Vendor Interview -- SirsiDynix

SirsiDynix is the latest vendor to take our interview. Headquartered in Provo, Utah, SirsiDynix is responsible for the Symphony, Horizon, Unicorn ILS products. Symphony product manager Laurie Porter answered our questions.

Question1: Is your cataloging system current with MARC 21 updates 9, 10, and 11, which made changes to MARC to accommodate RDA? If not, do you plan to update, and do you have a timeline for updating? Have you made the changes for both bibliographic and authority records?

LP: Systems installed at Symphony 3.4 (the current release) are current through MARC 21 update 9. We have plans to add 10, 11 and 12 updates in an upcoming release. This is for both bibliographic and authority records. Existing customers can manually update their systems to include changes for RDA.

Question 2: Are your system's displays (public facing and admin) capable of displaying the new RDA fields added to MARC? Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

LP: Current staff and public interfaces to Symphony are capable of displaying the new RDA fields with manual updates to the system. We are releasing an FAQ and online training session this summer that instructs users on how to do this.

Question 3: Please describe your system's search interface (including its indexing, filtering, and faceting functions), and how it handles the new RDA fields. Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

LP: Symphony is currently capable of indexing new RDA fields and subfields with manual updates. The SirsiDynix Enterprise 4.1 discovery solution accounts for new codes in 007 and 008, and will account for 336-338 and 370-377 in future releases. Symphony’s e-Library OPAC is capable of indexing new RDA fields and subfields as well.

We are providing existing customers with instructions on making these changes, including free RDA-specific training resources through our SirsiDynix Mentor learning portal.

Question 4: Does your system support cataloging in encodings other than MARC? If so, have you made any changes to these encodings in order to support RDA? Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

LP: In addition to MARC-8, Symphony supports encoding in Unicode and UNIMARC. SirsiDynix will continue to monitor the standard and evaluate potential changes in our software to make better use of the concepts that are the basis of RDA. We have also notified our customers that RDA changes may be included in future roadmaps for the next several releases.

Question 5: Libraries are likely to be in a mixed records environment for some time. Do you have any plans to discontinue support to AACR2 records in the foreseeable future?

LP: We do not plan to discontinue support for AACR2.

Question 6: Do you have any display, search, or other concerns about using your system in a mixed record environment where AACR2 and RDA records are co-mingled in the catalog?

LP: We believe that there are no serious concerns about mixing AACR2 and RDA records in a single catalog. Because of the extensive changes required to truly implement RDA there will be many suppliers of traditional ‘bibliographic’ records that will continue to supply our libraries with AACR2 records. Our goal is to allow the records to live in harmony in the database until all vendors can supply records in RDA format.

Question 7: RDA has an increased focus on record-to-record relationships based on FRBR and adopted the Work-Expression-Manifestation-Item structure. Does your system currently take advantage of this new data and structure to improve the user experience in any way? Are any future user experience improvements based on this data planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

LP: Symphony does not currently take advantage of the FRBR structure. We are evaluating how we may improve the user experience in such a way but do not have a timeline for any future development.

Question 8: Some have said that the benefits of RDA cannot be fully realized while MARC remains the dominant encoding standard. If RDA is adopted, how viable do you think MARC will be going forward? What sort of issues would a move away from MARC raise for your product(s)?

LP: Even with the adoption of RDA, we believe that libraries will continue to use MARC and AACR2 for a long time. RDA has a significant impact on the library industry as a whole. Our customers are importing records from many different sources and all of those sources must update their software in order to comply with the RDA standard. We are committed to supporting the needs of our customers in this regard. Our desire is to continue to allow customers to import and maintain their catalogs with the least amount of disruption in their workflows.