Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 4 — April 2001
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SIRSI Unveils Electronic Library Web Site, Announces Unicorn Purchases

SIRSI Corp. has announced the launch of, a Web site devoted exclusively to familiarizing libraries and their users with electronic libraries. SIRSI has also announced that both the Yokosuka (Japan) Naval Base and the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have selected its Unicorn library management system. The PPLD has also implemented SIRSI’s iBistro Electronic Library.
The site provides information and links to information about establishing and maintaining a variety of library services via the Internet. Pat Sommers, SIRSI president, said: "Although libraries have offered online catalogs for some time, the idea of a complete electronic library is now being considered seriously by most library technologists. A true electronic library delivers library-caliber knowledge, resources, and services that libraries have traditionally provided from within the physical walls of a library—plus much more—in an electronic format. provides the information that libraries need to establish and maintain their own electronic libraries."

In addition to defining and describing the e-library concept, offers links to organizations across the country that have already created their own e-libraries, answers to FAQs, and a glossary of terms used in the e-library setting. Visitors to can also experience a live electronic library, which is able to operate with any local integrated library system.

"The e-library is the next evolutionary step in nurturing, managing, and distributing knowledge," Sommers said. "It enables libraries to offer their services and resources online, and users to take advantage of those resources, without being limited by distance or operating hours. shows that the e-library of the future is available and accessible today."

Yokosuka Naval Base Library
The Yokosuka Naval Base, the U.S. Navy’s largest Pacific Rim base, has selected Unicorn for the Fleet Activities 
Yokosuka MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) Library. According to Marilynn Smith, base librarian, the Unicorn system will enable the library to provide base families with Web-based access to its holdings and resources.

Smith said: "We have a base population of more than 30,000 military and civilian employees and their families. Besides the main library, we provide library service to the Yokosuka Pre-Trial Confinement Facility and the Yokohama branch in Negishi. Given the fact that television is primarily in Japanese, we find that our community uses the library for all of its resources: books, videos, computers, music CDs, books on tape, and cultural programming. Because we offer more than 64,000 titles, we have one of the busiest, if not the busiest, general libraries in the Navy."

Although the library has never been automated, it offers Internet access from seven workstations. "When the SIRSI system is installed later this spring, we plan to offer 20 workstations with Internet access. We think it will be very useful for our patrons to have a Web-based library system," Smith said.

According to Patrick A. Losinki, PPLD director, Unicorn and iBistro will enable PPLD to continue its tradition of providing users with immediate access to the materials and resources they need, both within the library and from electronically accessible sources.

PPLD IT officer Bob Pasicznyuk said: "While there are several credible library systems, only SIRSI’s iBistro e-library offered elegant solutions to meet our customers’ expectations. We were looking for 1) patron self-management services that enable patrons to access account information and place holds, transfers, and renewals by phone and the Web; 2) enriched catalog content that adds images, reviews, Web resources, and tables of contents to our library’s high-quality bibliographic information; and 3) unique communication tools that enable us to inform our patrons when the materials they prefer are acquired. iBistro enables us to do all this, as well as market our collection via phone, mail, e-mail, and the Web by constructing customized item lists.

"Beyond iBistro, we needed a company that could work with us to meet local demands without spoiling the integrity of the integrated library system package. SIRSI worked hard at understanding our needs. They often found ways of meeting our needs within the existing software’s framework, and added some customizations quickly and professionally. They also steered us toward organizational changes that help us exploit their system to our customers’ advantage," Pasicznyuk said.

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

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