Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 3 March 2001
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Gaylord Information Systems Releases Polaris 1.5, Announces Implementation in Clearwater Libraries

Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) has announced major enhancements to its Polaris library automation product, with the release of version 1.5 at the end of December. In a separate release, Gaylord has announced that the Clearwater (Florida) Public Library System will implement Polaris.

Polaris 1.5
According to the company, Polaris 1.5 has more than 140 new product features, including a redesigned search engine, making the library software faster, more precise, and easier for patrons to use. A new search feature allows librarians and their patrons to limit search results by assigned branch, material type, date, and other bibliographical data. Another unique feature is Polaris OneView, which allows users to view screen headings, bibliographic information, and item-level information on one screen.

Polaris 1.5 also provides full Z39.50 connectivity in both public and staff clients, allowing users to search other libraries' databases and enabling Polaris to serve as a host for a Z39.50 session.

"With Polaris 1.5, we are achieving our goal of making our library software as functionally rich as possible," said Katherine Blauer, president of Gaylord Information Systems. "We are grateful to the many libraries and their staffs who provide feedback to us so we can continue to design software that provides patron-centric solutions for patron-centric libraries."

The Polaris 1.5 browser-based PAC offers the security and features of a PC-based application. That flexibility extends to on-the-fly user customizations. Searchers can select from the following bibliography styles at any time during a session: Modern Language Association, Chicago Manual of Style, and American Psychological Association. Records can also be printed and saved from the PAC in brief and in full bibliographic display.

Polaris 1.5 accommodates the newly structured Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) format, and can determine if an abbreviated LCCN is written in the new or old format. Other highlights of Polaris 1.5 include adding standing-orders functionality to acquisitions and serials processing, enabling circulation to support the handling of lost items, and adding new transaction functionality to patron accounts.

In addition, the text editor used for editing bibliographic authority records has new selection and edit actions, and the editor now uses familiar Microsoft Windows editing commands.

Polaris 1.5 combines two planned releases: a 1.5 functional release with a previously planned SQL Server 7.0 release. This decision was made, according to Blauer, to eliminate the distribution of a second upgrade within a short period of time, and to deliver more functionality sooner and cause less disruption to the library.

Polaris is a native Windows NT integrated system that provides a Web-based public access catalog, and offers workstation-based Windows 9x, 2000, and NT staff services with integrated cataloging, serials, acquisitions, circulation, patron/student services, and system administration functionality. It's currently installed at more than 200 libraries.

Clearwater Public Library System
Clearwater purchased Polaris as an upgrade from GIS's GALAXY system, which the library has used since 1992. In making this decision, Clearwater joined a number of other public libraries that have migrated from GALAXY to Polaris to provide a more technologically advanced automation system, according to the announcement. Polaris offers full Windows functionality and helps position libraries for adopting new technologies in the future to serve their patrons.

"Polaris delivers satisfied patrons," said John Szabo, director of the Clearwater Public Library System. "It features an easy-to-use public access catalog and requires little patron education, and its Windows NT foundation makes it a 'friendly face' for users."

Clearwater Public Library System has 97 user licenses, approximately 400,000 volumes, and five branches.

"We upgraded to Polaris because we were ready for the latest technology," said Linda Lange, Clearwater Public Library System's automation coordinator. "I love the ease of Polaris and the fact that it's so easy to maneuver through the staff client. I've also always greatly appreciated the support we've gotten from GIS."

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

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