Emeryville, CA—Innovative Interfaces, the world's leading provider of Web-powered, Java-based library automation systems, announced today that it will implement a central cataloging project for the Flemish Center for Public Libraries (VCOB). Ardatis, Innovative's partner and local systems integration provider, will provide implementation and support assistance. This development builds on Innovative's European presence that includes the network of Helsinki Metropolitan Libraries and the University Library of the Sorbonne in Paris.
Scheduled for release in the fall of 2004, library users using Millennium's OPAC will be able to consult the collections of over three hundred Dutch-language public libraries in five regions across Flanders, Belgium's Dutch-speaking region. The first implementation phase will include a database of the six largest Flemish libraries and an additional number of pilot libraries. This will be followed by public Web access to a single database of 40 million records, known as VLACC II (Vlaamse Centrale Catalogus Openbare Bibliotheken or the Flemish Union Catalog). The resulting digital library succeeds VLACC I and will be available to two million library users. It will also serve as an efficient working instrument for more than four thousand librarians.
The realization of a true Flemish Union Catalog will empower libraries to meet the challenges of the digital age and encourage collaboration. The catalog will provide libraries with in-depth quality cataloging, reduce duplicate records, improve indexing, and feature user-friendly interfaces.
Innovative held up to an intense screening process conducted by VCOB's Board of Directors, representing city, county, and provincial levels of the Flemish government. The committee submitted 3,500 requirements (over 800 pages) involving functionality, planning, and service warranty. To Innovative's credit, approval was unanimous.
The Board chose Millennium for many reasons. These include:
- Millennium's reliability,
- Its extensive compatibility with international information technology, and
- Its compatibility with specific library standards.
In addition, Innovative will be providing customized features for its Belgian clients to allow easy Web-based cataloging for libraries contributing records to VLACC II. The Innovative team will develop a method for library users to view aggregate results when searching for a ubiquitous work with many manifestations (such as Hamlet), through the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) standard. The same FRBR concept will be used to optimize the cataloging of classical music recordings.
The Millennium server runs on UNIX (in this case a Solaris platform) with an Oracle RDBMS data model. All libraries will catalog over intranet or Internet via a Java-client or a simplified Web interface.
All Flemish public libraries, especially those serving less than twenty thousand patrons, will gain startling efficiency. Although centralized in concept, VLACC II allows flexibility for local circulation and acquisition functions, or for regionally managed modules. These possibilities will enable interested libraries to meet strategic challenges such as:
- Optimizing internal library processes,
- Assuming a leading role in a constantly changing world of digital automation, and
- Stimulating the public's interest in the library and VCOB as an information mediator/provider.
To make Millennium even more effective, Ardatis will offer translation services, a documentation website, training, and a help desk in cooperation with VCOB. Service-level agreements are provided for the central infrastructure. These commitments translate into an architecture with redundant fail-safe and disaster recovery plans, storage area network, and direct connection to the backbone on which the majority of the libraries are connected. The service contract with Ardatis runs over a period of at least five years.
Celebrating 25 years of partnership with the library community, Innovative Interfaces (www.iii.com) is the leader in providing Web-powered, Java-based automated library systems. Its flagship product offering, Millennium, is an acknowledged market leader installed in thousands of libraries in 39 countries around the world. The company is headquartered in Emeryville, California, with offices in Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
The VCOB (Vlaamse Centrum voor Openbare Bibliotheken or the Flemish Center for Public Libraries) is a central agency that supports the development, promotion, and improvement of public library services in Flanders. VCOB, founded in 2000, is fully subsidized by the Flemish government. Its key project is the conversion of the current central bibliographic pool into a true Flemish Union Catalog to bring libraries into the digital age and benefit from economies of scale. Flanders is the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, with about six million inhabitants and 304 libraries (not including branches). About 28.5% of its inhabitants make use of public library services. Its largest cities are Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent.
Ardatis is a Belgian company with over 30 years of experience as a supplier of ICT solutions for the strategic and operational management of companies and organizations with a public or social function. In addition to consulting and solution development, Ardatis takes care of the operations, maintenance, and functional management of the applications and ICT infrastructure. Ardatis offers these services—if required in an outsourcing mode—to the whole market and for a broad range of technical environments. Located in Leuven, Belgium, Ardatis employs 400 people and realizes annual earnings of about 44 million Euros in Belgium and The Netherlands.