On Friday 14 October, the National Library of Wales signed a contract with VTLS Inc of the USA, which will bring about major advances in the Library's online services. The National Library of Wales already has one of Wales's most visited internet sites and this massive new investment, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, will make it much easier to access the Library's huge range of collections.
The new contract signed with VTLS will bring together records for around 3 million of the Library's books and journals, about 55,000 archive and manuscript records, as well as 60,000 records of the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales onto one comprehensive system. It will make finding resources easier for researchers in the Library and for those who use the catalogues remotely with the Library's website receiving nearly 600,000 hits every month. Gwyn Jenkins, Director of Collection Services at the National Library in Aberystwyth is very excited that a new chapter in the Library's online services is about to be written.
Mr. Jenkins explained at the signing ceremony, "The new Information Management System will replace several current individual computer systems and will allow searching of all the Library's collections through one interface. It will manage the accession, cataloguing, access and storage of all the Library's collections and will also be the basis of wider services, including specific services for libraries in Wales, in co-operation with CyMAL: Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales. The system will improve access to the Library's collections via its website. It will be possible to search all the catalogues through one search and will also allow more specific searching to take place."
It is expected that the main elements of the new system will be in place by the spring of 2006 and further enhanced features will be added in 2006-07. It will replace the various systems, which the Library has used since 1986.
The National Library of Wales signed a contract with VTLS Inc. for the VIRTUA - ILS product, VITAL - institutional repository, VERIFY Electronic Rights Management, and AquaBrowser, the graphic search tool. The VIRTUA system will be a 200-user system running on a LINUX platform. The library's purchase of VIRTUA included cataloging, circulation, acquisitions, serials, iPortal, InfoStation, Ad Hoc Reporting and FRBR. The VERIFY system was purchased with a 10-user license.
Viginia-based VTLS have provided state-of-the-art library automation systems to more than 900 libraries worldwide. The project is being overseen by Jack Bazuzi, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of VTLS Europe. Mr. Bazuzi said, "We are proud to be associated with National Library of Wales and are grateful for the trust that the Library staff has placed in us. Everyone at VTLS is happy with the opportunity to implement and support this far-reaching project. We look forward to many years of cooperation and growth together."
Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, said: "Information technology plays an important role in people's lives these days and it's good to see this kind of technology is being transferred to libraries. This technology will make accessing some of Wales' most historic and important documents easier for people, wherever they are."
The contract was signed on behalf of the Library by the Librarian, Mr Andrew Green, and by Dr. Vinod Chachra, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer VTLS Inc.