Polaris Library Systems announced that its new version 3.3 of the Polaris Integrated Library System is in production and the company is working with several beta test libraries, including Pierce County Library System, Washington, and Fayetteville Public Library, Arkansas. John Richardson, director, library partnerships at Polaris kindly provided a demo for me of some of the new features—at their booth #118. He claims the new engine addresses many of the issues raised by Karen Schneider’s “OPACs Suck” posts.
He said the company worked for more than 2 years on developing a brand new search engine. In fact, they rewrote the entire engine using Microsoft .NET architecture. New features include a “did you mean?” functionality (using an open source dictionary), relevancy ranking (using tag weighting), and faceted search capabilities (similar to what Endeca offers) for helping users to narrow and refine searches. It also uses AJAX technology to eliminate pop-up windows.
There’s lots more to tell, so stop by the booth if you’d like to see it. Also, Mike McKenney, the ILS software engineer of Pierce County is giving a Cybertour presentation 11:30-11:45 AM on Wed. He’ll discuss how the library integrated the new Polaris engine into an existing content management system. Polaris also plans to offer some Webinars in early May—check their Web site.
News Bureau Chief, ITI