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PICA Annual Report 2000

Copyright (c) 2001 PICA

Abstract: The year 2001 went satisfactorily with a growth of operating turnover of 14% to more than B 8.700.000,– and an operating result before taxation of B 5.000,–. The growth of turnover was the result of turnover growth in all product groups, in particular in projects, end user services and international activities.


The year 2001 went satisfactorily with a growth of operating turnover of 14% to more than B 8.700.000,– and an operating result before taxation of B 5.000,–. The growth of turnover was the result of turnover growth in all product groups, in particular in projects, end user services and international activities.

The theme of 2001 was renewal.

In the years 2000 and 2001, investments in computer equipment were realised for the purpose of the new technical infrastructure that will become operational in 2002.

After OCLC began participating in Pica B.V. in 2000, work began in 2001 to revise the organisational structure and to integrate OCLC EMEA, the European office of OCLC Inc, based in Birmingham, UK, with Pica B.V. into a single European regional organisation that will operate, while maintaining independence, under the name OCLC PICA, from 1 January 2002.

On advice of KPMG and in close consultation with staff and the Works Council, a structure was developed that consists of three customer-oriented Business Units that are responsible for maintaining relations with customers of OCLC PICA and for providing support of services and products.

The Northern Europe business unit will serve Great- Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe from Birmingham. The Southern Europe unit will operate from Paris, where an office will be opened in 2002, that will cover France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Turkey and Israel. The Western Europe unit will be based in Leiden and will be responsible for the Benelux countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The managing director with his staff and the Information Technology Center (ITC) will be based at the main office in Leiden. ITC is responsible for development and management of the technical infrastructure and for development and technical support of services and products aimed at the European users.

In addition to organisational issues, a lot of time was spent on enhancing products and services and implementing a new technical infrastructure.

After initial delays, the development of the LBS4-system for local library management was completed at the end of 2001.

Preparations were made to internationalise the PiCarta service and further developments were started which will lead to the launch of a renewed PiCarta service in 2002, with a first start to a European Catalogue and facilities for international interlibrary loan.

In cooperation with the Catholic University Brabant, iPort was developed that can be used as information portal by individual libraries and consortia. Finally, the migration of the central GGC/NCC services from the Tandem Platform to a Sun- Unix environment was completed with the installation of the newly developed software on the Sun test machine. In the first half of 2002, this new software will become operational and the Tandem platform will be shut down.

With the completion of these activities, some of them multi-year projects, Pica has created a strong position to serve as a basis for a further successful expansion of the organisation to become a significant European player.

With a new organisational structure, with the contribution of the OCLC sales organisation in Birmingham, with products tailored to the European market and with the renewed technical infrastructure, OCLC PICA enters an exciting new phase.

OCLC PICA will build on the strong financial and programmatic results that were achieved in the past 30 years by Pica and OCLC and it is therefore possible to start the new phase in the development of Pica as OCLC PICA with self confidence and drive.



Since the launch of PiCarta in 1998, it has become clear that users in all types of libraries are increasingly doing their own database searches and placing their own requests for documents and interlibrary loans. It seems as if there is no stop to the success of PiCarta. More and more libraries decided to subscribe to this service: in addition to the academic and public libraries the number of libraries in ministries, for profit organisations and research institutions grew in particular. In 2001, a growing number of libraries in Belgium began using the PiCarta service, resulting in an increase of document delivery across the border both in paper and electronic form.

Between 1998 and 2001, the number of searches in PiCarta increased from about 50.000 to almost 2.400.000. There is no reason to believe that this growth will not continue in 2002.

There is increasing interest in the PiCarta service outside the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2001, a pilot was done to explore how the PiCarta service can contribute to international interlibrary loan (ILL). Participants in this pilot were the university libraries of Bremen, Göttingen and Hannover and the Staatsbibliothek Berlin in Germany and the university libraries of Groningen, Nijmegen and Twente and the Royal Library in the Netherlands. In this pilot, the title descriptions of the libraries in the 7 northern federal states of Germany together with the descriptions of the German Zeitschriftendatenbank (journals) were added to the PiCarta collections. In addition to the databases already mentioned, this first inter-European central catalogue includes the records of Online Contents and the OCLC NetFirst descriptions of electronic sources which comprise more than 65 million records. By reading these titles into this catalogue, similar titles are connected to each other with a unique key, so that a German user will first see the title descriptions in the German language with the holding information of the German libraries. Similarly, Dutch users first get to see the title descriptions in the Dutch language with the library information of the Netherlands.

The PiCarta pilot provided interesting information on the way in which ILL traffic across borders should be organised and preparations the participation libraries have to make. This information led to a list of recommendations on the basis of which OCLC PICA will release a new version of the software and will operationalise an international service.

Internationalisation is becoming an increasing area of attention within the library profession, as indicated by statistics regarding the use of the link in PiCarta to OCLC WorldCat. More and more, library users come to this worldwide catalogue to see if literature that is not available through PiCarta may perhaps be present in an American library. Comparing the figures of 2001 with 2000 it is clear that 2001 shows a considerable increase in searches by library users in OCLC WorldCat. Based on this interest, plans are under way to implement in 2002 a transatlantic ILL service between PiCarta and WorldCat and later, with other OCLC databases.

At the beginning of 2001, Factlane and Pica concluded a contract whereby Pica will make available the archives of five important Dutch newspapers to Dutch public libraries. The articles from ten years of Algemeen Dagblad, Trouw, Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad and Parool were indexed and made available through the orange-coloured interface. Since the inauguration of the “Krantenbank” (newspaper database) on 1 May 2001, more than 11 million Dutchmen can consult the newspaper ‘only within the library' whereby the ‘newspaper of yesterday' is available online today. The number of search requests increased in the first year from about 13.000 per month in June to about 25.000 per month in the last few months of the year. Since the end of 2001, the Krantenbank is also offered by Factlane to institutions for higher education and universities, and it is expected that this will lead to an even further increase of searches next year.

Several years ago, Pica began work on a modest scale with an electronic information function for public libraries. Using the Question and Answer database, a library visitor can submit questions on all kinds of subjects which are then answered by e-mail by the local information officer.

The number of questions doubled in 2001 compared to 2000. The Question and Answer database can also be consulted as a knowledge database because it can be searched by any word and all questions asked and their answers are stored in it. The number of searches in the Question and Answer knowledge database increased in the course of 2001. In the coming year, work with this database is expected to increase in conjunction with other OCLC initiatives in the field of the ‘virtual reference desk'.


The migration of the software of the central library system was the principal activity in 2001. For more than 15 years, the Tandem software supplied a continued service to libraries in the Netherlands, Germany and, more recently, France. But the limits of this technological platform had been reached, and in 1999 the Guardian- Unix-Migration (GUM)-project was started. Its goals are to make the Pica central library system software suitable for further development, to reduce operating costs and to become fully compatible with international library standards.

At the end of 2001, all software was ready for the first implementation. Pica had never before undertaken a project of this magnitude, which from the end of 1999 until the end of 2001 has required almost 14 man years of effort to convert the software.

At year's end, the new software had been installed in the Netherlands. Following conversion of databases, testing of off-line orders, and loading of third-party databases that provide background support for cataloguing, the system is expected to become operational in April 2002.

Soon thereafter, the partners in Germany and France will also move their systems from Tandem to the open system. In addition to migrating software from Tandem to Unix, Pica released new versions to continue the services to Dutch libraries and foreign partners. The central system was adapted to accept the Z39.50 protocol, both for searching the database and for updating the catalogue data. Also the Euro currency was implemented, which meant that from the middle of 2001, the currency amounts were not only shown in Dutch guilders but also in Euros.

The local library management and information system LBS4 was launched, later than expected, on 4 December in the auditorium of the Royal Library in The Hague. The system forms an essential link for library staff to organise their work as efficiently as possible, and avoid duplication of effort. The fourth generation of Pica LBS offers library staff a modern interface based on webtechnology for lending, journals and order administration. The Online Public Access Catalogue also uses this technology so that an optimal intuitive interface can be offered to staff and visitors and so that library information can be made available through the internet day and night. Unfortunately, it was not implemented in 2001; however, after the launch by the sounding board group in the Royal Library, several libraries asked to use the new system. In 2002, LBS4 will also be implemented in Germany in different libraries. In December 2001, Pica introduced the LBS4-system in France, where librarians also welcomed the benefits to library workflows that result from its seamless integration of local and central applications.


Integral to the central and local library system is WinIBW, the intelligent bibliographical workstation. In 2001, the second generation of this software was offered to Pica's users. At the end of 2001 more than 90% of all cataloguing staff in Europe had switched from the DOS version to Windows. Also more than 1000 cataloguing staff in France started to use WinIBW as part of the ABES SUDOC project. This makes WinIBW the most-used cataloguing work station in Europe. The management of Microsoft Windows applications has become a growing worry to libraries and that is why OCLC PICA will start to transfer the functionality of WinIBW to a web-oriented application in 2002.

Now that libraries use an increasing number of sources outside their own catalogue and make the national central catalogue available to their users, a need has emerged for a tool to search all those different sources through a single interface and preferably simultaneously. That is why Pica and the Catholic University Brabant in Tilburg developed ‘iPort', the internet information portal. The first version of this portal software was shown to a select company of UKB and WSF libraries in the Royal Library on 25 June 2001 and in September to a larger group of interested libraries. Also in Germany and France several meetings and workshops were organised for interested libraries in the fall of 2001. Since then, libraries have started to request installation of iPort as their portal to the various information databases.


After the transfer of tasks and responsibilities with regard to the management of the Netherlands information infrastructure from the Royal Library to Pica, the advisory council LIIS met twice in 2001. The advisory council is chaired by the general director of the Royal Library and includes representation from the UKB, and Dutch public and special libraries.

The advisory council discussed the possibility of including other materials, particularly electronic documents, in the Netherlands Central Catalogue in addition to books and journals. Pica was asked to write a policy document on this.

In 2001, Pica achieved a long-standing desire to provide access through the standard Z39.50 protocol to the Dutch central databases such as NCC, Online Contents as well as several ORS databases. This access is particularly interesting to users of university libraries because academic staff and students can add bibliographic data directly into literature references.

Usage statistics demonstrate the benefit of a well-functioning nationwide infrastructure. While the number of ILL requests had stabilised in the Netherlands in the past years at around 530.000, since the introduction of PiCarta in 1998, the number of direct ILL requests by library users increased from less than 4000 to almost 100.000, while the number of ILL requests by library staff decreased from 450.000 to 340.000. Clearly, the new service is benefiting libraries and their users.

In 2001, almost as many new titles were added to the GGC as in the past years which means that the annual growth stabilises around 430.000. The use of OCLC WorldCat as secondary source for cataloguing increased further. In 2001, good progress was made in the IWI project ‘Nationwide coverage NCC'. At the end of the year, all titles of the Technical University Delft had been added and were available for interlibrary loan.



On 11 September more than 250 invited guests from Germany, the Netherlands and the United States were celebrating the fact that it had been 10 years since the first contacts had been established to realise implementation of Pica's central systems in the German library cooperatives. Ten years of cooperation have born their fruit now that the following participants use Pica's CBS to build the central catalogues and handle ILL: Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg- Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thüringen (united in the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund), Hesse (HEBIS) and Die Deutsche Bibliothek as well as the Zeitschriftendatabank (ZDB, journal database). The use of Pica's local library system continues to increase. More than 100 different libraries use LBS and in 2001, 17 Max Planck institutes were connected to a central LBS service in which they can access capabilities without having to worry about systems management.

Just as in the Netherlands, implementations of OPC4 were started in Germany in 2001. OPC4 is the latest version of Pica's online public access catalogue based on the latest technologies such as http, HTML and XML.

The Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin was the first to open OPC4 to the public. In May, more than 6 million titles could be searched online by the library user and on each word from the title description.

The celebration of the 10th anniversary on September 11 took place while the terrible disaster was going on in the United States. That is why the festive speech that was held less than four hours after the disaster had a special character. Jay Jordan (CEO and President of OCLC) managed to hold the audience spellbound and quiet as a mouse for half an hour with the remarks he delivered entirely in German.


The year started early in France, on 22 December, with the closing of all preparatory phases of the ABES project and the start of the fourth phase: connecting about 100 university libraries. A tight time schedule was closely followed in order to connect these libraries and to provide them with the necessary training. The fourth phase went completely according to plan and in the first quarter of 2002 all libraries will have gone from their traditional way of working to the Système Universitaire de Documentation (SUDOC) of ABES.

With this, an important milestone in the French library landscape has been reached: previously 15 libraries processed their titles in the BN Opale system, 45 in OCLC WorldCat and 24 in the Sybil network. Also, there were still libraries that only catalogued their titles in their own local system. Interlibrary loan and document exchange and delivery were not encouraged by this disintegration of libraries. The installation of the Pica CBS, however, will integrate these heretofore unintegrated activities. On 14 November 2001, the new version of the ABES national catalogue was made available to users: 4,3 million titles with 12,7 million holding data can now be searched and users can place their ILL requests online. The number of catalogue-related searches in the system in 2001 was 1.684.821.

Catholic University Brabant

On 23 January 2001, Mrs. Yvonne van Rooy, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Catholic University Brabant (KUB) and Mr. Look Costers, director of Pica, signed an agreement to cooperate in further development of Decomate. This software was developed by the KUB with the London School of Economics and the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona as part of the Decomate project that was financed partially by the European Commission. Pica will use the results of this project as the basis for the portal software to search more than one database simultaneously and also as a service within PiCarta. The cooperation agreement initially runs three years. In 2001, the first results of this cooperation were already visible. During a meeting in the Royal Library on 25 June, both UKB and WSF libraries were introduced to iPort: the portal software of Pica.

International Standard Committees

In 2001, Pica reinvigorated its participation in international standards committees and reaffirmed its commitment to the importance of these standards. At present, Pica participates in the following committees:

  • Z39.50 implementers' Group (ZIG). Pica contributed discussion papers relating to holdings search and attributes, diagnostics and scan.
  • Member of the ad hoc group ZING (formerly ZNG) to develop a next generation for Z39.50 using modern technology.
  • Member of the group developing the Bath profile, an international profile for the implementation of Z39.50 in bibliographic systems.
  • Joint Editor / compiler of Union Catalogue Profile (UCP) over Z39.50 in conjunction with the National Library of Australia.
  • Convener of TC46 / SC4 / WG7 on data element standards. Editor of 8459-4 - Circulation data elements (IS status), and 8459-5 - Cataloguing data elements (DIS status).
  • NISO working group (invited member) to determine possibility of a protocol standard and data structure for the exchange of reference queries.


Pica has been active for many years in LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche). In 2001, the 30th annual conference was held in the British Library in London. The pre-conference seminar “Transatlantic cooperation furthering the aims of research libraries” was organised by the OCLC Institute. During this seminar, Janet Lees announced in her lecture the integration of OCLC EMEA and Pica to become the European library organisation OCLC PICA, effective 1 January 2002. As usual, Anton Bossers represented Pica during the preseminar and conference. After being a member of the LIBER Executive Board for many years and a Treasurer, he acted as Auditor this year (reappointed until and including 2002).



In 2001, changes to the organisational structure were prepared in light of the intended integration of Pica with the English office of OCLC in Birmingham (OCLC EMEA). It was decided that the two customer-oriented Business Units (Library Services and Online Information Services) would be brought together under one manager. This business unit will be operational starting 1 January 2002 under the name Western Europe, and will be responsible for the customers in the Benelux countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The other two customer-oriented business units of OCLC PICA will be Northern Europe operating from Birmingham (Great- Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, Eastern-Europe) and Southern Europe from Paris (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Turkey and Israel).

Employee participation

In September, a new works council was established after the terms of the current members had expired. Two members stood for re-election and were re-elected and two new members were appointed.

The works council advised about the intended integration with OCLC EMEA and about the merging of the two customer-oriented business units to one, Western Europe, as described above. The works council was also involved in the assessment of the profile for recruitment of the new managing director in 2002.

Recurring topics in meetings with management were the revision of the Terms of Employment and pre-pension. Much progress was made in both areas, and it is foreseen that these issues will be concluded in the first quarter of 2002.


On 31 December 2001, Pica employed 83 persons, (76,1 fte): 55 male (52,4 fte, 69%) and 28 female (23,7 fte, 31%). 14 staff members (8 male and 6 female) left Pica. 26 new staff members (13 male, 13 female) were appointed. Because it was difficult to fill all vacancies, a number of people were hired externally from employment and posting agencies. On 31 December, 6 temporary staff were still hired externally. The average age of the Pica employees at 31 December was 40,2; the average number of years of employment 7,0. Apart from that, there were two staff members who celebrated, for the first time in Pica's history, their 25th anniversary at Pica.

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Publication Year:2001
Type of Material:Document
Language English
Place of Publication:Leiden
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Record Number:18465
Last Update:2013-10-14 14:57:59
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