|The exhibit hall of the American Library Association's (ALA) Annual
Conference, held this past June in San Francisco, continues to stand out
as the venue that best reflects the state of library automation. All the
companies that offer automation products to public and academic libraries
participate, and many choose this conference to make major announcements.
Those that specialize in products for special libraries are not necessarily
as well represented, as they tend to focus on the Special Libraries Association
Some of the important themes this year included a focus on enriching
library automation systems with new flavors of content and expanding their
scope to contain a wider range of information sources. Most ofthe library
system vendors have updated the look and features of their online catalogs
to keep pace with the expectations set by online booksellers and other
Developers of library automation systems struggle, however, to offer
eye-catching interfaces with ever-expanding information and still provide
the structure and organization of information expected by librarians. Content
providers, such as Syndetic Solutions, that deliver services to enhance
bibliographic content are in great demand. Current expectations now require
the library's Web catalog to include book jacket images, tables of contents,
summaries, and book reviews.
The industry has experienced some business changes. The really big news
involved SIRSI Corp.'s planned acquisition of Data Research Associates
(DRA). The announcement came immediately before the conference and all
parties involved were still working through the implications of the change.
As of this writing, the acquisition is proceeding as planned. In other
news, EOS International announced its new ownership. Its founder, Scot
Cheatham, purchased the company from the U.K.-based Dawson Holdings Co.
In these two cases, formerly public companies now find themselves under
private ownership. In addition, Pigasus Software, developer of the WINGS
Request Management System, was purchased by Auto-Graphics.
The school library market continues to be dominated by Sagebrush Technologies
and Follett Software Co. Sagebrush has expanded its offerings through a
partnership with SIRSI to exclusively market Accent, a configuration of
SIRSI's Unicorn that's specifically designed for school libraries. Book
Systems, Inc., a small company specializing in school and small public
libraries, seems to be gaining momentum.
As vendors that specialize in very large academic libraries, Ex Libris
and Endeavor are both doing well. Ex Libris continues to win a large percentage
of the new sales in this arena. Endeavor seems to have come out of the
slump it experienced following its sale to Elsevier Science last year,
as evidenced by its contracts with Yale University, the ILSCO consortium
in Illinois, and the University of Montana. Recent sales by Ex Libris include
the California Digital Library and the University of CaliforniaDavis.
Each of the following library automation companies was present at the
conference. Included are the significant products or services that were
demonstrated and any major announcements.
Auto-Graphics, a publicly owned company that specializes in resource-sharing
systems, announced its acquisition of the WINGS Request Management System
(and all its personnel) from Pigasus Software, Inc. The WINGS Request Management
System was designed to help libraries automate the management of interlibrary
loan (ILL), document delivery, photocopy, and purchase requests. The system
includes support for the ISO 10161 ILL protocol, but also integrates with
ILL systems such as OCLC and DOCLINE outside of the protocol. Pigasus,
founded in 1997, was a private company that was owned in whole by Candy
Zeman and Art Zeman. Auto-Graphics will incorporate WINGS into its product
line to enhance its existing resource-sharing offerings, and will integrate
WINGS into its Web-based Impact/VERSO Library Management System.
Last year, Auto-Graphics created its Librarycard.com subsidiary, a Web
portal site that provides library and bibliographic information to librarians
as well as the public.
Book Systems, Inc., based in Huntsville, Tennessee, demonstrated
its Windows-based Concourse library management system and its Z39.50-based
eZcat copy cataloging application. Book Systems' products appeal primarily
to school libraries
and small to mid-sized public libraries. In one of
its largest sales, Book Systems announced that the Hamilton County Public
School System in Tennessee had recently chosen Concourse.
CASPR Library Systems offers two different approaches to library
automation. Its Library World is a traditional library automation system
that operates on both Macintosh and Windows platforms. The company's LibraryNet
Web server allows a library to publish its Library World online catalog
on the Web.
CASPR also offers an ASP (application service provider) library automation
system called LibraryCom. This Web-based service lets a library automate
its collection with no local software. All cataloging, management, and
access is accomplished through a Web interface. For no cost, CASPR provides
a limited version of LibraryCom to libraries. The free service includes
up to 10 megabytes of storage for catalog records—usually about 5,000 titles.
Additional storage and product support is available to libraries that purchase
subscriptions to the service. LibraryCom includes access to a database
of 2 million MARC records from which the library's local collection can
be derived. Through the use of this database as a cataloging resource,
the number of records that the library will have to create anew should
be minimal. CASPR recently released version 3.2 of its LibraryCom service
to include support for the 856 MARC field, which provides active links
to Web resources.
COMPanion Corp., a company that specializes in library automation
software for schools, demonstrated version 5.43 of its Alexandria system.
Alexandria operates on both Macintosh and Windows platforms. With version
5.43 the system is also compatible with Apple's new Macintosh OS X (pronounced
"ten") operating system. Other new features in this version include the
ability for the client to search external Z39.50-based resources and support
for multiple languages in the Web interface. The system's MARC editor has
been updated and the database engine has been enhanced to improve searching
Data Research Associates, Inc. announced its proposed acquisition
by SIRSI at ALA. While this business change was the hottest news at the
conference, DRA found itself in an unusual position. As a public company,
its acquisition by a private company is a transaction that will take some
time to complete, and there are no guarantees that such a purchase will
While the acquisition is still on track, DRA and SIRSI were still officially
competitors even though news of the deal had been made public. DRA and
SIRSI staff were still adjusting to the concept of becoming a single company
and were in the process of learning each other's corporate cultures. Because
of the non-finality of the sale, it was largely business as usual at the
DRA booth. As recently as July 24, DRA and SIRSI announced their cash tender
offer in which SIRSI's parent company will begin purchasing all outstanding
shares of DRA stock. (For a complete look at the merger, see "SIRSI Acquires
Data Research Associates" on page 17 of the July/August 2001 issue or at
At the conference, DRA staff showed the company's flagship product Taos,
including the acquisitions module, which is the last remaining major module
to be completed in this new library automation system. DRA recently announced
that the Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia, a large library system,
will migrate from its INLEX/3000 system to Taos.
Endeavor Information Systems demonstrated the latest versions
of its Voyager library automation system and its ENCompass digital library
system. It also introduced its LinkFinderPlus reference-linking
LinkFinderPlus is a comprehensive system that helps libraries
provide links among their various information products, even when they
are from different publishers and aggregators. LinkFinderPlus adds
additional features from information services to other resources that might
include abstracts, reviews, and full-text content, as well as to online
bookstores and Internet search engines. The system complements and is compatible
with the CrossRef linking initiative of over 70 publishers and relies on
the OpenURL linking mechanism that is currently under standards consideration
by NISO. LinkFinderPlus is of the same product genre as Ex Libris'
SFX and offers similar features, though with different underlying technologies.
Endeavor also demonstrated its ENCompass digital library management
system, which was released in March. ENCompass facilitates the development
of digital collections in a way that makes them part of an overall comprehensive
system but that doesn't make them isolated and unconnected. The product
includes support for standards such as XML, Z39.50, EAD, and Dublin Core.
Endeavor continues to have success with Voyager. At the time of ALA
it announced the product's selection by Yale University. More recent announcements
include implementations in the Libris national system in Sweden, the Illinois
Library Computer Systems Organization consortium, and the University of
EOS International announced its recent change in ownership. Since
1994 EOS International has been under the ownership of Dawson Holdings
Co. As previously mentioned, EOS announced that Scot Cheatham had purchased
the company, with Tony Saadat as a partner with equity interest. This arrangement
is expected to allow the company to focus more strongly on research and
development and product enhancements.
EOS demonstrated its two primary products: the client/server Q Series
and the Windows-based GLAS. While GLAS targets smaller libraries, Q Series
is designed to accommodate mid-sized to large libraries. EOS also announced
its new E-Library service, an ASP alternative to library automation using
EOS software where the library relies on external servers rather than ones
housed locally in the library.
epixtech, Inc. demonstrated the recently released version 7 of
its Horizon Sunrise library automation system. This release includes a
new Z39.50 cataloging capability, major enhancements to the circulation
module, support for Windows 2000 clients, and support for Unicode.
The company also demonstrated iPac, its latest generation of
a Web-based online catalog. iPac can be used with either of epixtech's
automation systems, Dynix or Horizon. epixtech has joined an increasing
number of library automation companies that have entered into a relationship
with Syndetic Solutions to provide enriched content into its online catalog,
including tables of contents, book reviews, book jacket images, and book
The Universal Resource Sharing Application (URSA) was also demonstrated
at the conference. This product has been used successfully in services
such as the Tampa Bay Library Consortia's Anywhere Anytime Library e-Catalog,
In order to help the needs of public libraries that are mandated to
offer filtered Internet access, epixtech announced that it has entered
into a partnership with N2H2, a company that offers Web management services
using a combination of software and human review to provide access to approved
Ex Libris USA demonstrated its Aleph 500 library automation system,
SFX reference linking product, and MetaLib digital library product. The
company has enjoyed strong sales of Aleph 500 both in the international
and North American marketplaces. Recent large U.S. sales include the University
of CaliforniaDavis and the California Digital Library. An electronic
reserves module has recently been added to Aleph 500.
SFX, a pioneering product in the reference linking arena, has been selected
by a number of North American universities and research centers. SFX, based
on the OpenURL linking mechanism, allows libraries to provide a set of
additional services to any of a number of compliant information resources.
These services include links to full text of articles from citations, searches
to related works by the same author, access to local holdings information
from the library's catalog, and links to document delivery systems and
online bookstores. SFX can be run on a local server operated by the library
or in an ASP arrangement in which Ex Libris hosts the service. Ex Libris
purchased the underlying SFX technology from the University of Ghent in
Belgium in early 2000 and has continued its development. After a period
of beta testing, the product was released for production use at about the
time of the ALA conference.
Follett Software Co., a major library automation supplier for
school libraries, demonstrated the latest versions of its Catalog Plus
and Web Collection Plus applications. Consistent with the demands of the
school library environment, Follett's Catalog Plus integrated system is
available for both Macintosh and Windows computers.
Web Collection Plus allows a library to make its online catalog available
to its usersthrough the Web, including the ability to place hold and ILL
requests. School districts can create comprehensive catalogs that span
multiple schools through the Union Catalog Plus product.
Fretwell-Downing Informatics offers both library automation software
and ILL and resource-sharing systems. Fretwell-Downing is a U.K.-based
company and has recently begun to offer its OLIB7 library automation system
in North America.
While OLIB7 has not yet been particularly successful in the U.S., the
company's Virtual Document eXchange (VDX) product has gained significant
interest. VDX allows library consortia to create for themselves a peer-to-peer resource-sharing
system using the ISO ILL protocols that can also interact with other ILL
and document delivery systems.
Fretwell-Downing also offers a complementary product called Z-Portal,
which allows libraries to create a virtual union catalog that lets library
users search multiple libraries and databases simultaneously.
Fretwell-Downing's other offerings include an application for creating
digital collections called Z'Mbol, which operates with multiple types of
metadata and document types. Z'Mbol uses a Z39.50 interface, allowing the
resources to be easily integrated with the library's overall environment.
Gaylord Information Systems unveiled version 2 of its Polaris
library automation system at ALA. Among other improvements, this update
of Polaris includes a significantly enhanced online catalog, called PowerPAC.
Based on XML technologies, PowerPAC will provide the ability to offer content
that's customized to the interests of individual library patrons. Some
of the supplemental content items include tables of contents, book reviews,
and summaries. PowerPAC can deliver results sorted according to their relevancy
with the user's search query.
Also consistent with providing enriched content through PowerPAC, Gaylord
announced its agreement with MSNBC to deliver news headlines and story
abstracts that are updated several times each day.
Gaylord targets Polaris to public libraries of all sizes, having successfully
installed the system in several countywide library cooperatives. The company
is involved in converting many of its customers that are operating its
older Galaxy system to Polaris.
Innovative Interfaces, Inc. announced three new products and
services at the conference, including new features for its MAP product,
WebBridge, and AirPAC.
MAP (Millennium Access Plus) provides access to an extended set of content
sources through Millennium's online catalog. The capability of MAP has
been enhanced through the use of MetaFind, a searching technology licensed
from MuseGlobal that offers simultaneous search and retrieval across multiple
resources of differing types. MetaFind is not restricted to Z39.50-compliant
resources—it can also search resources that do not conform to this protocol.
The WebBridge enhancement allows users to link from a basic record display
in the Millennium online catalog to supplementary and related content such
as book jacket images, book reviews, and tables of contents. WebBridge
manages these links so that they're created dynamically and according to
parameters set by the library.
Innovative also announced the AirPAC interface to its Millennium online
catalog that's designed specifically for wireless devices. This optional
feature allows library users with Web-enabled cellphones and PDAs to access
the library's online catalog.
The Library Corporation (TLC) continues to expand its products
and services. With over 400 installations across 1,200 libraries, its Library•Solution
library automation system continues to enjoy strong sales. The YouSeeMore
enhanced Web catalog operates with both Library•Solution and the CARL system,
providing information such as book jacket images, tables of contents, summaries,
and reviews to supplement basic catalog records. YouSeeMore now includes
new personalization features, allowing each library user to create his
or her own interactive library Web page. Users can easily view their own
library account record to see items checked out, when they are due, and
any fines owed. The Library Corporation has partnered with MuseGlobal to
integrate cross-resource searching into YouSeeMore.
TLC also recently announced that it had licensed the Library.Connect
ILL toolkit to Ex Libris. This software will facilitate the development
of ISO ILL-compliant resource-sharing capabilities into Ex Libris' products.
In yet another partnership, the CARL subsidiary of The Library Corporation
will provide software and hardware to Baker & Taylor (B&T) in support
of the customized cataloging services that B&T offers to its customers.
Book suppliers such as Baker & Taylor are increasingly involved in
delivering MARC records and other specialized services to their library
customers. The partnership with The Library Corporation includes providing
access to its ITS•MARC database and supplying advanced cataloging utilities
to four geographically dispersed processing centers.
Sagebrush Technologies, a company specializing in school library
automation, continues to expand its product offerings. Sagebrush's original
purchase of the Athena system from Nichols Advanced Technologies in 1998
was followed in January 2000 by the acquisition of the Winnebago Software
Co., one of the leading school library automation companies. With these
two products, Sagebrush gained a major share of the school library automation
market. In February, Sagebrush took another major step forward with the
addition of Accent, a version of SIRSI's Unicorn library automation system
customized for K-12 school libraries. Through this partnership with SIRSI,
Sagebrush gains yet another option to satisfy the needs of school libraries.
offers both a suite of database products and the
Mandarin M3 library automation system. At the conference the latest version
of Mandarin M3 was available for inspection. Now in version 1.1, recent
enhancements include a new release of the Windows OPAC that allows library
users to see their personal record, viewing items they have currently checked
out or have previously borrowed. The OPAC also offers new search capabilities
and browse indexes.
came to the conference following the announcement
of its intention to acquire DRA. In January, Patrick Sommers became SIRSI's
new president. Company founders Jim Young, Jacky Young, and Mike Murdock
continue to have very active roles in the organization, focusing mainly
on strategic technology developments. Reflecting its new focus on electronic
content, Laura N. Dawson, former director of content development with barnesandnoble.com,
joined SIRSI in April as the content development director for the company's
new iBistro product.
SIRSI's iBistro is an online catalog that includes an enhanced interface,
personalization features, and content enrichment services. iBistro brings
a new look and feel to the Web online catalog, offering a more up-to-date
interface designed to appeal to users familiar with online booksellers
and other popular Web sites. The product gives the user easy access to
personalized information, such as his or her library record and lists of
new books in areas of interest. Options for enriched content delivered
throughiBistro initially include book jacket images, tables of contents,
book summaries, and reviews.
A new division of SIRSI, called LINK, was formed in March to focus solely
on large academic and research libraries. A version of iBistro, called
iLINK, will evolve from this division and will include content sources
and software configurations appropriate for the specialized needs of large
Some of the major sales that SIRSI announced include the LOUIS consortium
in Louisiana, which comprises the University of Louisiana, a member of
the Association of Research Libraries. Other recent sales include Michigan's
Suburban Library Cooperative, the Old Colony Library Network in the Boston
area, the Indiana
Cooperative Library Services Authority (INCOLSA), and
the Cooperative Computer Services consortium of 20 Chicago-area public
The Technology Resource Foundationdemonstrated its new OpenBook
library automation system. The organization has developed this system in
an open-source model and will distribute it without cost. To use the system
a library need only obtain a modestly configured server on which to run
the software. Its target libraries include Third World and rural libraries
that otherwise would not be able to afford to automate their collections.
OpenBook offers an entirely Web-based system that provides an impressive
set of features. The system has Unicode support, currently includes support
for three languages, and can easily be adapted to others. The capabilities
of OpenBook are competitive with many of the commercial systems designed
for small libraries.
VTLS, Inc. demonstrated its suite of library automation products
at the conference. The Virtua system is now complete and has been delivered
to a number of domestic and international sites. Virtua's support of multiple
language scripts through its native Unicode implementation especially appeals
to libraries with culturally diverse collections. VTLS also offers products
and services related to multimedia imaging. The company also supplies Radio
Frequency Identification (RFID) products from Gemplus to provide advanced
capabilities in inventory control, circulation, and theft detection. VTLS
offers two ILL options, the ILL Manager from Research Libraries Group and
the WINGS ILL Request Management System developed by Pigasus Software,
now a subsidiary of Auto-Graphics.
[Editor's Note: For more information on many of the products
mentioned above, see the Library Systems Today section beginning on page
Marshall Breeding is the technology analyst at Vanderbilt University's
Heard Library and a writer and speaker on library technology issues. His
e-mail address is email@example.com.