Making the Jump to Sierra

Sierra has known the quickest adoption of any library system to date, according to Library Journal. The libraries that have committed to Sierra are both new Innovative customers, and libraries that are using the Millennium ILS. Sierra represents a leap beyond the ILS to a comprehensive Services Platform.


Sierra gives libraries that want to delve deeper into the data structures of their system the means to accomplish their goals. Sierra’s technical backbone has been modernized and is very different from Millennium. In Sierra, the user is executing SQL queries that get to the database directly, rather than looking at records as a whole. The results return much more quickly than before. In short, the foundation of the Sierra Services Platform is built on a PostgreSQL relational database which captures all of the material, circulation, patron, financial, and other operational data of the library.


Data in the library’s system (including patron transaction information, financials, and content of all kinds) collection are now opened up for querying, which opens up a new world for sophisticated or on-the-fly searching. For example, in addition to “asking” for basic hold information, the user can find out who placed the hold, when it was placed, if the hold was frozen. Another example is fines: users can immediately tell, for example, which patrons have fines over a given amount.


Innovative has worked hard to provide even more power to users through Sierra DNA, for libraries that want even more flexibility and customized reporting options. Sierra DNA provides an orderly presentation of complex and extensive data fields, which allows library staff to easily view the available data structures. For libraries that want to go beyond the traditional ILS, this presents a new and exciting approach to library technology. For more on Sierra DNA you can consult a special issue of INNTouch on the topic.

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