Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 9 • October 2000
Gaylord Information Systems Releases Polaris 1.5

Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) has announced the release of Polaris 1.5. According to the company, the software provides major functionality enhancements across the system.

“With Polaris 1.5, GIS is again proving that, by taking advantage of key aspects of the Windows NT platform and technologies and creating tighter integration within Polaris, we can rapidly enhance all aspects of system functionality and performance,” said Katherine Blauer, president of GIS. “These improvements in performance and reduced time-to-market result in faster delivery and installation, allowing our customers and their patrons to immediately benefit from the new functionality.”

Polaris 1.5 features a new database and a redesigned search engine, providing more precise and faster searching, according to the announcement. The Polaris PAC and the Polaris Staff Client now use the same Z39.50-compatible search engine, allowing patrons and technical services staffs to pull down records from any Z39.50 data source.

A new search-scoping feature lets users limit or qualify a search by branch, collection, material type, bibliographic record format, data or date range, language, targeted audience, and specific database (searching Z39.50 remote sites). Scoping is available in the Polaris PAC as well as in the Polaris Staff Client.

The Polaris 1.5 user interface and functions for searching have been modified to take advantage of the complete integration of the Z39.50-compatible search engine. Bill Schickling, vice president of research and product development at GIS, said: “Searching performance has been dramatically optimized with the implementation of SQL Server 7.0. The new search engine really exploits the database, decreasing the time needed to complete a search.”

Using the performance-optimization features of SQL Server 7.0, Polaris 1.5 expands exact-match searching to include implicitly truncated searches (results set includes all items that begin with the letters or numbers specified) and explicitly truncated searches (results set includes all items that exactly match the letters or numbers specified).

Schickling said: “The redesigned database allowed us to develop a ‘power searching’ function that is guaranteed to increase productivity. Mnemonic codes are defined for each access point for each searchable object. This permits power searches for MARC and non-MARC data (such as patrons, invoices, and serial control records) in the Polaris Staff Client, and for bibliographic records in the Polaris PAC.” Staff Client users can also place stop words in quotes to override default stop words during a power search.

The Polaris PAC has been completely revised in version 1.5. The PAC has a new user interface, search engine, and functionality. A scoping feature has been added, and the brief and full bibliographic displays have been modified. In addition, hyperlinks connect records to all other records in the catalog with the same heading. Other hyperlinks connect to author entries, subjects, and series found. Brief and full records both display hyperlinks of highlighted matching words (words that were searched) to other records with the same headings.

Like the Polaris PAC, the Polaris Staff Client uses the advanced features of SQL Server 7.0. Major enhancements to acquisitions functionality include the ability to adjust prepaid invoices, and searching purchase orders by Prepaid, Canceled, Currently Received, Open, and Closed statuses. The interface has also been enhanced so that fields on the Purchase Order, Purchase Order Line Item, Invoice, Invoice Line Item, Fiscal Years, and Fund windows display dynamically, depending on the status of the record. Displaying data in this way ensures strict alignment between the order, invoice, and linked fund/payment history transactions.

Schickling said: “Polaris has always been about tight integration—there have never been any modules to back in and out of. Version 1.5 is a further realization of that original design criterion. When purchase orders are released the user can now automatically generate multiple on-order item records for display in the PAC. So if a purchase-order line item contains seven copies ordered for a given library, Polaris generates seven linked on-order item records.”

That tighter integration also applies to serials processing. With Polaris 1.5, staff can predict and receive standing orders. This functionality is based on Polaris’ linking feature—the direct relationships the system creates among supplier, copy, purchase order, and invoice data. The benefit to customers is no data redundancy and seamless interaction between serials and acquisitions processes.

According to the company, Polaris 1.5 gives catalogers the most extensive cataloging tool kit available with a third-generation automation system. The system’s record editor offers complete cut, copy, and paste functionality. Coupled with the ability to search remote Z39.50 sites, catalogers can now pull a bibliographic record into the editor, make any necessary edits, and save it to the Polaris database. The record is then immediately available in the Polaris PAC.

Polaris 1.5 also offers expanded patron services. New features include the ability to credit accounts, manage refunds, and avoid errors, such as the multiple payment of a single charge.

Other new patron services include the automatic calculation of replacement and processing costs to be included in the billing and the ability to check out in-transit items. Polaris also now stops the renewal of an item if the item fills a pending hold request from another branch. Staff can continue the renewal and cancel or renew the hold, or cancel the renewal and place the item in transit. Off-line circulation has been expanded so that when an item circulates off-line and it has a status of Held or Transferred, Polaris checks the requester bar code when the file uploads. If the borrower and requester bar codes are the same, the hold request is deleted. If they aren’t the same, the request status reverts to active and the report file contains a message that the held item was circulated to a different borrower and the request was reactivated for the patron bar code.

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

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