Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Well, Well, Well...(SirsiDynix announces new "Rome" ILS)

1st: Starting with this entry, I'll be crossposting selected blog posts at my blog in the Ning Library 2.0 social network. In addition, I'll be experiementing with posting there as well, as I try to sort out what will work best in that community. If you aren't already a member, join in the fun, and if you ARE a member, feel free to friend me! :-) (My profile picture is me with the rest of my T'ai Chi Class in front of the Pearl tower in Shanghai--I'm the one in the red hat with the goofy jetlagged grin)

2nd: yes, I'm really going to do that job hunting article. It got trumped by breaking news in ILS-land. This email from the folks at SirsiDynix was waiting in my box when I got into work today...

Dear valued SirsiDynix customer,

Later today, SirsiDynix will make an exciting announcement for both our company and the library market. Before the announcement becomes public knowledge and a press release is issued, I wanted to personally share now what the rest of the world will hear shortly – as well as explain to you what it means for customers of SirsiDynix Unicorn, DRA Classic, and MultiLIS integrated library systems.

SirsiDynix will unveil that we are blending the strengths and best features of Unicorn, Horizon/Corinthian, and other solutions to create a new, versatile technology platform to serve 21st-century libraries and consortia. Code-named “Rome,” this platform goes beyond the traditional integrated library system to encompass the full range of technology building blocks for managing library operations and resources, while providing meaningful user experiences to your information consumers.

Rome is built on the architecture of the industry-standard Unicorn Library Management System – with its record of stability, quality, and performance – and will include an impressive set of new solutions created as part of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian development. The first release of Rome will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The target time for the second release is late 2008.

What does this mean to Unicorn, DRA Classic, and MultiLIS customers?

There are several key points you should know:

  • SirsiDynix will continue to maintain and support Unicorn. (Note SirsiDynix’s policy of actively supporting a given product in its current release and two prior releases.)
  • Unicorn GL3.2 and Horizon 8.1/Corinthian will not be released. Instead, the new functionality of both will be incorporated into Rome over time.
  • We will focus our research-and-development efforts on Rome. As a result, Rome will be the platform for all SirsiDynix users in the future.
  • However, Rome will offer a host of features and benefits developed for Unicorn, and the Unicorn architecture is at the heart of the new platform. When upgrading from Unicorn to Rome, current Unicorn users will find Rome to be very familiar, therefore requiring little or no additional training or other upgrade services.

Here are the upgrade or migration paths for Unicorn, DRA Classic, and MultiLIS customers:

  • Customers on Unicorn GL3.1 or earlier can upgrade to Rome using the same criteria as in the past.
  • Customers not already on Unicorn GL3.1 should proceed to this latest Unicorn release, as it will provide for an easy upgrade to the Rome platform. After Unicorn GL3.1, the next major upgrade for Unicorn sites will be Rome.
  • DRA Classic and MultiLIS sites have the immediate option to migrate to Unicorn GL3.1. Otherwise, they can follow the path to Rome in the coming months. (Note that SirsiDynix has announced DRA Classic’s end of life, with support for this legacy product ending on February 28, 2009. Previously, SirsiDynix announced end of life for MultiLIS, with support ending on June 30, 2007.)

The upcoming press release will offer more information about the major features and benefits of Rome. I cannot stress enough that this new technology platform will provide the “best of both worlds” – the stability you require and the features you need.

As always, if you have questions about your particular case, please contact your SirsiDynix account representative.


Talin Bingham

Chief Technology Officer


Note: the press release has since been put out on the sirsi website, click here to read.

Can't say I'm surprised, anyone with a brain knew that they were going to merge Unicorn and Horizon, economies of scale being the whole point of the SirsiDynix merger. From an unashamedly selfish standpoint I'm glad "Rome" is being built on the basic Unicorn framework--we're just getting used to this interface, and I was not relishing the idea of having to relearn our ILS in a year. I'm not acquainted with either platform well enough to venture an opinion on whether they picked the "right" horse. I am intrigued to see how (if at all) SirsiDynix responds to the 2.0 paradigm with Rome's features, and while some of the statements in the press release sound intriguing/promising, we haven't even seen screenshots or a features list, and the PR-speak could really mean pretty much anything. For where we are right now as an institution, a proprietary ILS is the best route for us at the moment (I like the recent description I heard of OA as "free as in puppies"), and it gives us the flexibility for the projects and needs that we have right now. Will it still be a good fit in a year? we'll have to wait and see.