We thought that some of our users might be interested to know a little of how we came to name our next version of the Heritage library management software Cirqa (pronounced circa).

In simple terms we wished to have a name that was straightforward (or short), reasonably unique, easy to spell and without too many spelling variations. If the name could work with Heritage and on its own, then all the better.

We were also keen to reflect not just the history of Heritage meeting the needs of a wide range of libraries from schools, through Colleges of FE to HE, medical, legal, commercial and other special libraries but also the scope of Heritage through its modules: cataloguing, circulation, serials, web OPAC, ILLS, acquisitions, searching and reporting to name just a few. The ease of wide area access to Heritage in the next version was also an important consideration.

The longer list of considerations included:

  • Attractive: aurally and visually
  • Memorable: this helps association between branding and product
  • Succinct: preferably one or two syllables
  • Meaning: a good connection would be helpful

We tried many variations on the theme of "being around" and found that this was a heavily used concept especially when thought of in terms of being global. Thus terms in several languages based around world, global, universal and ubiquity were already heavily used. We circled around Cirqa for quite a while before settling on it, not least as in modern usage circa represents a temporal locality rather than physical. And it can be considered to have a vagueness about it.

However, in exploring the provenance of the circa we discovered that in Latin it was a relatively late variation on circum and that whilst it was used to mean around about a certain time, its usage did cover locality and specifically the idea of being centred around a place. This seemed ideal. Changing the second c to a q added a distinction (especially useful when searching) whilst being reasonably memorable.

If you are interested to learn more about the Latin then have a what can be considered the definitive Latin dictionary, Lewis and Short. Tufts University (amongst others) handily have it available online.

We are ultimately very pleased with the new name and those customers and staff who have commented on it (and some are known for their frankness) have done so positively. We hope you will like it and feel it is appropriate too.

 
 

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