Information Update - Spring 2003

From the Library Director

As Spring approaches, we are busily planning for a new chapter in library automation. I am pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with Innovative Interfaces, Inc. for the Library's new integrated library system. The official "live" date for the new system will be July 7, 2003.
Founded in 1978, Innovative Interfaces, Inc. made history with the first "black box" for libraries-a highly successful online interface that allowed libraries to download bibliographic data from OCLC to a local circulation system in real time, without re-keying. More than twenty years later, Innovative is still making history and setting the standard for excellence in library automation.
Innovative is privately owned and exclusively involved with library automation and libraries. Thus, the company is totally focused on delivery and support of software and services with expert functionality. Innovative's team consists of an international staff of more than 260 people, many of whom have been with the company for over 10 years–the first employees hired are in senior positions in the company and contribute a continuity and stability unmatched in the marketplace.
Libraries offer a diverse array of information resources. The challenge for libraries is to provide access to all of these resources in an integrated and user-friendly way. Innovative's Millennium Access Plus (MAP) meets the challenge by enabling libraries to provide access to all of their information resources. These resources may include any digital collection such as library catalogs, abstracting and indexing databases, full-text aggregators, image databases, finding aids, and more.
MAP is an integrated solution that manages access to information resources, quickly guiding patrons and staff to Internet content. It is made up of two components: WebBridge and MetaFind. Together, these provide libraries with tools to manage and provide access to all of their information resources by providing contextual linking and multi-protocol meta-searching.
Another new service to be launched this Spring is the collaborative reference service, QuestionPoint. Developed by the Library of Congress and OCLC, with input from participating members of the Global Reference Network (a group of libraries and institutions worldwide that are committed to digital reference, it will enable the Weinberg Library to respond to, track and manage reference questions from patrons via the Web. More specifically, the service will refer unanswered questions to other libraries in the Weinberg Library's cooperative as needed based on availability and expertise and will refer still-unanswered questions to expert resources through a global web-based network in which an automated "request manager" routes questions from one library to another, based on metadata about the question and predefined profiles of the collection and on the subject and staff strengths of members of the network.
It will also provide libraries with tools to add simple links from any page in their library portal to support a locally branded and customizable question-asking service including: web-based submission forms, email-based interaction, live chat for their patrons, and a global knowledge base of previously asked and answered reference questions.
Please test our new systems. We look forward to your feedback.
Charles E. Kratz