Information Today
Volume17, Number 3 • March 2000
GIS Unveils Polaris 1.4, Announces Polaris Integration into Texas Library System

Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) has announced the release of Polaris 1.4, its non-modular, native-Windows NT library automation solution. In a separate announcement, GIS has announced that the Arlington (Texas) Public Library System is migrating from GIS’s GALAXY system to Polaris.

Polaris 1.4
With the release of Polaris 1.4, system performance of the third-generation automation solution has increased dramatically, according to a report from the Washington County Cooperative Library System after completion of version 1.4 benchmark testing.

“With Polaris 1.4, GIS has achieved three important milestones that will benefit Polaris customers,” said Katherine Blauer, president of Gaylord Information Systems. “These milestones are improved performance; reduced time to market, and faster installation of this and all future releases; and delivery of new functionality driven by customer requirements.”

According to the announcement, the primary goals of Polaris 1.4 development were system optimization and work-flow acceleration. To achieve these goals, GIS measured customer-specific functionality against existing technical-services work flow to determine how new features would enhance flexibility and accelerate work flow. Working directly with senior Microsoft engineers, GIS refined a number of database processes to optimize SQL Server and other Microsoft BackOffice utilities. As a result, performance is dramatically improved, specifically in the area of record processing.

GIS also implemented a new development process to reduce time to market for software releases. Using this new process, GIS completed and delivered Polaris 1.4 ahead of schedule—without compromising customer-required enhancements. The efficiency of the process extends to the upgrade and installation process. “Reducing time to market is an important part of our commitment to our customers,” Blauer said. “We have an aggressive release schedule set for 2000. We’ve proven our new processes work and we’re confident we will meet and exceed the schedule we’ve set.”

Although the focus of Polaris 1.4 was on performance optimization, the release does provide a number of customer-required enhancements. Eighty-five percent of the version 1.4 enhancements were based on customer input. These improvements include bulk change functionality in cataloging to facilitate record processing, scoping availability in the OPAC to assist patrons in locating available items, purchase order templates in acquisitions to expedite ordering, and automatic prediction of serials without enumeration to accelerate work flow.

Arlington Public Library System
The Arlington Public Library System consists of the public libraries in Central Arlington, Southwest Arlington, East Arlington, Northeast Arlington, Woodland West, and two more libraries to be added in the next 3 years. With more than 172,000 patrons and 265 client workstations, Arlington faced the challenge of supporting a rapidly growing patron base and increased demand for information resources.

“Our rapid growth necessitated looking for a new automation system that could meet our staff and patron needs,” said Betsy Burson, director of the Arlington Public Library. “We thoroughly reviewed the new systems, with a consideration to the degree of stability and ease of use we had with GALAXY.” After a 2-year review process, Arlington selected Polaris. “We are confident Polaris is the only system that provides the flexibility and performance we need as we move forward with our expansion projects,” said Burson.

GIS will be converting Arlington’s bibliographic, item, transaction, and patron records. Item record conversion includes profiling, mapping tagged call numbers, and other item values such as bar code number, price, volume, and copy numbers. Patron file conversion includes profiling, data entry into customized patron record fields, formatting, and loading/indexing. GIS is also providing authority control processing at the time of conversion, allowing Arlington to use the extensive Polaris Authority Control features immediately after going live with the new system.

Burson feels that the GALAXY-to-Polaris migration has worked well thus far because of the cooperation and open dialogue between GIS and the Arlington staff. “Our Polaris implementation manager has been exceptional. Her knowledge of our libraries’ needs and of the GALAXY and Polaris systems is a great benefit to us as we move through the migration process,” she said.

According to the announcement, Polaris offers complete access to integrated cataloging, serials, acquisitions, circulation, patron/student services, and systems administration functionality. The system provides a Web-based public access client and a Windows 95/98/NT Workstation-based technical service client. Polaris was built with Microsoft technologies solely for the Windows NT Server platform and SQL Server.

GIS is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the 25-year-old software development division of Gaylord Bros., a leading supplier to the library industry for over a century. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers work-flow analysis, retrospective conversion, and database enhancement services to libraries of all types.

Source: Gaylord Information Systems, Syracuse, NY, 800/272-3414; Fax: 315/457-5883;

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