La Trobe University has awarded Ex Libris Australia a contract to provide software for the new Australian Academic and Research Library Network (AARLIN). The contract follows several months of intensive evaluation through a tender process. Over the next 12 months, the AARLIN network will be rolled out progressively to 21 participating Australian university libraries.
“The new electronic environment requires that the higher education sector, including libraries, rely on new forms of collaboration, not only among themselves but also with external partners, to share information resources electronically, to break down current organizational structures, and to reject the “go-it-alone” mode that higher education institutions have for so long pursued,” said Professor Michael Osborne, vice-chancellor of La Trobe University—the lead institution in the AARLIN project.
“The proposal to develop AARLIN emerged from a specially convened meeting of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) held in Hobart in 1999, following concern about the crisis in scholarly communication,” explained Earle Gow, university librarian of La Trobe. “Academic libraries were experiencing difficulties in meeting the needs of the scholarly community, particularly the information infrastructure to support research and teaching informed by research.”
Mr. Gow added that CAUL had been pursuing collaborative resource-sharing initiatives and had supported projects to improve access to scholarly literature, but independent reviews of the national information infrastructure confirmed its state of disrepair and predicted serious long-term difficulties for the national research base.
As a result, AARLIN was established. Funding comes from the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), as part of its Systemic Infrastructure Initiative, as well as from the participating universities.
During 2003, the project will be integrating library resource-sharing services and providing users throughout Australia with an overall view of the information resources available in collaborating libraries. AARLIN will use two Ex Libris products—the MetaLib library portal and SFX, the original OpenURL link server—to provide services for researchers. Examples of such services are distributed searching (by means of a single search interface) of multiple electronic databases, Web sites, on-line library catalogs, and other electronic information resources; dynamically created context-sensitive links to a range of appropriate resources and services (including linking to full-text articles or document-delivery forms); and personalization of the user environment.
“We are privileged to be awarded this contract to provide the MetaLib and SFX software to the research community in 21 Australian universities,” said David Yeo, general manager of Ex Libris Australia. “Our solution will provide users with a resource discovery tool that will guide them to the most appropriate information resources as determined by their institution.”
About Ex Libris
Ex Libris is a leading worldwide developer of high-performance applications for libraries, information centers, and researchers. A multinational company, Ex Libris has offices around the world. ALEPH, the Ex Libris integrated library solution, has been installed at over 750 sites in 50 countries. MetaLib, the information portal for library collections, and SFX, the context-sensitive linking solution for heterogeneous electronic resources in the scholarly information environment, have been purchased by more than 320 customers in 23 countries. The DigiTool solution for constructing digital collections as components of an overall digital strategy rounds out the Ex Libris product suite. For more information about Ex Libris, see www.exlibrisgroup.com.