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Simply Smooth SFX at the University of East London

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2009 IGeLU Conference: A Local Organizer’s Point of View

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Simply Smooth SFX at the University of East London


Timm-Martin Siewert, Sales Consultant - Pre-Sales Europe

In just six months during 2009, the University of East London (UEL) implemented five Ex Libris solutions and migrated from the Serials Solutions 360 link resolver to the Ex Libris SFX® OpenURL link resolver. The implementation was a huge success, with SFX and a full suite of Ex Libris solutions integrated into the university’s own systems on schedule and within budget. In addition, with the university’s acquisition of the Primo® discovery and delivery solution, the Aleph® integrated library system, and the Ex Libris e-product suite—SFX, the MetaLib® gateway and metasearch portal, and the Verde® e-resource management system—in February 2009, UEL earned the honor of becoming the hundredth Ex Libris UK customer.

In their quest for a new link resolver, UEL had three fundamental requirements: ease of use of library staff, a comprehensive knowledgebase and the ability to integrate with their existing library systems. In all these areas, UEL considered that SFX best met their requirements. At the center of SFX lies the KnowledgeBase. UEL were pleased by the speed with which library staff were able to populate all their resources, and the way in which SFX automatically updated the library’s holdings. The administrative interface of the system proved very accessible for staff members—both during the implementation phase, and now that the system is live. Finally, smooth integration with MetaLib, Verde and Primo ensured that the library can efficiently control the discoverability and management of its electronic resources.

During the migration from the university’s former Serials Solutions link resolver, staff members at UEL were delighted by the smooth transition and welcomed the ease of use that SFX provides. Gurdish Sandhu, associate director of systems at the university, declared the implementation project an overwhelming success: “The implementation of SFX, together with all the Ex Libris solutions we selected, has been extremely easy. We are impressed by the comprehensive nature of the SFX KnowledgeBase and are pleased with the support that the Advanced Collection Tool and the Statistics module provide for collection management,” Ms. Sandhu commented. “We feel that our vision and future library strategy mesh with the Ex Libris corporate strategy,” she added.

When the university embarked on its search for new library automation systems, funding was made conditional on the completion of the implementation by the summer of 2009, meaning that Primo, Aleph, MetaLib, and SFX had to be implemented within six months. Ex Libris staff worked closely and productively with UEL librarians and the information technology department to realize this goal efficiently and on schedule. Both SFX and MetaLib were successfully integrated with Primo in time for the launch of Primo at the end of July 2009.

SFX is the most popular link resolver available, used in over 1,800 libraries worldwide. SFX provides users with context-sensitive links to the full text of articles and to other library-defined resources, including local holdings in the online public access catalog (OPAC), preferred document-delivery suppliers, related Web-based resources and services, local information repositories, and many other services. The SFX KnowledgeBase is one of the industry's largest and most inclusive, containing information about e-journals, e-books, packages, and platforms that are available in the scholarly environment.

To further enhance the benefits of SFX to its user community, the University of East London subsequently subscribed to the bX scholarly recommender service—the first service to provide article-level recommendations focused on the scholarly domain. bX reflects the choices of researchers from institutions around the world, based on an analysis of over a hundred million usage logs—and growing rapidly every day. Launched in May last year, bX is already used in use at over 200 institutions.