ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 28, 1997) - The Pennsylvania Academic Library Connection Initiative (PALCI) and CPS Systems, Inc., a St. Paul, Minn.-based company that develops software and application solutions for libraries, jointly announced at the 1997 ALA Conference in San Francisco their plans for PALCI to install the new Universal Resource Sharing Application (URSA). A live testbed that includes five of the 37-member PALCI libraries is expected to begin this fall.
PALCI will use URSA to expand resource sharing capabilities for their federation of 37 academic libraries, located throughout Pennsylvania. The organization was founded in the fall of 1996 with the primary goal of creating a Web-based, Z39.50 compliant, patron initiated and fully automated resource sharing system for all member libraries.
"This project will bring a virtual catalog of more than 25 million volumes to more than 325,000 students and faculty throughout Pennsylvania," said Arnold Hirshon, PALCI Executive Committee Chair and Vice Provost for Information Resources, Lehigh University. "We look forward to our association with CPS and expect that this system will become a model for other library groups and consortia."
The URSA system is CPS' latest version of their resource sharing technology. Unlike previous CPS products which addressed more traditional interlibrary loan needs, URSA is an open gateway designed to let libraries share resources as if they used a common library automation system. The system's flexible design will allow PALCI members' patrons to search wider collections via the Internet and to place their own requests at member libraries. Once requests are placed, URSA will interact with the local automation systems to perform the steps which, until now, have been done manually by library staff. As a result, staff members can handle higher "patron initiated" interlibrary volumes without sacrificing quality or control.
"We examined all the possible alternatives and it became clear that URSA is the solution which best matches our objectives," said Sara Randall, Executive Director of PALCI. "URSA alone has the tools to interact with our existing circulation systems and automate PALCI members' interlibrary processes."
CPS will work closely with PALCI to tailor an URSA system to meet the needs of PALCI staff and patrons. Work on the system began in June. The first phase of implementation, for five member libraries, is scheduled for fall completion.
"CPS is excited about the opportunity to work with such a forward looking group of libraries as PALCI," said John Wardell, General Manager of U.S. operations for CPS. "By linking together libraries throughout the state, our resource sharing technology will help PALCI break down the barriers that exist between libraries to create one large ‘virtual' library where federation members can access and share vast amounts of information."
Unlike resource sharing efforts in other states or regions, which have been facilitated by or under the aegis of a state agency or regional network, it is believed that PALCI is the first grassroots statewide federation to be organized and supported by its own membership to mount a virtual union catalog and circulation system. PALCI is the largest academic group to have selected CPS to date.
The PALCI charter membership includes the following state-related, state-supported, and private college and university libraries: Allegheny College, Bloomsburg University, Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, California University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Cheyney University, Clarion University, Dickinson College, Drexel University, Duquesne University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University, Franklin and Marshall College, Gannon University, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lafayette College, LaSalle University, Lehigh University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, Messiah College, Millersville University, Pennsylvania State University, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University, St. Joseph's University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Scranton, Villanova University, West Chester University and Widener University. Affiliated members of PALCI include PALINET, the State Library and the State System of Higher Education.
A five-member Executive Committee guides the work of PALCI. The members of the Executive Committee are: Arnold Hirshon (Executive Committee Chair and Vice Provost for Information Resources, Lehigh University); David J. Gray (Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education); Neil McElroy (Director of Libraries, Lafayette college); Rush Miller (Vice Chair, and Dean of Libraries, University of Pittsburgh); and, Gloriana St. Clair (Interim Dean of Libraries, Pennsylvania State University).
In addition to working with PALCI, CPS has tailored and installed resource sharing systems in several other U.S. states and in Australia. CPS currently is marketing its resource sharing technology to state library organizations as well as library cooperatives and consortiums. To obtain additional information on URSA, interested parties can call CPS at the number above or visit the CPS web site at www.cps-us.com.
CPS Systems, Inc. is affiliated with CPS Systems, Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia which provides some of the underlying technology for URSA. CPS Systems, Pty. Ltd. also has an office in Wellington, New Zealand. CPS Systems, Inc. is located at 6053 Hudson Road, Suite 180, Woodbury, Minn. and can be reached by phone at (612) 731-8993 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.