Information Today
Volume 19, Issue 3 — March 2002
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SIRSI Forms Alliance with Wilson, Installs Systems in Connecticut Libraries

SIRSI Corp. has announced that the H.W. Wilson Co., a supplier of online and print bibliographic and biographical reference materials, will provide SIRSI's iBistro electronic library with Wilson's Book Review Digest, a complete database of fiction and nonfiction book review excerpts that date to 1984. The Book Review Digest features review excerpts and abstracts from a wide variety of sources, including The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, The New Yorker, People, the Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and the San Francisco Chronicle. SIRSI has also announced that the Waterford-Groton Public Libraries—a consortium from Waterford, Groton, andMystic, Connecticut—have selected SIRSI's Unicorn system and iBistro.

The SIRSI/Wilson alliance enables libraries to supply users with online access to reviews and abstracts of a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. When iBistro users open a bibliographic record of possible interest, they will be able to read reviews of works they are considering, rather than searching separate publications for information.

Laura Dawson, SIRSI's director of content development, said: "The relationship between H.W. Wilson and SIRSI will provide library users everywhere with access to the very best, most complete information on the books they are searching for. The addition of Book Review Digest to the content being offered through iBistro is a real coup for patrons."

Deborah Loeding, H.W. Wilson's vice president of sales and marketing, said: "Wilson is delighted to be working with SIRSI. iBistro is a great tool, and with the addition of Book Review Digest users gain greater insight into a work of interest in a single search. This relationship brings Book Review Digest to the patron in a highly usable and creative way."

Connecticut Libraries
According to Alan Benkert, director of the Groton Public Library, and Vince Juliano, director of the Waterford Public Library, the SIRSI system satisfied the libraries' requirements for an easy-to-use client/server system to replace their outdated character-based automation system.

"Of the three library automation systems demonstrated, SIRSI's was the top choice of the library staff," Benkert said. "We found the iBistro electronic library very appealing, and we know library users will like it. iBistro has the familiar Windows interface that will enable users to come into the library and work with it immediately, whereas previously they had to learn how to use the character-based system. They will also have easier remote access to the library—they can dial in remotely with the character-based system, but the process is slow and clunky."

Juliano said: "Our SIRSI demonstration was impressive. The screens for staff use were much clearer and more logically laid out than those of competing products, and the iBistro interface for the public was attractive and similar to what our patrons were seeing when they surfed the Web."

Established in 1923 and 1959, respectively, the Waterford and Groton Public Libraries began sharing a single automation system in 1978. In 1987, they were joined by the Mystic & Noank Library. The three libraries' combined collection totals more than 275,000 volumes.

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

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