Information Update - Fall 2002

Another Sea Change Ahead for the Library

In one of the library world's surprise events of 2001, Sirsi Corporation purchased Data Research Associates (DRA), our library automation provider since June, 1993. Over the summer and fall of 2001, Library administration investigated a migration to TAOS, DRA's next generation graphical system, in development since 1996. Sirsi, after four months of intensive analysis, halted development of that product and instead moved to focus the combined research and development staffs efforts on Unicorn and a newly named academic product, Link. We are now forced to seriously investigate migrating to a differ ent system. "Like sharks at a shipwreck," Marshall Breeding wrote in the April 1, 2002 issue of Library Journal, "other vendors ... pitch their systems to the DRA libraries, hoping to gobble up disgruntled customers."
 
The Weinberg's response, at the direction of Associate Provost for Information Resources, Jerome P. DeSanto, and Library Director, Charles E. Kratz, Jr., was to authorize serious investigation leading to implementation of a new system in Summer, 2003. Mr. Kratz requested assistance in the selection process from a subcommittee of his Library Advisory Committee, composed of volunteer members of that group as well as invited members of the University Community: Dr. Harold Baillie, Dr. Yaodong Bi, Prof. Stephen Casey, Heidi Culver, Prof. Katie Duke, Dr. Jodie Dunn, Dr. Marian Farrell, Dr. Moses Ikiugu, Dr. Kevin Nordberg, Fr. Richard Rousseau, S.J., Prof. Narda Tafuri, and Dr. William Wallick; and also composed of key personnel from the Information Resources Division: Gail Bontrager, Robert Collins, Nancy Kazmierski for James Franceschelli, Mary Kovalcin, Charles Kratz, Bonnie Strohl, and Margaret Craft.
 
A Request for Information (RFI), prepared with input from the heads of all Library departments, was sent to four leading automation vendors, Endeavor Information Systems, Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, and Sirsi Corporation. The RFI and initial price quotations were returned by March 11. Endeavor, Innovative, and Sirsi emerged as the leading candidates for two-day, scripted, intensive demonstrations of their systems. Members of the subcommittee and Library staff devoted 6 full days of late April and early May to carefully listening to and viewing the vendor demonstrations and returning evaluation forms developed by Mary Kovalcin and Vincent Yanusauskas. Those results indicate that further evaluation efforts will focus on Innovative and Sirsi, or Millennium and Link, as their products are called.
 
At every chance during the American Library Association's June meetings, Librarians Betsey Moylan, Charles Kratz, Bonnie Strohl, Narda Tafuri, and Margaret Craft talked with system customers, investigating their experiences with data migration, satisfaction with customer support, and ease of use by staff. Site visits to nearby customers of Innovative and Sirsi, occupied several July days and included a team of librarians, Katie Duke, Betsey Moylan, Donna Ramos, Bonnie Strohl, Narda Tafuri, Jane Wang and Margaret Craft.
 
Upon review of site visits and reports, Library Faculty and Administration will reach a consensus on a new ILS and send that recommendation to the Associate Provost for Information Resources, Jerry DeSanto. We expect that contract negotiations with the successful vendor will begin in the fall and the actual migration will take place in Spring 2003.

Margaret Craft

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