Frequently Asked Questions
What is iPac?
IPac is the new web-based public access catalog (PAC) interface developed for Dynix/Horizon. Epixtech has been planning a product that will take the place of Text Pac, Pac4Windows, and WebPac, and iPac is the result.
This product is now in general release, and LTLS is in the process of configuring a separate iPac product for each of the LINC libraries who have purchased PAC ports.
IPac is a web-based product. Each libraryıs iPac software sits on a server at Lincoln Trail. The iPac for each library has a separate urlı or internet address. This internet address connects to a libraryıs Pac account, with the correct scoping and local information that libraries now have with Pac4Windows and Text Pac.
How is iPac different from Pac4Windows?
IPac operates with a browser and is fully accessible to library users both within and outside the library. Libraries provide access to this product by putting a link to the libraryıs iPac url on their library web page.
IPac also has other features of a web page such as incorporation of enhanced cataloging information, more graphics, and links to web resources that are related to searches done by a patron. IPac incorporates a product called Syndetics that links the ISBN number of bibliographic records to graphics of cover images, summary information, book reviews, and tables of contents. These features give additional depth to the existing catalog information.
Pac4Windows, on the other hand, is a proprietary software product that requires on-site installation by LTLS staff on workstations in each library. This product requires additional re-installation and upgrades as links change or if equipment fails. Pac4Windows cannot incorporate Syndetics enhanced cataloging information. Pac4Windows is also a deadı product the last announced upgrade has been released and no more are planned for the future.
How is iPac different from the current LINC Web Catalog?
Ipac does not use java programming but instead uses xml, a more standardized, practical web interface. Browsers are able to load xml more easily than java. Also, iPac is currently being configured to link to each individual libraryıs PAC account. This means there will be many iPac urlıs, one for each library, instead of just one Web Catalog url that does not scope to holdings of each individual library. IPac contains enriched content, while WebPac does not.
How does iPac use ports?
IPac still requires ports to operate but uses them differently than Pac4Windows or text Pac. Pac4Windows requires a port for each workstation. Ports on Pac4Windows are dedicated to one search, or one user, only. So, if a library has Pac4Windows operating on 4 workstations, this requires 4 dedicated ports.
With iPac, the ratio of users to ports is 5 to 1. This means that 5 users can be simultaneouslyı searching iPac on the same port number. This greatly increases the number of users that can access iPac, or the libraryıs catalog, at any given time. With iPac, libraries with 1 Pac port will be able to accommodate 5 users, or searches, at a time; libraries with 20 pac ports will be able to accommodate 100 users doing a catalog search at a time. These users will come from both within and outside the library because the connection to iPac occurs on the libraryıs web page.
What do I need to do to set up iPac?
All of the configuration and setup for each libraryıs iPac account will be done by LTLS staff. Libraries will need to have the following in place to use this product:
Workstations for public use that connect to the Internet and have either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator loaded on them. (Version 6.0 of both browsers is recommended but iPac works with lesser versions).
At least 1 PAC port
The library should have a web page in place that can provide a link to the libraryıs iPac url. This could be a simple web page or a more complicated page but should include a link to the specific url address for the libraryıs iPac web page.
What will LTLS do to set up iPac?
LTLS will make configuration changes and install upgrades as the product develops. In addition,
LTLS will develop a web page on the LTLS home page that provides direct links to all of the individual library iPacs. This can be the jumping off point for libraries that do not have a web page or are in the process of developing a web page.
We will continue to support a generic iPac catalog link on the LTLS web page for public users. This particular iPac will be linked to the LTLS Pac account. This means that patrons can still search the LINC catalog and can place holds on the LTLS Pac account if they have a valid LINC patron barcode.
LTLS is currently developing a new set of graphics for LINC. We will post these graphic images on the LTLS web site so libraries can download images and incorporate this into publicity or bibliographic instruction products.
What if I donıt have a port for a PAC?
LTLS will not set up iPac for libraries that donıt have a Pac port. In the interest of encouraging libraries to buy at least one Pac port, we are investigating options for deferred payment or payment over time instead of a one-time upfront charge. This will be announced in a memo sent to directors.
Can I continue to use Pac4Windows instead of iPac?
LTLS cannot continue to support two separate PAC products without additional staffing or income.
IPac represents the current trend among all automation vendor Pac products in that it provides full Internet access, links to related web sites, and enhanced cataloging information. This product is in its first release it will continue to be enhanced and made more fully functional with epixtechıs commitment to the continued development of this, their only Pac product.
IPac is also the same interface for either Dynix or Horizon, so users will not see a different interface should the LINC libraries decide to upgrade to Horizon.
LINC libraries have agreed in the past to have one, consistent Pac product so patrons only need to learn one interface, regardless of how many libraries they visit. Therefore, LTLS will not support Pac4Windows once iPac has been released to libraries. Once iPac is fully implemented, LTLS staff will de-install the Pac4Windows product on all library workstations.