Magazine article Information Today

User Ratings of UNIX-Based IOLS Software

Magazine article Information Today

User Ratings of UNIX-Based IOLS Software

Article excerpt

Librarians were asked to rate Unix-based integrated online library automation system (IOLS) software. The ratings are shown on the following charts. The categories surveyed were:

* Documentation--the written and online documentation for the software

* Service/support--often this is in the form of telephone or e-mail support

* Training--formal classes in the use of the product

* Product reliability--amount of downtime due to IOLS software problems

* Product capabilities--features and functions available

* Ease of use--how quickly users can succeed with using the system

* Vendor's integrity--were the contracts negotiated honored; were promises kept?

* Overall satisfaction--all in all, how much do you like this software?

Survey methodology:

The announcement of the survey was included in Information Today, (June 1994, p. 52). An invitation to participate was also submitted to the following Internet listservs: PACS-L, MLA-L, LIBREF-L, ELDNET-L, BUSLIB-L, BIBSOFT, and ARLIS-L, MULTILIS, VTLSLIST, ADVANC-L, and INNOPAC.

A letter was mailed to each of the UNIX IOLS vendors: Geac's Advance and Libs100Plus, OCLC's BASISPlus and TechlibPlus, BRS's BRS Search C, Dynix's Dynix and Dynix Marquis, Georgetown University, IME's Information Navigator, Innovative Interfaces' Innopac, NTIS's Integrated Library System, Keystone's KLAS, Sobeco's MultiLIS, Personal Library Software's Personal Librarian, Cuadra's STAR, International Library Systems' SydneyPlus, Sirsi's Unicorn and STILAS, MARCorp's Voyager, and VTLS. The letter included a copy of the survey and urged each of the vendors to encourage their clients to participate.



A total of 80 responses were received.

Here's the data. Numbers in parentheses refer to the total number of individuals selecting this response.


Standard deviation was calculated only for those charts which included more than 10 respondents. All comments and charts included in this article are from surveys received during July and August 1994.


Advance began in 1984 as ALOHA, an IOLS running on the Pick operating system. It was created by ALI'I, a Hawaii based company. By 1993 Geac acquired the package, migrated it to the UNIX operating system, and changed the software name to Advance. There are 75 installed sites.

Cibbarelli's surveyed all Advance sites in 1993. The results were considerably higher in most categories for that survey:


Advance Respondents Comments:

Frances F. Stumpf, St. Charles County Community College (MO), uses Geac Advance on a Data General Aviion for an IOLS system which was installed in 1992. She comments, "I would recommend this product to others. Geac is trying to upgrade both documentation and customer support. Geac Advance has a very dynamic Users Group."

A respondent who asked to remain anonymous has been using the software for four years. [I would recommend this system] ... "only if there is a significant improvement in the (U.S.) vendor support! I have heard from users in Europe that the support there is significantly better and has resulted in more satisfaction within their libraries.

"Every year for the past 4 years Geac has moved their support for Geac Advance from Seattle to Dallas to Boston and, now, to Toronto. Each time they say that this will be an improvement for US (this has NOT turned out to be the case in the past) and there is always a period of "adjustment" that takes several months as the new location has to learn the new Geac Advance system and what kind of configurations the various sites have.

"[For] vendor support...we have to call an 800 number and then get a response number and wait for a call back. Since they are located on the East Coast, there is little support after 3pm West Coast time (our library is open until 10 pm). …

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