Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gifts that our librarians hope to receive this year

Posted by Mark Maslowski In the past, buying a gift for a librarian meant going to a store and picking something off a shelf. The gift was waiting there to be found and librarians could use their investigative and interview skills to find it.
In recent years, buying a gift for a librarian has meant going online and ordering something off a digital shelf. The gift was sitting in some warehouse, but librarians could use search strategies and a social network to find it.
Most recently, we have found ourselves buying gifts that only exist as an idea in someone's mind. For example, here are two projects on Kickstarter that stand out as thoughtful gifts for a bibliophile:
The Game of Books: Reward Your Imagination by Aaron Stanton

The project describes itself as a game where every book you read earns you points and rewards. On the surface, this may sound like any book club, or it may make you remember a contest in your elementary school. But this project is different because it’s a take on a role-playing game (RPG) where you develop your "character" by reading books. If "you are what you eat," then this game proves that "you are what you read" and rewards you. If you are familiar with PC or console gaming, then you will know about "achievements," "perks," or "badges" that can be collected for performing tasks that are not essential to the main quest, but which motivate you.
Litographs: Entire Books on Posters and T-shirts by Danny Fein
How would you like to walk around with entire text of the "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "Treasure Island," "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," or "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" on your shirt? This gives circulation a whole new meaning to a librarian. You could hand out shirts to people instead of books! You could send your librarian, wearing one of these shirts, to "hand deliver" the book - loan out your librarians!
Admittedly, the selection of titles may not be relevant to special libraries, but it is the thought that counts.

Check out:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To RDA or not to RDA

Over the last few years there has been much talk about RDA in the library world. As an ILS vendor we are at times approached by our clients with questions about what RDA could mean for them and whether or not they should consider adopting it. For those of you who are curious here is a quick summary of our current and evolving perspective on RDA, what we are doing about it and some helpful links for those who want to learn more.
As you may know, RDA is a content standard that describes how to catalogue, but it is not an encoding standard (e.g. MARC) or display standard (e.g. ISBD), which means that as a vendor there is some interpretation required on our part.
Though SydneyPLUS has sent staff to conferences and we have staff taking workshops on RDA, one challenge we keep facing is that we have yet to see a comprehensive checklist that describes all the features an ILS system needs to have to be RDA ready. The best source we have found so far is the Full Report: Report and Recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee where the Library of Congress does make some recommendations to vendors on how to prepare for RDA (page 23-24).
Upon reviewing the recommendations in the report, however, we find that we are already compliant with RDA. Below is the list of functional capabilities that the report identifies as necessary to be RDA ready along with our answers to them.

1.“Additionally, integrated library systems changes should include… the new MARC tags…”

SydneyPLUS already supports the new MARC tags 336-338 through a configurable MARC Map.

2.“Use of buttons and checkboxes to more easily handle on/off elements.”

SydneyPLUS already developed an optional module called Views Designer that allows clients to create custom record views or screen layouts which include the ability to have checkboxes, radio buttons, etc. Furthermore, the Views Designer also supports field groups that can be expanded or collapsed just like RDA requires.

3.“Future applications where linked entities will only require one change (e.g. …attributes of the creator are only stored in one place)”

SydneyPLUS clients already use linked entities, such as authors, that store all attributes in one place and require only one change. For example, more than one “Book” can link to the same “Author.” A change to the Author is reflected across the whole system where the author is used.

4.“Systems that can ingest metadata in a variety of formats.”

SydneyPLUS has made it possible to import and export data in a variety of formats. For example, we have a module that allows us to import and export CSV and XML with a configurable map.

5.“In the longer term, vendors can be exploring innovative approaches… for exposing RDA data to the Web.”

SydneyPLUS has also made it possible for search engines to crawl its data through the Site Map module exposing RDA data to the Web. In addition, we also have integration with SharePoint which provides even further exposure.

6.“One of RDA’s goals is to be readily adaptable to newly emerging database structures...”

SydneyPLUS is readily adaptable to new emerging database structures through its kmBuilder technology. SydneyPLUS was one of the first ILS systems to support a relational database and we remain one of the only systems to allow clients to be able to modify the database dynamically through a simple user interface. SydneyPLUS kmBuilder easily allows us to create fields and change field names to support changes from AACR2R to RDA.

In general, because the RDA standard itself requires interpretation and because of the customizable nature of SydneyPLUS, we see that the steps needed to implement RDA will vary from client to client. Take the example of MARC records. If a library imports or exports to MARC or uses Z39.50, then it will need to modify MARC Mapping tables and create new fields to take advantage of the data for RDA’s new MARC tags 336, 337, 338. This however will only apply to those libraries using MARC. In another example, since SydneyPLUS libraries are able to customize different field sizes to suit their unique needs, field sizes can vary from client to client. As a result, some clients may need to increase their field sizes to accommodate RDA data requirements. Though such issues are not large, they should be reviewed before proceeding with an RDA implementation.

When deciding whether or not to adopt RDA, librarians should carefully consider the costs versus the benefits of the standard for their own libraries and ensure that it’s in line with their supporting organization’s strategic plans for the future. In the meantime, we feel we are ready to support the implementation of RDA with any client approaching us to do so. One last thought is that in SydneyPLUS both AACR2R records and RDA records can coexist. This means that for those libraries that would like to experiment and evaluate before considering full fledged adoption, it is entirely possible to do so.

Of course, as a vendor we would love to hear from those of you who are considering RDA. Questions that come to mind are:

1.Does your library have a specific question about RDA to us?

2.When does your library intend to adopt it?

3.How is your library preparing its staff to implement RDA?

4.What benefit does your library see to implementing RDA?

We look forward to your responses. Send your emails to

Here are some resources we hope will help if you want to learn more about RDA.

- RDA Toolkit (free trial):

- Library of Congress:

- MARS Authority Control:

Monday, May 14, 2012

SydneyPLUS at MLA 2012

Once again SydneyPLUS is heading off to the MLA conference May 18–23 - this year in Seattle.

Themed “Growing Opportunities: Changing Our Game”, the association urges members to focus on the challenges, successes, and trends in “Growing Opportunities” and offers members the flexibility to examine the convergence of these game changing opportunities with the need for maintaining sustainability.

SydneyPLUS also helps medical librarians leverage new “game changing” technologies to grow new opportunities in supporting their organization’s business success. Some of the new SydneyPLUS technologies that can change your game are,
• SharePoint integration - solutions that deliver seamless access to valued content.
• SaaS - technologies that dramatically reduce the operational costs of libraries.
• E-Content - management solutions that empower users to always find what matters to them.
• Mobile support - solutions for iPad, iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

We hope that visitors will join us at booth #227 for a demonstration of the latest SydneyPLUS solutions and discuss with our staff how they can help you achieve your library’s business goals, answer your questions and listen to your comments. For further information on SydneyPLUS or its affiliates CuadraSTAR, Inmagic or LookUP Precision, phone 604 278 6717 or email with your questions

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What does teaming up with SydneyPLUS mean to Inmagic users in the UK?

SydneyPLUS just announced it has partnered with Inmagic to deploy local support services to UK based Inmagic clients.

Teaming up with SydneyPLUS last fall has allowed Inmagic to begin expanding the products and services offered to its clients. Historically, Inmagic delivered software and services in the UK through its resellers and partners. Moving away from this approach, in February it setup shop in the SydneyPLUS UK branch offices and began to deliver free library and technical support to all local Inmagic users – a benefit that was greatly appreciated given the number of inbound calls received.

Delivering local support in the UK is one of a number of benefits to come out of the SydneyPLUS Inmagic partnership and users can also expect to feel the SydneyPLUS difference in other ways. Already the teams working on DB/Text, Genie and Presto have been expanded to accelerate the development of new features. With this newly gained momentum, Inmagic has just released the new DB/Text for SQL v13 and also committed to shortly releasing both Genie v3.5 and Presto v3.9 as well as new DB/TextWorks and WebPublisher service packs.

Aside from Inmagic, other KM companies such as CuadraSTAR, Questor Systems, and LookUP Precision are also receiving the benefits of being affiliated with SydneyPLUS. The ability to go to a single vendor capable of meeting all of one’s KM needs has an inherent economic and business value that librarians recognize and want.

For Inmagic and its UK library community, being affiliated with SydneyPLUS has clearly opened the door to a greater variety of KM products and cost effective services. For further information about SydneyPLUS or any of its affiliates, email with your questions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Inmagic Joins The SydneyPLUS Group of Companies

SydneyPLUS International, provider of Library KM software and solutions to Fortune 1000 companies, top law firms and government institutions has announced the acquisition of Inmagic's special library business. Inmagic, a pioneer in information management solutions, is known for its large customer base in special libraries, government agencies, commercial organizations, associations, and other non-profits. The library portion of the business includes Inmagic's DB/Text(R) Library Suite of products: DB/TextWorks(R), DB/Text(R) WebPublisher Pro, and Inmagic(R) Genie.

The addition of Inmagic's special library business to SydneyPLUS will extend SydneyPLUS' leadership position in knowledge management and library automation software markets. Phillip Green, former Inmagic, Inc. CTO, will join SydneyPLUS and lead the new division. He will be joined by Inmagic's co-founder Karen Brothers and other core members of Inmagic's special library team of sales, customer support, and engineering staff to form the new SydneyPLUS Inmagic division.

"We are thrilled about joining the SydneyPLUS family," said Phillip Green. "We share a commitment to long-term healthy and productive relationships with customers. We look forward to exploiting the synergies of our combined organizations to accelerate development, enhance customer service, and continue delivering world-class products to our global customer base."

"We at SydneyPLUS welcome everyone in the DB/Text and Genie communities to the SydneyPLUS family. Having our combined customer bases under one roof has been a long-time goal of mine," stated Ron Aspe, President of SydneyPLUS. "Inmagic and SydneyPLUS have long served similar markets, and I believe the combined expertise of both our companies will yield compelling solutions that will bring opportunity, innovation, and more choice to all."

The new Inmagic will continue to protect and reward its customers' investment in Inmagic products by adding new features and capabilities, as well as new applications. SydneyPLUS and its new Inmagic division remain dedicated to maintaining and increasing the qualities that their customers have come to expect--technical innovation, exceptional service, ease of use, outstanding reliability, and a lifelong reputation for integrity.

As part of this transaction, SydneyPLUS acquired the Inmagic trademark, which is strongly associated with the special library market. However, Inmagic, Inc. retains and will continue to market and sell its award-winning Presto technology and its products, Presto KnowledgeNet, Presto AssociatioNet, and Presto IdeaNet. Inmagic, Inc. will continue to use the Inmagic name until such time as a new company name is established.

Additionally, the companies are announcing a strategic partnership to co-market and support Inmagic's Presto for Social Libraries which is a Social Knowledge Network (SKN) application that integrates library workflow with knowledge-based content and the "wisdom of the community" to create a "Library 2.0" environment to support the research and business objectives of organizations.

"This is an extremely positive outcome for Inmagic's large base of library customers and business partners around the world," said Ron Matros, CEO of Inmagic, Inc. "SydneyPLUS has a long and successful history in the special library and knowledge management market and is a great home for Inmagic's library solutions business." For more information about Inmagic, visit

The SydneyPLUS Group of companies also includes, Incite Software Solutions, LawPort, Cuadra Associates, Inc, Questor Systems and Lookup Precision.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SydneyPLUS Continues to Expand and Seeks Knowledge Management Consultant

SydneyPLUS International is expanding and wants to hire a Knowledge Management Consultant. And the job title reflects your many responsibilities here!


As a librarian you know that the ultimate aim of our profession is to put the right information into the hands of the people when they need it. This is what SydneyPLUS KM software does. With our software you can play an integral part in the KM success of many of today’s top companies.

Working alongside our team of expert KM librarians you, as SydneyPLUS Knowledge Management Consultant, will be responsible for interviewing, researching and gaining a full understanding of client specific KM problems and then utilizing your creativity, ingenuity and in-depth understanding of our in-house software solutions will design, implement and roll out custom KM solutions. Leveraging your solutions within their organization, your clients will be able to maximize efficiency, help reduce costs and offer seamless enterprise access to their knowledge resources. Candidates must also be able to carry out sales and training support. These include,

  • Conduct product demonstrations and customer training sessions on all SydneyPLUS products and capabilities

  • Work with Sales and Marketing team to prepare and deliver unique software solution demonstrations

  • Consult with and advise customers on training and implementation process issues

  • Work with in-house team and managers to resolve problems

  • Stay abreast of SydneyPLUS product development and the Knowledge Management Industry

  • Always be learning

You have an MLIS degree, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, can work effectively with a variety of people in a variety of situations and possess a commitment to superior customer service. International travel required.
Salary commensurate with capabilities.
Your resume and accompanying letter can be sent on-line to or Faxed to 604-278 9161.
We thank all candidates for their applications; however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ALA launches the S+ CE module

ALA recently launched the SydneyPLUS Continuing Education (CE) module to further the professional development of its staff. The following post is derived from the December 2010 SydneyPLUS Client NewsLetter article available from the SydneyPLUS website.

Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the American Library Association was created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

ALA succeeded in making it easier for the presenter and attendees to manage registrations. Described by ALA as “intuitive,” the SydneyPLUS CE module allows staff to register for courses through a “single click workflow,” which generates an e-mail confirming the registration to staff, along with notification by e-mail to the presenter of the number of seats left.

The SydneyPLUS CE module automatically manages a wait list on behalf of the presenter. As the number of registrations exceeds the number of seats available in the class, participants are wait-listed in order of registration. Any cancellation by a registrant frees up a space and the next person on the wait-list is enrolled and notified by e-mail.

SydneyPLUS provides more than a library system to ALA in that the SydneyPLUS Information Manager is used as the organization’s internal Knowledge Management System. SydneyPLUS CE is the latest initiative, which joins these other projects:

  • SydneyPLUS Calling Tree (i.e. a hierarchical representation of staff used to ensure proper communication of important news throughout the organization)
  • SydneyPLUS Expertise Management (i.e. staff can describe their expertise and skills to ensure the organization makes best use of them)
  • SydneyPLUS Virtual Reference (i.e. a virtual reference desk that automatically routes requests to experts in the organization)

How has ALA accomplished so much using SydneyPLUS? The secret to the successful partnership has been to invest in training, consultation, and even more training. In the last four years ALA has trained five times with SydneyPLUS: three times at SydneyPLUS headquarters and twice onsite at ALA.