Jerusalem, Israel -- March 29, 2007. At year-end 2006, four customer institutions joined Ex Libris Group MetaLib product-management and development teams in testing new MetaLib 4.0 product functionality prior to the general release of this version. Representatives from Portugal's Biblioteca do Conhecimento Online (b-On) library consortium, Britain?s Nottingham Trent University, and US-based Brown University and the Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education participated in this collaborative effort, which came in response to a request from the International Group of Ex Libris Users (IGeLU) and Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA) to take an active role in testing new versions of Ex Libris products.
During the testing period, participants were introduced to all aspects of product testing, took part in debriefing meetings, and worked directly with product developers?using test scripts and real-life scenarios?to explore product functionality from the perspective of end users and application managers.
The testing centered on the MetaLib 4.0 user interface: specifically, clustered search result presentation, direct integration with the SFX A-Z e-journal list, and simplified customization options. Enhancements in the staff interface and MetaLib Upgrade Express kit were also tested.
The collaborative testing with MetaLib customers enabled Ex Libris to expedite the move from field testing to general release. An early adopter program with a select group of MetaLib customers, who used the newly introduced Upgrade Express kit to independently upgrade their installations, was then initiated. As a result of the collaborative pre?release testing, early adopters enjoyed a smoother upgrade process. These customers provided Ex Libris with feedback that will benefit all MetaLib customers moving to version 4.0, now generally available. The new Upgrade Express kit, a key component of this product version, reflects the Ex Libris commitment to continually reducing customers? total cost of product ownership (TCO).
"We view the collaborative MetaLib 4.0 testing as successful and extremely valuable," summarized Jirka Kende, chairman of the IGeLU steering committee. "Participant recommendations for further improvement of this joint process have been discussed with Ex Libris management. We believe that cooperation like this is in the best mutual interest of the users and the Company. This testing process follows a long-established tradition of tight development collaboration in which various user-based focus groups have played an important role in the continuous development of all Ex Libris products."
"MetaLib 4.0 went into general release following the joint testing and was received very warmly by early adopters,? explained Karen Groves, MetaLib product manager. "Ex Libris and its customers maintain an open dialog that extends beyond the usual vendor-customer relationship. Each of our products was developed with valuable input from one or more top-tier institutions. Following the launch of a product, Ex Libris continues to communicate with users to find solutions for evolving library requirements.?
The Ex Libris MetaLib gateway and metasearch system enables users to access their institution's e-collections, obtain relevant services, and work in a personalized environment. Using the easily customized MetaLib user interface or the user interface of another application tightly integrated with MetaLib, library patrons can conduct a metasearch across heterogeneous resources or link to the resources' native interface.
The flexible MetaLib infrastructure accommodates both single institutions and consortia. Web-based administration tools enable librarians to quickly activate the full range of information resources that they offer their users. Integrated with the MetaLib system is the award-winning SFX® OpenURL-compliant link resolver, which provides users with context-sensitive linking to services that their institution has defined and customized on the basis of its e-collections and policies.
For additional information on MetaLib, see www.exlibrisgroup.com/metalib.htm.
About Ex Libris Group:
Ex Libris Group is a leading worldwide developer and provider of high-performance applications for libraries, information centers, and researchers, with installations around the globe. The Group's flagship ALEPH 500 and Voyager integrated library solutions are in use at over 3,000 sites worldwide. Other products from the Ex Libris suite, deployed at more than 1,300 sites, focus on the digital library and offer state-of-the-art, user-centric solutions for managing and providing informed access to electronic resources and digital assets.