New SIRSI Library Server Software Makes the "Virtual Library" a Reality

Article excerpt

Imagine sitting at your desktop computer having over 40 million books and resource documents just a click away. That's exactly what Huntsville, Alabama's SIRSI Corporation has delivered with its new line of library access software: WebCat.

Libraries and patrons now have the potential of tapping the full resources of a library via the most popular online resource in the world. When used in conjunction with a library's existing Z39.50 compliant server and popular Web browser software like Mosaic and Netscape, WebCat turns a library's resources into a full-fledged Web catalog.

WebCat extends the functionality of libraries already using a Z39.50 compliant server or SIRSI's Unicorn/Stilas library automation system software. WebCat will enable libraries and information centers throughout the world to offer their complete catalogs and other services quickly and painlessly over the World Wide Web.

"This new software opens the resources of participating libraries to a large number of new patrons via the Internet using an interface they are already familiar with," notes Jim Young, SIRSI CEO. "WebCat makes it possible for libraries to also serve an increasingly diverse patron base. The age of the virtual library has indeed arrived."

Before WebCat server software existed, it was not possible to provide Web access to a library's complete variety of services. WebCat's hypertext format allows users to jump directly to the services they require, such as the catalog, periodicals, information desk, reserve desk, community services, and user status information. WebCat offers a fully interactive session and all the features of the SIRSI OPAC including forwards/backwards in a hit list, go back, new search, mark, print, e-mail search results, hypertext searching within the catalog, and cross references. …