Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

SirsiDynix in court

As I’m no longer a SirsiDynix customer I’ve avoided thus far any comment on matters Horizon/Unicorn/Symphony. However a lawsuit has arisen in the US which could have interesting implications worldwide, so I’ve broken my own rule.

My reading of the situation is thus: the Queens Borough Public Library in New York needed a new ILS and after an exhaustive evaluation in 2005 of what was currently available and promised, they chose Horizon 8.0. Of course, as we all know Horizon 8.0 was aborted, and Sirsi ‘merged’ with Dynix to form SirsiDynix. They changed product direction, stopped development work on the Horizon platform and instead pushed a ‘new’ system called Symphony, based heavily on Sirsi Unicorn. For a number of reasons, Queens Borough has found Symphony unsuitable for their needs and so has chosen to go to the law courts as they felt the company wasn’t delivering what was promised.

A number of other libraries who were in the same position took other routes: some adopted Symphony and several others abandoned SirsiDynix entirely and went to other LMS vendors.  I believe there are other libraries who still haven’t made a decision. Full details of the complaint are on the invaluable LibraryTechnology site here.

The implications are interesting.

  • For it to get to court must mean that Queens Borough and SD were unable to come to agreement, which is serious in view of the expense of legal procedure.
  • PR-wise it extends the bad press that SD got from its development path volte-face and stops it becoming old news. This in turn hinders sales as potential customers might prefer not to buy from a company facing complaints from existing customers in court.
  • If successfull it also means that SD could face other similar claims from other customers.

Shareholders in SirsiDynix’s parent company will not be happy…..

October 6, 2009 - Posted by | Libraries | , ,


  1. I was trying to find an official comment/statement from SirsiDynix but have been unsuccessful so far. Do you know if there has been any attempt to an official response?

    Comment by Daniela Matei | October 7, 2009

  2. I’ve not found anything published, but as I’m no longer a customer I may be missing something. Any SD customers care to comment?

    Comment by Ian | October 8, 2009

  3. To our valued customers,

    I feel it is important that our customers understand our position on the matter between Queens Borough Public Library and SirsiDynix.

    Although the Queens Borough Public Library has not been a SirsiDynix customer in over a year since migrating from their DRA Classic system, we continue to work with the Library to resolve lingering issues. For obvious reasons, we cannot provide details regarding the allegations in the legal complaint.

    SirsiDynix is committed to each and every one of our worldwide customers’ success. We continue to invest in our Horizon and Symphony platforms, adding industry-leading features such as virtualization, iPhone apps, and outstanding user search and discovery tools. We appreciate your trust and continued business, and we value our relationship with you. We are working hard to make SirsiDynix the best ILS company in the business, and if there is anything we can improve to help you be more successful, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


    Gary Rautenstrauch

    Chief Executive Officer

    Comment by unknown | October 14, 2009

  4. I think it’s to SirsiDynix’s credit that they are obviously responding to customer (and ex customer!) concerns – especially Gary Rautenstrauch the CEO. I’ll be interested to see how this one pans out.

    Comment by Ian | October 14, 2009

  5. We use Sirsi for our catalogue. I have to say, after using two other cataloguing systems, this is the absolute worse system I have used. It is the antithesis of user friendly. All of the recent upgrades have failed in one way or another. The customer service, bless them, try hard, but are stuck with unworkable system. I don’t understand how they have managed to have so much market control. We have had a problem with our authority files for over 3 months now, and it has not been resolved. Who takes 3 months to solve one problem?

    Comment by Renae Mecha | February 24, 2010

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