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Name: Marshall Breeding

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The sun sets on Horizon

My June 2007 Systems Librarian column titled ďThe sun sets on HorizonĒ was prompted by the March 2007 SirsiDynix announcement that the company would focus on its Unicorn ILS and discontinue forward development of Horizon. The problem with writing about a breaking story in a print publication is that itís kind of old news by the time the issue hits the streets. On the other hand, I think that itís important to document such developments and narrate the story from beginning to end. In this piece I talked about the birth of Horizon in the early 1990ís when it was called Marquis, the battle between NOTIS and Dynix within Ameritech Library Services that resulted it its transformation into Horizon, and the productís eventual rise as one the most popular automation systems for public and academic libraries. Mergers and acquisitions show no kindness. Despite its recent rebirth into a new technology platform, the ongoing development of Horizon didnít fit into the business plan.

In the months that have transpired since I wrote this column, SirsiDynix has been working toward shoring up its Unicorn product to make it more palatable to the libraries that have selected or are considering Horizon. At the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, the company unveiled the new branding for Unicorn. From now on, they will call it Symphony. About twenty libraries have agreed to beta test the initial release of Symphony.

Computers in Libraries June 2007 Edition

Iíve been watching the migration patterns of the libraries involved with Horizon. Itís a bit too soon to remark on any trends that might be developing. SirsiDynix is providing strong incentives for these libraries to take up with Unicorn / Symphony. There will be lots of spillage of these libraries into the hands of their commercial competitors and to open source alternatives such as Evergreen and Koha. Iíll be interested to see what systems the current Horizon libraries will favor over the next few years.

I made the advanced search of lib-web-cats largely help me track this kind of trend. The ability to search by current or previous automation system and the year of implementation makes it possible to keep watch on the ILS migration patterns. SirsiDynix changing the name of Unicorn to Symphony presents a quandary as I attempt to track ILS implementations. For the time being, I intend to stick with the Unicorn name. That approach is consistent with what I did when Dynix used the name Corinthian for the Horizon 8.0 offered to academic libraries. When tracking automation systems over time, these changes in brand names obfuscate the actual marketplace trends.

Stay tuned. I'll be following developments on this front to see the number of Horizon libraries that stay the course with SirsiDynix versus those that pursue other alternatives.

Oct 2, 2007 22:16:10

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