DUBLIN, Ohio, Aug. 17, 1994--The Chicago Library System (CLS), a consortium of 433 academic, public, school and special libraries, is making OCLC's FirstSearch Catalog available to its members.
The Illinois State Library is sponsoring the pilot project as a way to determine which FirstSearch databases are important to Illinois libraries and how many ports would be needed to provide broad access to the most-used databases.
"I am extremely delighted that the Illinois State Library was able to provide grant funds for the Chicago Library System to test FirstSearch," said Bridget Lamont, director, Illinois State Library. "The FirstSearch databases provide a new level of access to system members, and their initial response has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. With funding provided and the full support of Illinois' four Research and Reference Libraries, we are committing additional funds to expand the program statewide."
The project provides access to 33 of the 41 FirstSearch databases, as well as a link to Illinois holdings, OCLC's PRISM Interlibrary Loan service, document suppliers, and online full text, in two phases. On July 1, access was extended to all Chicago Library System institutions except high schools, which will be added later.
"The exciting part of this project is that it will provide a reference backup online for our member libraries, and more importantly to the clients that those libraries serve," said Alice Calabrese, executive director of the Chicago Library System. "The ease of access is the beauty of FirstSearch. You make it accessible to the customer, and they're right there using it."
According to Ms. Calabrese, CLS is exploring different access methods, including nontraditional and online, with an eye to ease of use. She said CLS's mission is to be the catalyst for members to become state-of-the-art, high-technology libraries designed to facilitate and promote access to information for the user group they serve.
The FirstSearch Catalog is designed for library patrons, with an end-user interface that allows patrons to move easily through the online search process in just a few simple steps, without training or online searching experience.
OCLC is a nonprofit computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more than 18,000 libraries in 52 countries and territories.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: Nita Dean (614) 761-5002 or Paul Cappuzzello (614) 764-6258