It was 1996 when I was working as a circulation clerk using the CARL ILS, which ran on a Tandem mainframe. We were using “dumb terminals” and those ugly pen scanners that rarely worked. Back then I didn’t really pay attention to the system as long as it worked, I was still under the idea that “I’m only here until I finish school”. Little did I know that years later I would become the ILS administrator for CARL…that’s when I started to hate everything about it.
Cuadra STAR in 2007, in a corporate library…vaguely systems librarian role. Accessed via Putty, custom built OPAC by our IT department.
Not a name I was familiar with. It looks like they specialized in museums and archives. That is hero’s work right there, trying to properly “catalog” material when each thing is one of a kind!
Dynix was the first ILS system I worked with in 1996.
My first ILS was Geac Advance on a Sequent computer at University of Southern Mississippi starting in 1993. I was a cataloger, and later the systems librarian (and later a trainer for Geac). Advance was based on the database management system uniVerse, like Dynix, a system I worked with a few years later at Rocky River Public Library.
My first ILS was VTLS and the year was 1989. I really liked that we had full access to the back end database. When I started with the system, I was a student assistant, in circulation. When I left that library, I was the Head of Systems.
Wow, no one has yet admitted to going back to the CLSI system. I first used that in 1982 at the Somerville Public Library in Ma, before merging that with another CLSI user (Framingham MA) to form the Minuteman Library Network, which used CLSI until switching to DRA in 1991. I remember the joy when we finally got to throw away our light pen and get a real laser barcode scanner.
For those of you into tech history, the light pen was a finicky beast that you had to drag across a barcode (too often repeatedly unless you had developed the touch) and was tethered to a control box about the size of a mid-tower PC and cost $5000 at the time. Those companies really made their money selling equipment.
My first ILS was SirsiDynix in 2012. I was a Circulation Clerk and just finished my MLIS.
I’m really going to date myself. My first hands-on experience was with the Classic Dynix product at an academic library in 1987, where I was the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development. Ours was the first academic library to come up on this system developed for public libraries, so they had a lot of work to do! I nearly went mad trying to find out why I could not justify invoices. It was always a few cents off. Finally, we determined that Dynix rounded dollar amounts up, which Baker & Taylor rounded down! They had no clue what to do with multiple sources of funds, either. I really put them through their paces in the first 6 months. I hope that made a better product in the end.
Millennium! At least, that’s the first one I remember. I started with Millennium as a Circ Assistant in 2008. I had an after school job as a page in 2002/2003, but have zero memory of what or if I used an ILS!
Funnily enough my first proper ILS was Polaris! I worked more in fundraising and office environments before going for my MLIS in '09, and then went into procurement work in the financial industry, before my current role with Polaris started in 2018. Lots of database work and coding, though, so all relevant!
I used those light pens with the home grown system I started out with in the late nineties. Such finicky beasts.
The year was 1982 & we had a DataPhase system. I started working here as a clerk, matching OCLC cards with printouts and records to make sure we had shelflist cards for the card catalog that was still being used.
If you wanted to relive those exciting days, it looks like you could for a mere $350 USD:
My first library system was IRBIS, which was developed by the Russian National Library for Science and Technology based on the open source CDS/ISIS software. Our university started using it in 1998 (if I remember correctly) and I was the one who implemented and administered it. It was a very solid software with excellent support (the one where you ask for a feature and it’s added a few days later). I loved working with it.
I’ve worked at my library for over 9 years and we transitioned from Millennium to Sierra sometime during my first year. I barely remember using Millennium.
- What system was it? Well, I preceded automation at one library, we used the Gaylord Kerchunker machines in 1987-92, LOL. My first actual terminal based system was Geac first in a consortium and then stand-alone.
- What year was it? Geac was 1998
- What did you like/hate about it? You could work faster using the shortcuts - no mouse, people just memorized their workflows. Training people to use a mouse was painful when that time came. As one of the last customers on GEAC, we had a lot of control over scripting on the system but their Cognos Report Writer software was AMAZING and user friendly. I still miss that to this day!
- What was your role in working with the system (circulation clerk, cataloger, system administration)? All of the above at various times, plus acquisitions, but GEAC system administrator always.
Wow - I’ve seen those but never in action. Awesome.
Be glad! I have never missed having to hand write overdue notices…
Dynix was our first ILS but SO much of what we did still relied on paper copies and workflows. I was a circ clerk. This was 1997. Good times, or whatever.