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Horizon Users' Group Meeting Conference Report


John Lamborn, Systems & Access Services Librarian

The seventh annual Horizon Users' Group Meeting was held November 5 - 7 in Austin, Texas.  This year's theme, "Building on Opportunity", reflects the continuing evolution of the Horizon ILS in an increasingly WWW/MS Windows dominated environment.  Some 700 participants were in attendance, including representatives from the U.K., New Zealand, Canada and Portugal.

The tone of this year's meeting was more congenial and collaborative than in past years.  Customers and epixtech, inc. representatives both benefited from frank discussion of Horizon's strengths and weaknesses.  General sessions provided clarification from epixtech on research and development, software release timelines, module enhancements, bug reports, and the corporate vision of what Horizon/Sunrise will offer during the course of the next few years.  "Breakout" session were used to share insights and instruction on how to make the components of the current product perform more effectively.

The most exciting news was epixtech's progress in iPAC* development.  The features currently available in release 1.02 and soon to be available in release 2.0 will make the transition from WUI much easier for our campus users.  Without doubt iPAC will be seen by all as light-years ahead of WebPAC.  (Take a sneak peak at our iPAC, or learn more about the product at epixtech's website.)

epixtech continues to aggressively pursue development of a "portal" product for it's Horizon/Sunrise libraries.  Like many of their competitors, epixtech realizes their is no single portal product that will meet the needs of libraries.  Through collaboration with a variety of vendors offering the various components of portal technology (see list), epixtech seeks to provide a package of services compatible with Horizon/Sunrise architecture and the changing needs of their customers. 

Though encouraged by most of what I learned at HUGM, I was disappointed to see that the Horizon Inventory Module will not offer much to make our collection inventory more efficient or reliable.  The fault is not so much with the module as it is with our use of item barcodes.  Barcodes require shelf-readers to physically handle each item during an inventory.  In order to improve the process, the library will likely have to replace barcodes with chips that would enable us to utilize RFID technology (Radio Frequency ID).

For additional information regarding HUGM (or Austin, Texas) feel free to contact me via phone or email.  I thank the Library for the opportunity to attend this conference.  It was an encouraging, informative, and productive experience.



Updated October 6, 2004 . Please send comments to John Lamborn
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