Ameritech Library Services has introduced WebPAC, server software for libraries which allows patrons and staff to use any World Wide Web browser (Netscape, NCSA Mosaic, Spyglass, etc.) as a public client for searching all Z39.50-compliant databases, including the library's OPAC. Scheduled for general release this Fall, the software enables end users to search the library's holdings on site, or from a remote location via the Internet. With WebPAC libraries can integrate their catalog with other library resources located on its Web server. Searchers can use the graphical power of the Web to seamlessly access and search z39.50 databases.
WebPAC displays one common graphical interface regardless of what is being accessed. At the same time, the software provides the flexibility for libraries to customize screens and commands for tailoring the search interface, and for designing tutorials and pointers to locally developed information. It is also possible to develop one interface for novice users and another for more experienced users.
While WebPAC enabled libraries to offer open access to their OPAC, sites can choose to restrict access to licensed information by domain name. WebPAC also provides hook-to-holdings support for easy access to locally held resources. This hook-to-holdings feature also allows WebPAC to support automatic links to Internet information, allowing seamless hypertext jumps to URIs listed in the database and OPAC search results.
Additional features and enhancements will be added during the beta process which began in early July. The current version of WebPAC runs on IBM RISC 6000 with AIX. All Web clients are supported, regardless of platform.
[Contact: Ameritech Library Services, (800) 556-6847 or (708) 866-0150; or send e-mail to: email@example.com.]