Vienna, January 20, 1999
Thirteen months after the signing of Ex Libris' largest library automation contract to-date was announced on these same pages, this history-making project is now effectively completed. It involved the replacement of a multiplicity of older systems with ALEPH500 at the National Library of Austria and at over 20 academic institutions, including ten academic libraries located in the capital city of Vienna, plus the universities of Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz, Klagenfurt, Leoben and the St. Gabriel library at Mödling. Of these, 14 are now in production, the others will follow shortly. The ALEPH-based Austrian central catalog (ACC) is operational as well and can be consulted on the web under http://opac.bibvb.ac.at (Link opens in separate browser window).
The project was spearheaded by the library automation group of the Federal Ministry of Science and Transport. Under the leadership of Wolfgang Hamedinger, this group worked in close cooperation with the Ex Libris teams in Hamburg and in Israel. As Hamedinger told the Austrian press today: "The migration was a difficult task. Databases from seven different systems had to be converted, 900 Austrian staff were trained (to ALEPH), while continuing to operate their old systems." Besides facilitating the daily tasks of users and patrons, the new software solves the Year 2000 problem, that "nightmare of computer people". "Despite some unavoidable startup glitches, I am cautiously optimistic," adds an instinctively prudent Hamedinger before the press.
We, at Ex Libris, are resolutely optimistic and confident that all the elements of the Austrian network will be up and going in time. We offer our sincere congratulations to all hands on the supplier and user sides for a job well done. With the second Austrian library network, under the aegis of the Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, switching to online production under ALEPH500 over the next few weeks, the library landscape in the alpine republic will emerge from an obsolete and heterogenous conglomerate to one of the world's most modern and efficient ones.