ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 28, 1997) - CPS Systems, Inc., announced a new version of its resource sharing system, with a new product name, the Universal Resource Sharing Application (URSA), at the 1997 ALA Conference in San Francisco. CPS, a St. Paul, Minn.-based company that develops software and application solutions for libraries, renamed their new product to reflect URSA's expanded role in addressing the wide range of information gateway and resource sharing challenges facing libraries.
URSA is an open gateway designed to let libraries with completely different automation systems share resources as if they shared a common system. The gateway consists of software which runs on one or more network "servers" which are Internet accessible to member systems. The software uses established standards along with CPS-developed "middleware" to link library automation systems together.
As a result, many aspects of the resource sharing can be improved. First, member OPACs can be united into a "virtual catalog" which can be searched conveniently by staff and patrons from home, school, office or library with easy-to-use Web browsers. Second, the gateway's flexible design allows for patron initiated requests, but allows library managers to choose whether they allow the requests to be unmediated or to choose the type of mediation desired. Third, the URSA gateway is able to interact with member circulation systems to perform the steps which, until now, have been done manually by library staff. As a result, staff members can handle higher interlibrary volumes without sacrificing quality or control.
URSA also records the status of all requests and item movements and offers convenient "on-the-fly" net lending statistics. URSA can also expand resource sharing capabilities by linking libraries with commercial databases and their search engines.
"When our cooperative was looking for a resource sharing solution, we wanted a system which would allow patron initiated interlibrary requests without burdening staff members, " said Annette Milliron, Director of the North Bay Cooperative Library System. "We feel we examined every major option before choosing URSA and CPS. The resulting system has been called elegant in its simplicity and usability."
"We designed and built URSA with librarians who believe the Internet can offer libraries better Resource Sharing alternatives," said John Wardell, General Manager of U.S. operations for CPS. "It is gratifying to see that the URSA gateway can help library groups improve service and control costs."
CPS has active projects with public, academic and special libraries in California, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Oregon. CPS also recently announced a new customer in the Pennsylvania Academic Library Connection Initiative (PALCI) and the State of Maryland's plan to upgrade their existing CPS interlibrary system to URSA in a several step process. The Maryland plans, which encompass more than 20 automation systems and hundreds of libraries, illustrate URSA's ability to link highly different, standard and non-standard environments. Information Access Division Head Pat Wallace comments: "Changes must be introduced carefully throughout our state of Maryland to respect local autonomy and assure continued service delivery. We are happy that our CPS system allows this flexibility."
Purchase of URSA includes installation, customization, and training. Ongoing support is available. CPS Systems, Inc. is affiliated with CPS Systems, Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia which provides some of the underlying technology for URSA. CPS Systems, Pty. Ltd. also has an office in Wellington, New Zealand. CPS Systems, Inc. is located at 6053 Hudson Road, Suite 180, Woodbury, Minn. and can be reached by phone at (612) 731-8993 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. In July, an URSA demonstration will be added to the CPS website, at www.cps-us.com.