Library Technology Guides

Documents, Databases, News, and Commentary

Statistical Report for Symphony (Unicorn)

2009 Survey Results 2008 Survey Results 2007 Survey Results
Product: Symphony (Unicorn) Response Distribution Statistics
CategoryResponses 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ModeMeanMedian
ILS Satisfaction304 3 5 6 9 16 62 56 96 44 7 76.066
Company Satisfaction303 5 9 27 23 22 56 48 79 29 5 75.346
Support Satisfaction303 3 12 30 23 17 54 45 66 41 12 75.446
Support Improvement292 7 11 19 29 23 89 35 39 30 10 55.095
Company Loyalty301 32 14 12 14 23 67 31 49 43 16 55.065
Open Source Interest300 53 34 26 25 30 40 25 20 23 24 03.904

Considering new ILS310 4915.81%
Considering new Interface310 8527.42%
System Installed on time?310 26083.87%
Product: Unicorn Response Distribution Statistics
CategoryResponses 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ModeMeanMedian
ILS Satisfaction233 4 7 11 19 16 35 37 64 32 8 75.686
Company Satisfaction234 9 9 16 31 28 23 43 43 26 6 65.056
Support Satisfaction233 12 14 23 18 21 36 39 38 23 9 64.915
Support Improvement0 not applicable
Company Loyalty233 21 13 19 18 17 36 20 43 34 12 74.955
Open Source Interest231 36 23 21 24 17 37 12 23 16 22 54.114

Considering new ILS234 5423.08%
Considering new Interface234 6929.49%
System Installed on time?234 21491.45%
Product: Unicorn Response Distribution Statistics
CategoryResponses 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ModeMeanMedian
ILS Satisfaction200 4 1 5 10 6 23 29 64 43 15 76.417
Company Satisfaction284 5 8 20 23 27 43 47 61 38 12 75.506
Support Satisfaction282 6 10 13 27 37 33 42 64 34 16 75.486
Support Improvement0 not applicable
Company Loyalty279 25 10 12 9 16 59 31 42 36 39 55.526
Open Source Interest281 54 41 36 32 17 36 21 14 9 21 03.353

Considering new ILS288 4214.58%
Considering new Interface288 6020.83%
System Installed on time?288 10.35%


BiblioCommons looks great (and in fact VuFind etc) but our key need now is integrating resources for discovery hence requiring an interface searching OPAC, licensed e-resources, and free web resources, which primarily Enterprise offers. We wish there were an open source resource discovery tool that included connectors for federated search products already in place, as the proprietary ones aren't perfect and we do like customisation.

We will be watching the open source environment very carefully and assessing the situation when we are ready to go to market

The company has been going in a completely new and unsatisfactory direction. It is not responsive to the library community and its needs.

We feel our present ILS is sub standard, having been modernized by slapping new code over very old. The vendor has a very poor customer service model. Library staff is very motivated to go to an open source ILS where we will have more control, and the software will be more stable.

we are in the process of hiring a visiting professor for the integrated library system (contract, 3 year) to determine the future of the ILS at our library with a particular interest in open source or other solutions that would reduce maintenance costs

Our most recent ILS implementation was over 20 years ago, and almost no staff is still here from that period, so another option for that question (Unknown, N/A, Too Long ago to remember, etc) would be appropriate.

Sirsi charges exorbitant fees for SIP2 licenses and any custom changes we need. The price for SIP2, which costs them nothing is at least $2,000 plus $400 yearly maintenance. They will not allow EZproxy to be used with their system.

We would likely consider an open source ILS, if and when they become more fully functional, e.g. offer more robust reporting, automated notice phone calling, better acquisitions modules, etc...

We have joined the [...], and went live yesterday 5 November 2009. Migration to Symphony went very smoothly. Support from SirsiDynix staff was excellent. New modules (Director's Station and Enterprise) are new to us but very much anticipated.

Coming from outside "LibraryWorld", I find the support and services provided by suppliers and vendors to libraries generally appalling. The whole industry needs to stand up to vendors and suppliers and tell them to shape up or we will go elsewhere or do it ourselves! Even this survey tends to perpetuate the issues - I don't want good support from a vendor, I want a product that works, that I can control and configure myself, so that I don't need support from them!

Any change in ILS would be in conjunction with development of a state-wide ILS system

Disappointed that Symphony's development plan does not favor our library's interests and needs. Disturbed also by the rising maintenance costs and the fact we get nothing to show for it. No way does our use of their Customer Care justify the yearly charge. (e.g., we are paying for WEB2 support but they basically aren't supporting it anymore.) If we migrate it will be for cost escalation reason more than any other.

[...] plans to implement OLE and a search interface but hopes to implement it as part of VALE, New Jersey's academic consortium of libraries.

Migrated from Horizon to Symphony after RFP process and investigation of alternate vendors. Compelled to switch due to changes announced by SirsiDynix, pressure from local IT Dept., fear of funding loss, and servers near end-of-life.

In the last year we have purchased two add on products from our ILS. In both cases, we were told that the products were in full production. However, neither was ready for prime time. We have not fully implemented either of the products. One, we hope to implement after the upgrade this December. If all goes well with the upgrade, we will have had this product for over a year before we go live with it. The major issue with it was that the search functionality was to limited. Meaning that when you searched for an item or a user and looked at a specific record, there was not way to go back to the search results without starting the search over from scratch. The other product, we have been working on for almost a year as well and are not any where near going live. In fact, we are considering dropping the product because of the complications we have encountered with the implementation. Client Care has always been very helpful and continue to be. It does seem that when new products are released, the company is not taking the time to fully train them before rolling out the new product.

Some staff would be very interested, however, we would have to follow along with the other Circuits in the US, so I don't see this happening. Also, very significant customization would be required for our special needs for acquisitions.

it is not so much with the software (unicorn) that we have issues, but the company has changed a lot and their values and priorities are no longer the ones we appreciated so much in our vendor. I have worked with them for over 10 years and really feel that they are now trying to get their customers' needs to "fit in" their development plans instead of the other way around (which sirsi was pretty good at back in the day)

Considering SaaS option for open source ILS option

Our search interface is our primary problem, as we have a very old version of WebCat. Our most heavily weighted selection criteria are user services, reporting functions and cost.

Our state is in early stages of considering an open source union catalog. We are very interested in this initiative.

Not as oriented to the school setting as they should be

Will try to always be in consoritum for ILS

We just this fall migrated to Symphony but there is talk that in several years we will go to an open source ILS.

We are in the throes of switching from Horizon to Symphony. So far I am underwhelmed by the new product and feel it is a huge step backward in many respects.

We are a small library in a 12 member consrotium. Our support staff at the System is EXCELLENT. They do NOT install upgrades immediately, they wait until bugs are worked out before we move ahead. We are planning for change in the near future and that may mean staying with Sirsi, it may mean going with other vendors. I would like to see us go Open Source because of the anticipated cost savings.

[..] was part of a state-wide investigation of open source ILS. It was determined that open source provided limited functionality, unreliable development (at best) and cost as much or more to maintain in the long term.

[...] is considering moving toward a state wide ILS system, which would be Evergreen. We would become part of the state wide system. They are going to be migrating small rural libraries in the next year to test the system and determine policy. There is a state wide committee in place.

We have been a SirsiDynix customer for many years. They provide very good support through ClientCare, although there are cost involved for upgrades, if we ask Client Care to perform them. We feel our maintenance agreement should cover upgrade installations. Symphony is a stable product; there are enhancements that we hope to see in the next upgrade. For instance, display of titles of items on hold for patrons, and the ability to customize test in dropdown fields when information is standard to our needs.

If we had the funding readily available we would definitely be migrating to a new system asap.

We use the ILS provided by the [...], the online catalog consortium. [...] staff as well as libraries' staffs are very frustrated with the level of service we've received from SirsiDynix, and the service has gotten worse as several "veterans" on our account have jumped ship for other companies. I feel comfortable in stating that the whole library system is ready to move away from SirsiDynix as soon as reasonably possible.

We will start an LMS review in the next year or 2 once the search interface is bedded down.

We're have a contract with Bibliocommons and will go live in 2010.

The "Web 2.0 (library <-> public and public <-> public)" interface is growing critical and no ILS vendors have really addressed this issue.

Rate of increase in software maintenance costs is the only reason we might have to start looking for a new ILS at this time.

Our considerations are just that and are not into any migration or implementation stages. Though Koha has been named above, if something else comes about which helps our faculty and students discover what we've purchased, it, too, will be considered.

we are just getting ramped up for SirsiDynix' Symphony with implementation 1Q 2010; will know more @ end of next year

we are watching the ILS market and the industry's evolution.

need better management tools for eresources

SIRSI Unicorn can be difficult for a small staff to manage. It requires that staff develop expertise, and there is often little time to do that. Important knowledge can be lost with staff turnover, and customer service expects us to use the documentation, which can be difficult for first-timers. Training is too expensive for us to take part in, while the listservs are too technical. It seems that with this system, you need a lot of technical information to get just a little bit of work done.

As a member of a consortial ILS, at our location we have minimal direct contact with vendor's customer support so I can't comment much on that. We are very unlikely to go with an open source ILS independently. However, we would be willing to go that route as part of a larger consortia.

Moved due to the expected demise of Horizon. Still too soon to truly evaluate whether this is better or not, as it has only been a month. What is vastly improved is that we moved from a stand-alone system to being a member of a consortium. Much better support, but from within group rather than through customer care.


We are part of the [...] consortia and much of what we do in terms of automation depends on what happens within the consortia. We depend heavily on the [...] staff without whom we could not operate.

The library is going to experience a large drop in revenues as of July 1 so as little will be spent on technology or anything else as possible. [...] No selection has been made yet. Thank you.

Sirsi Dinix offers a great ILS, it's customizable and easy to use once you have used it for a while.

Re the question on search interfaces, we have purchased and are implementing AquaBrowser.

Most commercial ILS's are very similar. It is the company providing the suport which makes the difference. We are supported by a south African company, UKS. In my opinion their major problem is lack of sufficient staff with the right expertise to provide us with the service we need. We are able to solve most uncomplicated problems by ourselves; it is the complicated ones for which we need help and it is not forthcoming.

SirsiDynix has made strides in improving customer service over the past year, however, it appears that they have lost some experienced people or cut staff, which does affect the quality of their assistance.

Documentation (online and print (.pdf)) is weak. There would be fewer calls to customer support if the documentation was more complete. The company hosted user forum has not been particularly helpful.

We are a member library in L[...] with the [...] and they do all of the front end work with Sirsi so it is difficult for me to answer questions about what I would do as a separate entity.

We have just installed LibraryThing for libraries over our woefully inadequate catalog and are very please with it,

Generally, I find the support better than it was, but it can still take days/weeks to get answers to what I believe are fairly simple questions. What I don't like about SirsiDynix is how we have to vote for which bug we want fixed (they call that the enhancement process).

We are currently without a systems administrator and all upgrades and changes are on hold for the foreseeable future.

We are part of a local consortium and currently do not deal directly with Sirsi. This means our perceptions come through the filter of what the consortium staff think of Sirsi.

[...] University Library finished a one-year long Systems Evaluation Project. The results are as follow. First, Unicorn is not as good as we expect, but we don't see any other perfect ILS worth to spend money and human resource to migrate to. Second, we would like to focus on a new search interface in the next year. Third, as Sirsi's users in China, we are very disppointed with Sirsi's support, especially to the localized features such as CNmarc format, Chinese searching and so on. Fourth, we spent time on the open source ILS for a while, but we don't see that we could afford a long term project on the implementation of an open source ILS.

This thinking is that moving to an open source ILS would require more technical staff than we currently have. Staffing is being cut in many areas of our County, so it is unlikely that we would be able to pursue this until things improve. But it sounds very interesting and perhaps costs could be justified if we saved enough on annual maintenance.

Support has been uneven; occasionally we get a prompt and accurate response, more often the response is delayed and not on point. The user listservs are more useful. SD's fees for consulting have also had a steep increase.

We are not pleased with SirsiDynix's Enterprise product and wish they would produce something more akin to Bibliocommons

Will be migrating soon to Koha using PTFS as our migration service- so far we're very satisfied with PTFS.

The company has had many staff changes which reflects badly and ultimately the client service has suffered so much so that service is now based in UK or US not Australia. The stability of the company is under question however the technology to move forward is promising.

[...] is pleased that SirsiDynix is moving ahead with a number of web services initiatives and involving its strategic partners. We will be taking advantage of those web services to deliver enhanced patron functionality through our new web site & Endeca search interface.

Overall we are satisfied with SirsiDynix as an ILS. The company seems to be getting on an even keel after the merger upheavals and we are glad for the huge user group to belong to as well as participating at a statewide level with many SirsiDynix customers.

Overall Symphony is passable, although it is clearly designed for a multi-branch system rather than a consortium. The lack of attention to details, like the default action when you press Enter, or the default displays, is appalling.

Our primary concern with an Open Source ILS is always adequate support from our vendor. Not to mention the Training that will be necessary when migrating to an new ILS.