SirsiDynix launched two new products at the ALA Midwinter conference: the SirsiDynix Social Library and eResource Central. These products continue the company's efforts to create forward-looking products and technologies surrounding its ILS products.
A native Facebook application, the SirsiDynix Social Library allows a library to offer a full-featured online catalog directly through its Facebook page. The SirsiDynix Social Library is the first full-featured library catalog that has been created completely within an external social network like Facebook. This product enables libraries to reach out to users who are engaged with Facebook directly in that medium without having to visit the library's Web site.
Some of the features available in this initial release of the SirsiDynix Social Library include the ability to search the library's collection, place requests, rate items, and offer comments. Once a library has activated the SirsiDynix Social Library on its Facebook page, any Facebook user can click on the Library Search option to find materials in the library's catalog. The catalog search includes the expected features, such as basic bibliographic descriptions, cover art, format icons, and the ability to view more details by clicking on an image or link for a given item. Users can also place a hold on an item, cancel or update existing holds, view their account details, renew currently charged items, and pay fines using PayPal.
SirsiDynix reports that over 40 libraries have licensed the SirsiDynix Social Library as of January 2012. Early adopters include the Boise Public Library in Idaho and Brunel University in the United Kingdom.
The SirsiDynix Social Library sets up a communications layer between the Facebook platform and the library's own instance of Symphony or Horizon. The communications take place between the Web Services add-on that can optionally be layered onto either of SirsiDynix's ILS products.
An important element of the recent direction of product development at SirsiDynix is the creation of a new communications layer for its ILS products that serves as the foundation for subsequent strategic products. Branded as Web Services, this product introduces a modern communications layer based on current interoperability methods to ILS's that predate this expectation. It also allows SirsiDynix to create new add-on products addressing Web Services that then work with both of its core ILS offerings. Web Services was made available for Symphony in early 2010 and for Horizon in March 2011. This product enables a set of application programming interfaces (APIs), following what has become a well-established method called Web services (REST or SOAP), which make a subset of the functionality of the underlying ILS available to external systems.
The Web Services package consists of several components, including Standard Services, which provide access to the library's bibliographic database and item data to allow an external system to perform search operations. It also includes Security Services that allow external systems to authenticate a user based on the ILS login credentials and Patron Services that provide access to user accounts for operations such as renewals, placing holds, or updating account details. Finally, Admin Services allows access to system policies or other system configuration data.
BookMyne, the SirsiDynix mobile application, relies on the installation of the Web Services layer in conjunction with the library's instance of Symphony or Horizon. In December 2011, the company released version BookMyne 3.0 with support for Android-based smartphones in addition to the original iPhone offering. With this release, SirsiDynix introduced an enhanced product called BookMyne+ that gives libraries the ability to implement local branding and customizations. It also provides the ability to integrate additional data sources beyond that of their ILS, and to create push notifications and alerts. While BookMyne can be used by any library that has implemented the SirsiDynix Web Services, BookMyne+ will be offered as an added-cost product.
Project eResource Central
SirsiDynix also reports ongoing development of Project eResource Central, a new electronic resource management product it expects to release in the second quarter of 2012. Although full details of the product have not yet been announced, eResource Central will include end-user functionality to provide more seamless access to e-books, digitized materials, and subscribed e-journals as well as tools to aid library personnel in managing these resources. eResource Central aims to allow users to access or download electronic materials in a single click instead of some of the complex tasks required in current environments. Some of the features to help staff manage these electronic resources will include tools to help maintain related metadata in MARC and other formats, workflows to help with the acquisition of new resources, and extending circulation reports to also include the use of electronic materials.
eResource Central will be offered through the software as a service model, with the metadata associated with the library's e-resource collections loaded and indexed in the cloud environment managed by SirsiDynix. This approach builds on the momentum that the company has seen with its existing products toward hosted arrangements. SirsiDynix reports that it currently provides hosting for over 750 of its client libraries.