ELiAS N.V., the Belgium-based company which has taken over development and marketing of DOBIS/LIBIS, has launched development of a successor product.
While the DOBIS/LIBIS library automation application provides its users with considerable functionality, excellent networking capabilities, and superior performance, it is not very flexible. Maintainin, and adapting a system with a 15-year old application architecture is not always easy; sometimes it is difficult to implement new requirements. Of particular concern to librarians has been the development of a "friendly" user interface.
Plans are to develop a successor system. However, it will be designed to be compatible with the current DOBIS/LIBIS, rather than displacing the present product, so as to protect libraries' existing investments.
The new library system will be designed to work on any platform with any standard software product (e.g., relational data base, text retrieval system, wordprocessor, electronic mail, etc.), allowing libraries to benefit from the downsizing trend of computer technology. Distributed processing through client-server architecture will allow for maximum flexibility and extended networking capabilities. The use of an intelligent workstation as a client-server will allow for more intuitive and easy to use interfaces.
The successor system will be developed using a new object oriented methodology called MERODE (Model-driven, Entity Relationship, Object-oriented DEvelopment). This method starts by modeling the functions of a library, including detailed processing steps in each area. Then the model is modified in the light of standards, needed interfaces to other systems and networks, desired output formats, the user interface, etc.
In the final step only, the model is transformed into a concrete system for a specified operating environment (e.g. UNIX, MVS, 05/400). The code is automatically generated from specifications of the model without the need for additional programming Subsequent modification and customization of the system can be done through easily understandable models without programming.
The development team (6 persons) started on November 16, 1992. The first target platform is UNIX using Microfocus Cobol. A first prototype with limited functionality should be ready by mid-93.
[Contact: Michael Bdzy, Managing Director, ELiaS N.V., 60 Kapeldreef, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium; Tel. 011-32-16-270390; Fax: 011-32-16-270319.]