David King at Dave’s blog asks some valid questions about Sirsi’s new RSS offering:
But for me, there are some questions I’ll need to answer to become completely satisfied with the product. Mainly, because the way I’m reading SIRSI’s PDF, to use the RSS feed part, you have to purchase SIRSI Rooms (a separate product from the Unicorn ILS system my library has).
So the first question is this: will you be able to use the RSS feeds mentioned without purchasing the separate SIRSI Rooms product?
Also, it sounds like the newest version of SIRSI Rooms is really trying to become a Content Management System (CMS), which is cool… unless your library system already has one in place. Then it’s not so cool – who wants to operate two CMS’s? That sorta defeats the purpose of content management, doesn’t it?
So my second question is this: how well wil it integrate with my present website? Can I hook up parts and pieces of the SIRSI product with my website as needed?
If libraries have to purchase the Rooms product just to use the RSS feature, it won’t be particularly useful to those with Sirsi’s traditional ILS. While we still need to learn more about what it is exactly they’re offering and how it will work with existing web infrastructure, I think what Sirsi has done may be just the kick in the butt other vendors need to get going with RSS as well.
Keep an eye on Dave’s Blog. He works for a super library system (Kansas City Public Library) that is often a leader when it comes to implementing new technologies. Check out one of their latest projects, KC Research, that Dave will be presenting about at Computers in Libraries 2005. While their library is often at the techie forefront, Dave himself seems very aware of the importance of user-centered technololgy implementation. It’s a great blog!
I’m willing to bet that Sirsi Rooms is basically just some open source portal software like uPortal, exo, Jetspeed, etc. given a spiffy look. What they’re calling rooms are exactly like what everyone in the real IT world calls portlets. Any of those free portals have the ability to present someone’s RSS feed as a portlet out of the box, so my uneducated guesses here are: 1, whatever actually provides the RSS feeds is separate from this Sirsi Rooms software; 2, all they did was take their existing catalog and write a portlet wrapper around it. 2. would be pretty cool because if you did have an existing CMS, you could just plug the catalog right into it.