Public libraries across The Netherlands have accomplished radical changes to access policies which have enabled new ways of sharing resources and working together. As a result of the new national initiative, the Dutch public will be able to search and request books, recorded music and sheet music from national, provincial and regional catalogues, should their request be unavailable at their local library. The new national initiative has been led by The Netherlands Public Library Association and will be a shared digital library service.
The Netherlands Public Library Association has selected FDI's VDX resource sharing solution as the technology that can make this cultural change in resource sharing a reality. VDX links together all the existing public library management systems in use for cross searching and enforces the individual access and loan policies of each public library whilst managing all the inter-library request traffic.
Friso Visser, Manager of BNL at The Netherlands Public Library Association, explains the reasons for the new national initiative, “Public libraries across The Netherlands recognise that they can now all benefit by sharing their resources more efficiently. With the new service in place we can speed up borrowing between libraries and provide better access to a wider range of print materials and recorded music. The VDX system provides a stable and versatile solution that can protect the lending policies of individual libraries and at the same time facilitate a shift in the culture of resource sharing.”
FDI's VDX solution integrates access to the individual library management systems already in use across public libraries in The Netherlands, including systems from suppliers Bibliomondo, HKA, GEAC, OCLC PICA, Truston and Sisis. By using VDX, individual libraries keep their existing systems as well as benefiting from having a single solution that will manage all resource sharing policies and request traffic.
VDX works with existing library management circulation systems, using the SIP2 protocol, in order to streamline the check-in and check-out of items that are being shared between libraries. An extension of the SIP2 protocol is also used to create and delete temporary items that local libraries can use to circulate to customers.
With the new service in place, the public will continue to be pointed to their local catalogue for searching items and making reservations. Should the item they have searched for not be found, the customer is then linked to other regional, provincial and national search engines, where they are able to request the item using VDX. VDX automatically verifies who can supply the item by checking holdings and availability (where this information is available), and then builds a rota of who can supply the item quickest. The rota takes into account the route and timetable for existing van delivery schemes in order to ensure the item is delivered as quickly as possible, whilst also taking into consideration the maximum cost a customer is prepared to pay for their request.
Through VDX, users will be authenticated using A-Select. The central A-Select server is able to recognise the customers' home library location and the local A-Select filter is able to verify the customers' borrowing rights.
The pilot run of the new service was completed in 2004 resulting in The Netherlands Public Library Association members meeting giving the green light for the roll-out of the service in 2005. The system will go live in 2005 followed by a large campaign throughout 2006.
About Fretwell-Downing Informatics
Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI) has a long history of supplying leading-edge information management solutions to over 200 organisations worldwide. FDI operates from its headquarters in the UK with a US subsidiary, Fretwell-Downing Inc., in North America plus additional offices in Australia and Europe. FDI's experience has resulted in a suite of well designed, proven solutions for the library, information and e-government markets. Solutions available include single search environments, information portals, library management, resource sharing & document delivery and data publishing. A strong software development team and a commitment to interoperability and open standards underpin the company's freedom by design philosophy. This enables FDI components to be built into a total solution or integrated alongside existing technologies.