Vienna, December 1, 1998. As part of the large Austrian library network being automated by Ex Libris under the aegis of the Federal Ministry for Science and Transport and Federal Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs, ALEPH500 will now also be installed at the Austrian National Library (Oestrerreichische Nationalbibliothek) (ONB).
The ONB, formerly the Imperial Library, came into being over 600 years ago. In 1780, it became the first library ever to constitute a card catalogue. A later edition of this catalogue is still in use today and lists the library's holdings from 1501 to 1929. Today, the ONB holds approximately six million items and ranks as the biggest library in Austria. Its collection of papyri, ancient manuscripts and rare books, maps, globes, music autographs, portraits and unique works in and on Esperanto and other artificial languages supports the ONB's claims to international reputation.
Among the most precious manuscripts, among the Habsburg inheritance, are the "Wencelas Bible," a German version of the Scriptures done long before Martin Luther's and the "Golden Bull," a copy of the German constitutional law passed by Emperor Charles IV in 1356.
Far from detracting from the history-laden and venerable character of this institution, the ALEPH500 system will provide its readers and researchers with the most modern tools, including the ALEPH Web OPAC to access and explore numerous other libraries in Austria and far beyond the country's borders. To start, the ONB will comprise some 200 concurrent workstations.
National libraries are a sector of predilection for the ALEPH automation and management system. The ONB thus joins nine national libraries so far using our software, namely the national libraries of Israel, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Liechtenstein, Latvia, South Africa and the Royal libraries of Denmark and Sweden.