Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

The grandeur that was Rome….

A few days after the announcement and the Horizon users are still trying to come to terms with it. Some people have compared it to the death of a close friend and a rather odd bunch are trying to put it to song (the difference between the UK and US psyche never ceases to surprise me…..!).

A number of contacts have reported that they are being cold-called by sales reps from other LMS companies, which is only to be expected. VTLS has rather coincidentally just issued an interesting low-cost offer in the US. I would expect that SirsiDynix is going to lose some customers – the number and proportion of these is the question. I’ll certainly be looking seriously at whether I should persuade my librarian to issue a Request for Proposals. Just as one example, I understand that Rome doesn’t have EDIFACT ordering, which would cause serious problems for us as we’ve been doing this through Horizon for about 4 years now and don’t want to go back to old less flexible and staff-intensive ways….

There has been considerable interest in the open-source alternatives. Koha and Evergreen are on the face of it very attractive – if the system doesn’t do what you want just go ahead and write it! In practise of course most libraries don’t have someone who could write it – their support needs are heavier and in reality are what the LMS suppliers have been making their money from. But there are firms who will support these systems to the extent you want, which sounds very attractive.

The other theme coming out is general frustration with the lack of functionality in most LMS. After all Google has had a ‘Did you mean?’ function for years, but as far as I know this isn’t a feature of any LMS at the moment. Horizon 8 has foundered by being too expensive to develop, but it would have been the most advanced LMS on the market and possibly the first to offer this kind of functionality. Maybe the LMS suppliers don’t appreciate that our students need this? How will we convince them? Is it up to us to go for open-source and add this ourselves?


March 17, 2007 - Posted by | Libraries


  1. Not only no EDIFACT, but (according to Jim Wilson) no plans to add it to Rome. I think his phrase was “it is something SirsiDynix may consider adding to a future release”, which kind of implies that they won’t!

    Comment by Dave Pattern | March 18, 2007

  2. While OSS ILS programs aren’t as easy to run as a program that you pay outrageous support for, the savings you have in not paying that outrageous support will allow you to spend money on some of the improvements you would like to see.

    I have a local web hosting company host my Koha installation. I migrated the data over to Koha. Now instead of paying 4500.00 a year for service and support, I will spend a part of that budget paying for upgrades that I would like. The important part to me is that when I finish paying for the upgrades, they are open for everyone to use.

    This did take a lot of work on my part, but now that I have learned the process I am willing to help anyone that wants my help. Here in the US we have two school districts that have gone with KOHA district wide and more that are looking at it in one or two schools. It is my hope that more districts move up to it so we can make the changes that make it more student friendly.

    Good luck with your blog. I enjoy what I have read here and am responding in part to your comment that you didn’t know more people were reading it. I have subscribed and hopefully more will in the future.

    Comment by Darla Grediagin | March 20, 2007

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