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Innovative Interfaces expands Its NYC presence

Smart Libraries Newsletter [May 2008]

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Copyright (c) 2008 ALA TechSource

Abstract: Innovative Interfaces has continued its steady influx of new clients and major contracts. Among the company’s successes, two recent awards stand out, that of a unified system for the New York Public Library and another for the New York Art Resources Consortium. These major contracts represent the appeal of Innovative’s Millennium system across major public, research, and museum libraries, as well as the company’s ability to consistently expand its client base.


During this period of uncertainty in the library automation industry, Innovative Interfaces has continued its steady influx of new clients and major contracts. Among the company’s successes, two recent awards stand out, that of a unified system for the New York Public Library and another for the New York Art Resources Consortium. These major contracts represent the appeal of Innovative’s Millennium system across major public, research, and museum libraries, as well as the company’s ability to consistently expand its client base.

NYPL Branch Libraries to Adopt Millennium

The New York Public Library (NYPL) system includes both a set of research libraries that function much like academic libraries, and a system of branch libraries that lend materials and perform other services typical of municipal libraries. The automation needs of these two libraries have, until now, required separate automation systems to support their divergent missions.

The Branch Libraries of NYPL span 86 locations throughout Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island, offering a combined lending collection of 7 million items with annual circulation of 16 million transactions. The Research Libraries catalog includes 6.8 million records. The four facilities constituting the Research Libraries include Humanities and Social Sciences Library on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center Plaza, the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture in Harlem, and the Science, Industry and Business Library on Madison Avenue.

The LEO (Library Entrance Online) catalog, currently based on a SirsiDynix Dynix Classic system, provides access to the collections of the Branch Libraries; CATNYP, based on a Millennium system from Innovative Interfaces, represents the holdings of the Research Libraries. The Research Libraries offer their collections for reference use only; the Branch Libraries comprise a set of lending libraries with one of the highest number of circulation transactions in the United States. Combining these two library systems poses an enormous set of challenges, but offers major benefits to its patrons. Given Innovative’s strong position among both public libraries and academic research libraries, it is not surprising that a library organization spanning both library types would be drawn to Millennium. Forty-six of the 132 members (35 percent) of the Urban Libraries Council, which includes libraries serving populations of over 100,000, use Millennium, as do 38 of the 123 members (31 percent) of the Association of Research Libraries.

In one of the largest contracts for an automation system in the last year, Innovative Interfaces was given the nod by the New York Public Library to implement its Millennium system throughout its operations. NYPL already uses Millennium for its four research libraries. This deal brings in the Branch Libraries which currently use a Dynix Classic system from SirsiDynix.

This contract greatly expands Innovative’s existing relationship with NYPL and represents the loss to SirsiDynix of a major client. The Research Libraries have been a long time client of Innovative Interfaces, implementing INNOPAC in 1988 and subsequently upgrading to Millennium. The automation environment of the Research Libraries focused on cataloging, acquisitions, and the public access catalog, and not necessarily on circulation, given that the research collections are primarily used for reference.

The Research Libraries contracted with Innovative in 2005 to develop an automated call slip system to allow patrons to request materials from the collections, which mostly reside in stacks closed to the public. The libraries began implementation of Innovative’s Electronic Resource Management in 2006.

The configuration of Millennium selected by NYPL includes the ecommerce system, supporting online payments of fines and fees, RSS feeds for automatic notification of new materials, and WebBridge, the company’s OpenURL link resolver. NYPL also has elected to implement Encore, Innovative’s “discovery services platform.”

Once complete, this initiative will mark the first time that the collections of the branch and research libraries of NYPL will reside in a single online catalog. In 2007 NYPL implemented a federated search environment based on software from WebFeat that simultaneously searches the collections of the Research Libraries, the Branch Libraries, the NYPL Web site, its licensed electronic databases, as well as the over 550,000 images in the NYPL Digital Gallery.

As one of the world’s major libraries, the New York Public Library is involved in many major projects and initiatives. The library partnered with Google in 2004, for example, to digitize a portion of its book collection. NYPL’s book digitization focuses on works in the public domain.

The renewal of NYPL’s automation environment fits within a larger effort. In March 2008 the library announced a $1 billion Transformation Plan to help the library meet its rapidly expanding use. The plan allocates $130 million for “technology, online expansion, collections, education, and staff.” While only a small portion will go for the implementation of this new automation system, it is clear that the library recognizes the need to make significant investments in its online presence.

A Long History of Library Automation

As one of the nation’s largest and most complex libraries, NYPL took an early interest in library automation. In the early to mid-1970’s the New York Public Library developed its own automation system, primarily functioning as a cataloging system. (See Malinconconico, Michael S. and Rizzolo, James A, “The New York Public Library automated book catalog subsystem” Journal of Library Automation. March 1973).

Since that time, both the Branch and Research Libraries have cycled through a number of commercial products, averaging a new system each decade. In 1984 the Branch Libraries selected a DataPhase system as part of the TriLi consortium that also included the Queens Borough Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. The Branch Libraries implemented the Libs100 system from CLSI in 1986, which it operated until 1994 when it migrated to Dynix in a $9 million project. At that time the Branch Libraries had 1.8 million registered users, a collection of 10.5 million items and had annual circulation of over 10 million. The implementation of the Dynix system represented the first time that the NYPL catalog was available through the Internet.

The Research Libraries implemented the TOMUS system from Carlyle Systems, Inc., in 1984. This system was somewhat short lived. In 1988 the Research Libraries replaced TOMUS with INNOPAC, which has subsequently been upgraded to Millennium.

Public Library Automation in NYC

Of the five boroughs of New York City, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island are served by the New York Public Library. Brooklyn and Queens each are served by independent library systems. Innovative’s Millennium has been selected to support library patrons in four out of the five NYC boroughs. Brooklyn Public Library joined Innovative’s fold in 2002 when it selected Millennium to replace its Geac PLUS system.

The Queens Borough Public Library currently uses DRA Classic from Sirsi- Dynix. The library selected Horizon 8 .0, but has not gone forward with its implementation given the withdrawal of that product by SirsiDynix in 2007. Queens has implemented AquaBrowser as its interface. Queens claims the position as the public library in the United States with the largest circulation, with over 21 million transactions per year.

Millennium Selected for New Consortium of NYC Museums

New York City hosts some of the world’s greatest museums. The libraries associated with three of these museums, the Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, recently elected to participate in a shared library automation system, and have selected Millennium from Innovative Interfaces as its platform.

In April 2007 the libraries of these three museums formed the New York Art Resources Consortium, following the recommendations that came out of a planning grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. One of the key goals of the consortium will involve the implementation of a shared automation system that will provide the ability for researchers to simultaneously search the collections of the libraries associated with these major museums. The NYARC consortium will also use WebBridge and Electronic Resource Management system from Millennium. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided $669,000 to fund the implementation of the shared automation system for the three libraries.

The Frick Art Reference Library will host and administer the system on behalf of the consortium, which has been an Innovative client since 1987. The Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art will both migrate from Voyager systems. Once implemented, researchers will have the option to search the combined catalog or to search the individual collections. Building on the efficiencies offered by the shared ILS, the members of the consortium will also work toward joint efforts in cataloging, acquisitions, serials management, and licensing of electronic content.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also a founding member of the consortium, but will not participate in the shared ILS. The Metropolitan Museum of Art implemented INNOPAC in 1995 and upgraded to Millennium in 2003. Though part of the NYARC consortium, it will continue to operate its separate Millennium system. The shared system will provide access to 750,000 records, representing a wide variety of materials across the collections of the three museums, including books, serials, exhibition catalogs, photographs, and archival materials.

Strength in Numbers

While both the NYPL and the NYARC contracts highlight Innovative’s expanding business in New York City, they also represent an important trend in library automation: improving services through consolidated search environments. In earlier phases of automation, many library organizations elected to offer separate systems, both out of concerns over whether current hardware and software platforms were appropriate for consolidated implementations and in the interest of creating specialized, collection-specific interfaces. In today’s technological environment, problems of scale have diminished and pressures to gain efficiencies through consolidation and to create more expansive systems prevail. As users become acclimated to searching ever larger bodies of information on the Web, libraries find it less attractive to continue to maintain separate information silos and seek out opportunities to cooperate and consolidate.

–Marshall Breeding
Publication Year:2008
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 28 Number 5
Issue:May 2008
Page(s):1-2
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Libraries: New York Public Library
ISSN:1541-8820
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Record Number:13323
Last Update:2012-12-29 14:06:47
Date Created:2008-06-14 15:59:07