SirsiDynix to Consolidate Products on New Platform

Paula J. Hane points to This Announcement over at Info Today on a big move by SirsiDynix. SirsiDynix (which was recently acquired by San Francisco-based Vista Equity Partners), has announced a major consolidation of its core products in a new technology platform that the company said builds upon the best features of each. The single platform, code-named "Rome" and based largely on the Unicorn system, will allow the company to focus its development efforts and implement changes in a more timely way. While SirsiDynix clearly hopes its new offering will prove compelling to its customers and disruptive to competitors, it is clear that the company's library customers now face a tough and disruptive decision: migrate to Rome, stay with existing products that will no longer be developed, or opt for an alternative product. [Maybe like something from liblime.com].
Update: 03/27 11:11 GMT by B :A couple interesting comments have popped up worth reading on this one, Anonymous Patron says Open Source doesn't have the features to match proprietary, Josh Ferraro responds with "features that librarians want, they aren't forced upgrades being pushed out by a vendor. The role of the vendor in OSS is that of facilitator, and many libraries find that to be a refreshing difference." Josh is President of Liblime.
Do Open Source systems have the features libraries need?

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little late

Not a very good summary, you can do better. Think Unicorn backend, new middleware, and Horizon interfaces on top.Sirsi and Dynix lists have been abuzz about this for a few weeks now. Even has spilled over to the OSS offering lists. The sad thing here is everyone is looking at OSS now but the offerings that our out there Evergreen and Koha just don't have the feature set. Sure the argument is this will force that but no one seems to realize replicating in OSS will not make this stuff take hold. Lots of sysadmins commenting but no one who appears to have decision making authority is commenting.My guess most will stay put until the bitter end. I figure we are talking a toss up of maybe 200 sites looking to switch. The academics will go with III, Endeavor/ExLibris. The publics will go with Polaris or TLC, if they were wealthy they would already be on III. A few will look at Koha/Evergreen but they aren't suitable for academics and not many publics will have a programmer on staff. Want to make maintenance to an ILS vendor look reasonable talk personel costs. I think Andrew Pace will ultimately be proven clueless on his blog entry.This will be huge 200 sites in tossup for a good year of 50 sales opens lots of possibilities. The real question who ends up buying SirsiDynix after Vista puts it up? My guess Ebsco. They have wanted an ILS for some time but notorious cheapness keeps them out of the market. However a customer base like SD might make them anty up.Cheers

Unicorn?

Am I correct in thinking that this Rome silliness does not really effect current Unicorn users?

Re:Unicorn?

Sort of. Once a library upgrades to Unicorn 3.1, that's their last Unicorn release. Next release after that will be to Rome, which will be based on the Unicorn platform, but will start incorporating the best of both Unicorn/Horizon worlds. Or so they say.

Re:little late

What do you make of this?

http://www.librarytechnology.org/fulldisplay.pl?SI D=20060118203887939&UID=&RC=12463&code=PR&Row=7

I think both you, and SD management/ownership have underestimated the following:

a. the frustration that many within their client base will feel at this move. There have been many promises broken relative to what is 'right around the corner'. Literally hundreds of libraries have been waiting to make the move to 8.x based on what they were 'sold'. Now, nothing! Really. Unicorn is 20 years old.

b. the sophistication of the OSS alternatives. True, Evergreen does not have everything needed today. But, if three guys in Georgia can create what is running all those libraries. . . within 3 years. . . . . sorry, but I think the game has changed. Why pay through the nose for antiquated, commodity technology?

End the end of life cycle

Blake's post highlights a problem with proprietary software and business models: the customer is beholden to the vendor if they decide to 'end of life' the product. One major appeal of an Open Source offering is that it's vendor-independent; the platform can be supported by any number of providors, who compete on services. The result is, if your vendor stops providing support to your OSS software, or you're not happy with their support, you don't need to stop using it and switch to something new ... you can just find someone else to support the software.

Regarding Annonymous Patron's claims that Koha and Evergreen don't have the feature set, I'd love to hear what he/she is referring to. The features I've seen emerging from the OSS ILSes are light years ahead of anything happening in the proprietary space; further, they are being driven by specifications of the libraries themselves ... if you want it to work a certain way, software designers can build it that way! It's really quite a simple fact: programmers are a commodity resource.

Just as an example, take a look at the Koha ZOOM system currently offered by LibLime. I've yet to see a search engine capable of ranking as relevantly as Koha. Two examples:

How many ILSes can find Oprah's magazine titled 'O' ... only one that I know of:

http://opac.smfpl.org/search?q=O

How about Grey Macy's album titled 'the':

http://search.athenscounty.lib.oh.us/search?q=the

While you're there, notice the native support for RSS feeds and the autodiscovery built in; Open Search support right out of the box, amazon bibliographic enhancement, sort by options, including popularly.

One more feature worth noting: the 'limit to currently available items', currently, as far as I know, Koha ZOOM is the only ILS capable of doing this in real time ... that is, the index is incrementally updated concurrently with circulation, so the limits are accurate ... this is in contrast with similar features offered by Endeca and Aquabrowser that rely on a nightly batch process to update the index (status info is a day old ... bah!).

Anyway, the point is, these are features that librarians want, they aren't forced upgrades being pushed out by a vendor. The role of the vendor in OSS is that of facilitator, and many libraries find that to be a refreshing difference.

Sirsi and new stuff

What chaps me about SD is that whenever they have updates or major changes you don't know squat about them before they show up at your library. Few demos, screenshots, details, etc. Just marketing bullshit and a paragraph quote from a EVP.Yutzes.

Re:End the end of life cycle

Regarding Annonymous Patron's claims that Koha and Evergreen don't have the feature set, I'd love to hear what he/she is referring to. The features I've seen emerging from the OSS ILSes are light years ahead of anything happening in the proprietary space; further, they are being driven by specifications of the libraries themselves ... if you want it to work a certain way, software designers can build it that way! It's really quite a simple fact: programmers are a commodity resource.

Josh, I honestly am not so familiar with Koha, and was incorrect to lump Evergreen and Koha together. My apologies.
When it comes to missing functionality in Evergreen, I refer mainly to the lack of Acquistions and Serials management tools/interfaces. I am interested to hear your perspective on the need, or perceived need for these tools.

Re:little late

Thats a pilot project being forced due to a political situation. Not an announcement of intent to buy.

Re:End the end of life cycle

So your argument is based on a search function that is unavailable unless purchased through LibLime? Endeca and Aqua are standalones that would easily handle that with a SIP connection. As for finding odd titles using single letters, stop words, and boolean operators then I believe exact title search will accomplish that in many ILS's.

Re:End the end of life cycle

Just to clarify,The feature is all in cvs, downloadable and installable by anyone. Its not only available via purchase from Liblime.It will also be in the version 3 release of Koha coming up soon, for those who dont have the time/skills to get it running from the cvs checkout.

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