Tokyo, October 27, 2011 Fujitsu announced the launch of Ufinity for Public, a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering for public libraries throughout Japan, extending from the prefectural level to local municipalities. The next-generation library service is designed to bring greater convenience to both library patrons and staff through portal sites. The service includes features that make it easy to create and update a library portal site, along with features for administering interlibrary loans(1) and staff communication over the web. The portal site provides a searchable environment that is convenient for patrons and staff to use for library news or checking and searching on new-acquisitions data. In addition, a horizontal search function can simultaneously search not only public libraries within a prefecture but also the collections in university libraries, museums, and other affiliated institutions, making it quick and efficient for patrons and staff to reserve and send away for books. As the service is provided in the SaaS model hosted at Fujitsu's datacenters and accessed over the Internet, libraries can start using it quickly and inexpensively, with no need for costly investments in ICT resources. Fujitsu offered WebiLis in September 2010 under the SaaS model as its first effort in supporting the "regional general library" concept in Japan. The new service, being Fujitsu's second offering, is intended to enhance the role of regional libraries as information sources and strengthen links between libraries.
From providing information on activities such as continuing education courses to making local documents and other valuable resources available to their communities, Japan's public libraries enrich the lives of patrons on a timely basis, filling a wide range of invaluable roles. However as the needs for emergency preparedness and security increase, libraries are taking a greater interest in SaaS offerings, in which software is accessed over the Internet. Ufinity for Public, launched today, is Fujitsu's second offering and brings greater convenience to library patrons and staff through the addition of portal sites. Fujitsu's first offering for public libraries, WebiLis, was launched in September 2010 under the SaaS model, and has already been adopted by more than 40 municipalities. Ufinity for Public has been in early deployment at the Mie Prefectural Library in Mie Prefecture. Fujitsu is using this case to further evaluate the SaaS offering for the future. Details of the new SaaS offering are being presented at the 13th Library Fair & Forum taking place at the Pacifico Yokohama convention center from November 9-11, 2011.
1. Makes it easy to set up and edit library portal sites
The service makes it very easy for administrators to create and edit their portal sites by selecting components from a menu of more than 20 options, such as news and RSS feeds. Editing the layout simply involves dragging screen elements using a mouse. Library staff members do not need to be technically savvy in order to quickly put together a rich and complete website, thus enabling libraries to communicate current news to their patrons in a timely fashion. As the service is offered under the SaaS model, Fujitsu's datacenter handles all functional updates and feature additions.
News: create and edit web content
RSS: collect and redistribute information from other websites
Blog features: framework for embedding components, such as calendars and maps that are available over the Internet, as part of the portal site.
2. Seamless operational integration between libraries enables horizontal searching and interlibrary loans
The horizontal search function performs a consolidated search of the collections data at other public libraries within the prefecture as well as libraries at universities, museums, and other affiliated institutions. Search results are displayed with integrated bibliographic(2) data. As well, the collections data over a large geographic area can be checked in an integrated search, making it easy for users to see what is truly available. Furthermore, the process for handling interlibrary loans becomes much more efficient, allowing patrons to borrow books more quickly. For library staff, a full complement of communications functions supports administrative tasks between libraries.
Horizontal search: consolidated search of the collections data at multiple libraries.
Q&A: for inquiries and setting up FAQs for use between libraries
Interlibrary loan: manages interlibrary loans of books and other resources, along with related administrative support
Wanted lists: conducts search requests for books and resources
3. Community page for library staff contributes to smoother administration
Ufinity for Public supports three types of user pages for library staff: (1) public pages for patrons, (2) community pages for library staff as a group, and (3) individual pages for individual staff members. Community pages are a forum for sharing and exchanging information, to allow staff members to communicate amongst themselves via the web and to help the library run more smoothly.
Facilities reservations: for reserving library facilities
Message board: for sharing information over the web
To-do: set up to-do list items and track their progress
Survey: set up, post, and respond to questionnaires
4. Rapid deployment and low-cost operations
As this service is offered using the SaaS model, the library avoids the costs associated with deploying, operating, and maintaining special ICT resources. It can start accessing the service simply using any Internet-connected personal computer (including peripherals). Functional updates and feature additions are all handled on the datacenter side. Fujitsu operates its datacenters with scrupulous facilities management and thorough security measures. Library administrators can be assured that their data is safe. As these datacenters are designed to run 24×7, the problem of periodic downtime for maintenance becomes a thing of the past.
System Overview of Ufinity for Public
Regional General Library Concept
Fujitsu is committed to implementing the regional general library concept, under which all the information in a region, from public libraries, educational institutions, research institutions, museums, and tourism information offices, in the form of collections data, electronic books, databases, and other forms of knowledge, are jointly accessible to all residents. Fujitsu hopes that this will invigorate regional communities and help make libraries more useful in the everyday lives of residents. This service is being provided with the goal of strengthening libraries as regional information sources and enlivening communications between libraries to support the creation of regional general libraries.
Pricing and Availability
Product Name Pricing (excluding tax) Service Launch Date
Ufinity for Public (basic service) JPY 30,000 per month January 2012 (scheduled)Note: Enrollment costs and other charges are separate.
Approximately 60 organizations by the end of fiscal 2014 (Fujitsu's fiscal year ends March 31).
This software is based on NetCommons 2 open-source software, developed by the National Institute of Informatics' Information & Systems Research Organization, offered using the SaaS model with the addition of horizontal searching and other functions for libraries.
 Interlibrary loans: One library lending out books not from their own collection, but from collections of other libraries.
 Bibliographic: Information used for searching books, including title, author, publisher, publication date, ISBN, etc.
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$55 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com