Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 11 — December 2001
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Gaylord Launches Metasearching with Polaris 2.0, Announces Polaris Implementation

Gaylord Information Systems (GIS), a division of Gaylord Bros., Inc., has announced the introduction of systemwide metasearch capabilities in its Polaris integrated library system. With Polaris 2.0, GIS becomes the first library automation system vendor to offer fully integrated metasearch capabilities in every subsystem, not just the public access catalog (PAC), according to the announcement. The company also announced that the London (Ohio) Public Library has installed the Polaris system.

Polaris 2.0
According to the company, the need to integrate external resources into library automation systems is no longer optional for service-oriented libraries. Today's patrons expect to issue just one search to access information in the catalog, other library databases, the Web, and the catalogs of cooperating libraries. Library staff also needs these powerful search capabilities to enhance its productivity in cataloging and acquisitions.

"GIS has always been on the leading edge of technology," said Katherine Blauer, GIS president. "We introduced the first automated circulation system and were one of the first automation vendors to implement Z39.50 when we included it in our GALAXY system. With the metasearching capabilities of Polaris 2.0 we are again taking a leadership role in library automation."

Polaris 2.0 delivers the capability to do metasearching in all Polaris subsystems, including the Polaris PowerPAC (the new Polaris Public Access Catalog), cataloging, acquisitions, circulation, and serials control. For a cataloger, this capability represents the ability to create MARC records on the fly.

"Because of the Polaris architecture and the programming we've done, we are able to hand back brief MARC records of Web search results, even if the Web site isn't Z39.50-compliant," said Bill Schickling, GIS vice president of research and development. "So, a cataloger could do a subject search in Yahoo! and all the Web sites returned would come back as MARC records, which could then be added to the library's catalog. This represents an incredible time-savings for the librarian who can now instantly add Web sites to the catalog in MARC format."

The Polaris 2.0 search engine was developed by GIS staff to perform metasearches using the Z39.50 protocol that is fully embedded throughout the Polaris software. Unlike other vendors, GIS did not import metasearch capabilities from a third-party supplier.

With the Polaris PowerPAC in Polaris 2.0, libraries have the option to subscribe to enhanced content services so that book jackets, tables of contents, reviews, etc., display with the titles. If a library subscribes to these services, enhanced content will display with a Z39.50 search of other library catalogs as well, even if those libraries don't provide enhanced content. The Polaris PowerPAC will generate OpenURL links to return enhanced content from a Polaris Enhanced Content Server or other third-party servers like SFX.

"This is a really cool aspect of the way we've designed our PAC and the way we use Z39.50," said Schickling. "What this means for patrons is consistency of display—whether they are searching their library's catalog or other catalogs their library has selected, they will always see the same type of display. This seamless integration of resources makes it much easier for patrons to find what they need through their local library."

London Public Library
According to the announcement, the London Public Library is the first GALAXY site in Ohio to migrate to Polaris.

Gary Branson, assistant director of the London Public Library, highlighted customer service, advanced technology, and full integration of all subsystems as key factors in the library's decision to purchase Polaris. "Service is always great with Gaylord. It was with GALAXY, and we've found with Polaris that when we call the staff is on top of the problem right away."

In addition to being the first Polaris site in Ohio, the London Public Library is also GIS's fastest Polaris implementation, according to the announcement. The library was installed, trained, and fully operational in just 2 months. Branson credits this in part to the training the library staff received from GIS.

Source: Gaylord Information Systems, Syracuse, NY, 800/272-3414;

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