Daniela Wittig, Marketing Manager, Ex Libris Germany
In October 2009 the library of the University of Amsterdam hosted the Ex Libris Solutions Day, where Ex Libris customers discussed their experiences with Ex Libris solutions.
After Mr Nol Verhagen, director of the University of Amsterdam library had welcomed the 65 attendees, Mr. Matthias Hemmje, Professor for Computer Science and Chair of Multimedia and Internet Applications at the University of Hagen, opened the day. His keynote presentation, “Open-Source vs. Standard Software—Impacts on Library Infrastructures,” offered a broad overview of issues that need to be systematically analyzed—for example, which functionalities are provided by open-source solutions and which have yet to be developed, and the time line for future development. He concluded that the total cost of ownership (TCO) was a major factor influencing many institutions’ decisions as to whether to choose proprietary or open-source software.
The University of Amsterdam went live with Aleph some weeks ahead of Solution Day. Following an extensive evaluation process, the university selected Aleph to replace the library’s LBS system. Mr. Marc van den Berg, the head of electronic services at the University Library of Amsterdam, gave an engaging report about the library’s data migration project, which was successfully completed on schedule.
Mr. Axel Kaschte, strategy officer for Europe at Ex Libris, talked about the Company’s initiative to design a new-generation management system for back-office library operations—selection, acquisition, cataloging, management, and fulfillment—for the full spectrum of library materials, regardless of format or location. The Unified Resource Management (URM™) framework will provide libraries with a suite of the traditional functions necessary to streamline current management tasks across print, electronic, and digital resources.
Axel went on to present the Ex Libris open-platform strategy, the conceptual basis for an environment in which the open interfaces of Ex Libris systems are well defined, well documented, and readily available to the customer community, and in which collaboration is natural and easy to achieve. Fundamental to the open-platform strategy is the EL Commons collaborative Web site. EL Commons consists of a customer-led wiki and the CodeShare site, to which customers contribute code extensions to enhance the functionality of Ex Libris solutions.
In the fourth presentation, Ms. Mandy Stewart, resource discovery research and projects manager at the British Library, focused on the implementation of the Primo® discovery and delivery solution at the British Library and the leading role that the library is taking in the Web 2.0 world. Mandy explained why the British Library chose Primo, focusing on the product’s rich out-of-the-box functionality, its scalability, its openness, and its single point of discovery. She went on to describe how Primo meshes with the British Library’s strategy to provide an accessible focal point for research and scholarly activity for the population of the United Kingdom.
Yves Maurer and Carlo Blum from the information technology department of the National Library of Luxembourg presented eluxemburgensia, the newspaper archive at the National Library of Luxemburg. Powered by the DigiTool® digital asset management system, the National Library of Luxembourg has made 150 years of the nation’s newspapers available online (www.eluxemburgensia.lu). The newspaper archive contains over 800,000 historical news reports and analyses, articles, advertisements, pictures, and obituaries from 100,000 newspaper pages, and includes items in the country’s three official languages, French, German, and Luxembourgish. The National Library of Luxembourg plans to digitize its entire printed archive of over six million documents in the coming years.
Jo Rademakers, the head of library automation at the Catholic University of Leuven/LIBIS (K.U. Leuven, in Belgium), gave the closing talk of the day. He discussed the benefits of participating in a large Aleph consortium and the experience of hosting a major library network that covers an entire country. K.U. Leuven is the host institution of the LIBIS library network, which consists of 30 independent member organizations (universities, colleges, national and regional parliaments, and a network of public libraries).
Together these fascinating customer presentations provided a thought-provoking and enjoyable glimpse at a variety of live Ex Libris solutions.
Dr Axel Kaschte, Ex Libris Strategy Director for Europe, talks at the Solutions Day