With the award of a contract to provide linkages among the Geac, NOTIS, UTLAS and locally developed automated systems used by members of the Southeast Florida Library Information Network in their SEFLINK network, Minicomputer Systems, Inc., will significantly expand the capabilities of its Irving Library Network product. The network, originally developed for the Irving Group, currently provides support for CLSI, CARL, Eyring and Pueblo systems in Boulder, Colorado. A Dynix capability is under development.
The network uses front-end processors linked to the local library with no changes in the local system hardware or software. An operator enters a catalog search using the syntax and commands of the common network language and a formatted screen menu. The request is routed to the designated participating library where the search is implemented through a similar processor attached to the local system. Search responses are displayed on the originating terminal in the language of the network. A single processor can serve multiple libraries with similar or different automated systems. Such sharing is implemented when the configuration will give a beneficial trade off between hardware and communication costs.
Some libraries have chosen to route all access to the online catalog module of their local system through the network interface, allowing users to access both the local system and the systems of participating libraries using only a single set of commands and syntax. In other applications, libraries use the network only to access remote systems. While offering the benefits of access to multiple systems using only one or two sets of commands and syntax--those of the local system and those of the network--the interface is not inexpensive.
The software and processors for an installation supporting four terminals in each of four libraries with local library systems from different turnkey vendors would cost $145,850, with maintenance charges of $1,980 a month. Terminals and communications hardware--modems and multiplexors--would add $36,200 to the initial cost and $290 a month to the maintenance charge. Installation and leased line charges for the configuration would bring the total start-up cost to around $185,000.
The network utilizes standard DEC hardware and DECnet software, and includes electronic mail capabilities.
Minicomputer Systems, Inc., offers interlibrary loan applications software as an option with the network. The software handles request formatting, routing, and can place check-out requests at remote libraries. The ILL software tracks all requests until the material is returned to the lending library. It also maintains ILL statistics and may be used by both patrons and staff. The ILL software for a four library configuration would add $20,000 to the start-up cost and $240 a month to the maintenance charge.
[Contact: Minicomputer Systems, Inc., 2037 Sixteenth Street, Boulder, CO 80302; telephone (303) 443-3347.]