Libraries Acquire Web-based Catalogue Technology

Libraries Acquire Web-based Catalogue Technology

New system will be implemented next year

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

The Boston College Libraries have acquired a new World Wide Web-based catalogue system that will replace its current system by next summer.

The ALEPH 500 integrated library system from Ex Libris USA will provide Web-based access to collections and databases, and will provide users with more streamlined access to an expanded array of library services. Library administrators said Quest, the current, text-based system with no graphic capabilities, had grown outmoded after a decade of use.

"The Web interface is a big advantage," said Robert Gerrity, head of systems for the Libraries. "With the old catalogue system, you had to type in commands. This one is 'point and click.'

"We'll be able to offer access to many more resources," he added. "You'll be able to do an online search of the Libraries' more than 200 databases with a single command. A search for 'Leda and the Swan,' for example, will bring you to source material, articles, pictures and sound files."

Patrons using the new system will also be able to renew book loans, arrange for books to be reserved, and request interlibrary loans, all via the Web.

"This is a big step forward for us," Gerrity said of the new system, which he said effectively merges a network of computer systems throughout the Libraries. "It's like starting fresh."

"We are confident in our choice," said University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky. "We looked at many companies and systems and found a unique combination of functionality, collaboration and service being offered by Ex Libris.

"We were delighted to find in the ALEPH system a tool which we believe will provide our library and library staff real advantages in meeting the challenges of the new millennium as we continue to offer more electronic resources while maintaining our traditional services."

Current plans call for the new system to be available in test mode in May 2000 and in full production in June 2000.

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