Integrated Library System Renewal

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Last updated September 27, 2014.

In addition to the general undesirability of supporting multiple systems, the technical platform for Horizon became more expensive and more difficult to support as time went on. The Sybase license required an AIX platform and while that had previously been used extensively by many other university applications, thereby reducing everyone’s annual maintenance, most of those applications migrated to more cost-effective hardware and software. As a result, the Library’s annual maintenance for Sybase doubled. The only other relational database management system supported by Horizon is SQL Server and this was not considered a good choice for the size of the Library’s database or for the environment where we wanted to run it.

Another problem was that the Horizon database was never upgraded to Unicode and this caused an increasing number of issues as the Library has an extensive collection of titles in non-Roman alphabets. The Library had to run imported record files through conversion programs; while these generally worked, the pre-Unicode standards applicable to Horizon did not always result in completely correct translations. In addition, SirsiDynix, following the demise of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian (which was Unicode based) announced that it would NOT convert Horizon 7.x to Unicode. The only option was to move to the vendor’s Symphony system, which was Unicode-compliant. However, that system was – following an assessment by Library staff – more or less functionally equivalent to Horizon 7.x; the complexity and cost of a system migration could not be justified if the new system was merely “equivalent” to the old, so this was not considered a good solution.