hathorn.

Bombardier Aerospace Library
The library at Bombardier Aerospace, the world’s third-largest civil aircraft manufacturer, has selected Unicorn to replace its current library automation system. Library staff will use SIRSI’s WorkFlows staff client to manage authority, circulation, acquisitions, and serials functions. The WebCat Online Public Access Catalog will enable employees to locate materials online, rather than having to route requests through the library’s circulation desk.

Headquartered at Montreal’s Dorval Airport, Bombardier Aerospace is a world leader in business jet, regional, and amphibious aircraft, according to the announcement. Founded in 1947 when the company was still known as Canadair, Ltd., the Bombardier Aerospace Library today houses one of the largest collections of aeronautical literature in North America. Its collection includes more than 100,000 items covering engineering, space research, transportation, management, and computer technology. Located at Bombardier’s Montreal facility, the library’s materials are available by fax or courier to its 31,000 employees at all company locations, including Toronto, various U.S. cities, and Ireland. The library also offers a personalized research service for employees who need technical information on specific topics.

Missouri Public Library Systems
Two Missouri public library systems, the Jefferson County Library and the Little Dixie Regional Libraries, have selected Unicorn. According to officials at both libraries, the SIRSI system will provide library staff and users with a flexible, fully integrated system that’s easy-to-use.

Established in 1953, the Little Dixie Regional Libraries serve all of Randolph and Monroe counties, with the exception of Monroe City. Its four branch libraries serve approximately 19,000 registered borrowers and circulate approximately 157,000 items annually. Margaret Conroy, director of Little Dixie Regional Libraries, said, “We chose SIRSI for its flexibility, the design of its WorkFlows staff client, and the availability of integrated modules such as Outreach Services and Materials Booking.”

Located in the southern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the Jefferson County Library serves approximately 61,000 users. Each of the three branches houses its own special collection. The Northwest branch, which specializes in local history and genealogy, holds more than 2,000 items relating to Missouri, Jefferson County, and other local municipalities. The Fox-Arnold branch has a Disability Resources Collection containing both fiction and nonfiction materials dealing with more than 40 disabilities and disability-related issues, as well as a Business and Government Collection with information on local and national companies and legislative and governmental issues. The Windsor branch houses a learning center and a collection of materials about parenting issues.

Martha Maxwell, director of Jefferson County Library, said, “A staff committee chaired by our technology manager investigated a number of systems. SIRSI was selected based on the quality of the product, its cost, record of research and development, and availability of needed components.”

Creighton University
Creighton University has chosen the Unicorn library management system and Hyperion digital media archive for its campus libraries. According to Ann Kitchel, associate director of Creighton’s law library and project director for the SIRSI implementation, Creighton chose SIRSI after a yearlong review of library automation systems. “Creighton’s staff was impressed by the many robust features of the system, including the ability to easily customize the Web OPAC, the flexibility of the system, its ability to handle electronic resources, and the friendly and efficient staff interface of the WorkFlows staff client. Unicorn is an Oracle-based product, which was appealing to us,” Kitchel said.

 “We are really excited at the opportunity to offer the university community easier, faster, and better access to electronic resources, both through Unicorn and Hyperion,” Kitchel said. “The library staff at Creighton is planning projects that will take advantage of Hyperion’s ability to handle digital images of materials that are currently difficult to access and manage. Hyperion has the potential of opening up new sources of information that will enhance the study, teaching, and research at Creighton University.”

Source: SIRSI Corp., Huntsville, AL, 256/704-7000;

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