Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 2 February 2001
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Surpass Software Releases Safari 2.0

Surpass Software has announced the release of Surpass Safari 2.0, a major update to the company's online public access catalog (OPAC). Safari 2.0 sports a new Web-like interface and brings a host of new features while maintaining old favorites that are unique to the Surpass system. Safari 2.0 permits patrons to log in to check the status of their account, provides access to recommended reading lists, allows for self-serve reservations, includes special features for Accelerated Reader users, and offers a variety of other specialized features.

According to the announcement, Safari 2.0's new interface looks and feels much like a standard Web browser. A company official says patrons familiar with Web browsing will feel right at home using this new OPAC, which has single-click access to various areas of the program. The Safari menu remains visible at the left side of the screen at all times, so it's easy to move to a different area at any time.

Patrons can access Safari's basic features without a password, but by using their personal password, they can check to see what materials they have on loan, on reserve, or overdue, as well as any fines they owe. They also have the option of placing books on reserve. A new "book bag" feature will save custom bibliographies under the patron's ID for future access.

In addition to standard and advanced searches by subject, author, title, or keyword, Safari 2.0 also allows the user to search the list of new arrivals or popular titles as well as access the library calendar and bulletins or search for book reviews of a specific rating on a five-star system. Patrons can browse recommended reading lists, which are used to create custom lists of materials.

Safari 2.0 adds flexibility to how search results should appear. Users can choose to sort the results list by call number, author, title, or material type. They can also choose to enable or disable the display of the summary for each title in the list. In keeping with many Internet search engines, Safari 2.0 will highlight the users' search term in the results list as well as all other views of the record. The easy-to-read formatting of the results shows at a glance if the title is available, and in a union catalog environment it will indicate if it's available at another location. By simply checking a box next to a title the user can add that title to the book bag or custom bibliography area for later retrieval or printing.

A new "suggestions" area on the detail view of a record can help patrons search for related materials. Links are provided to search for titles by the same author or with the same subject. A single-click on the link will launch the search. The suggestions area includes a unique feature that will list titles checked out by other patrons at the same time they borrowed the current title. This helps tap into previous users' research since it's common to check out several materials on the same topic.

Safari 2.0 retains all of the favorite features that have long been part of the Surpass OPAC. For example, Safari 2.0 includes a "find as you type" feature that will narrow in on keywords, authors, subjects, or titles as they are typed. Once the desired word is highlighted in the list the user simply presses the ENTER key to add it to the search field. This saves keystrokes and can help find words that are difficult to spell.

Another aspect of Safari is the book review feature. Patrons can submit reviews of materials in the catalog for possible publication by the library staff. Schools often use this as a tie-in to classroom instruction.

Source: Surpass Software, Calhoun, GA, 877/625-2657; http://www.surpasssoftware.com.

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