The Boston Library Consortium, which consists of 16 Boston-area university libraries, has recently installed epixtech's Universal Resource Sharing Application (URSA), a dynamic resource sharing system licensed by epixtech, inc., based in Provo, Utah.
Together with its Alliance partners, Minuteman Library Network and Metro-Boston Library Network, the Boston Library Consortium will be in the forefront of a statewide effort to connect library resources through the URSA system. The sixteen BLC member institutions believe that by joining together, each institution enhances the quality of library and information services available to its faculty, students, staff, and other patrons.
By expanding existing resource-sharing programs in the BLC and Massachusetts library networks, URSA will allow library patrons to search multiple catalogs simultaneously, view search results in a common system, and initiate interlibrary loan requests based on actual local circulation status and interlibrary lending policies. Future phases of the project include adding the remaining eight Massachusetts automated resource sharing networks as well as other library catalogs in order to give users full access to statewide library collections.
In the first phase of the project alone, one million patrons of the Alliance partners will be able to search over twelve million items and initiate requests for library materials. Future project phases will expand URSA, allowing more than six million Massachusetts residents access to over 50 million items.
URSA allows access to documents through connecting library services in four different areas. These include a Virtual Catalog which can simultaneously search across different vendor automation systems and retrieve information; a web-based patron authentication feature that offers a user-friendly means for library patrons to be validated via the Internet; Interlibrary Loan Management which enables extensive automation of request and loan processing; and, extended circulation which gives libraries the ability to interact with local library automation systems. In addition to other network-capable library automation systems, URSA works with Dynix, Horizon, NOTIS LMS, and Remote Patron Authentication (RPA), all epixtech products.