July 16, 1998. German-speaking Swiss universities chose ALEPH. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the Universities of German-speaking Switzerland have concluded contracts with Ex Libris for the installation of ALEPH500 at five sites.
In 1996, the German-speaking Swiss university libraries decided that their four different automation systems must all be replaced within three years and that future co-operation between them should be enhanced by implementing a single and novel library system.
The following libraries and networks have joined a new information co-operative, the Informationsverbund Deutschschweiz (IDS):
- the library network of the universities of Basel and Bern
- the Zürich network with the ETH- Library and the Zurich Central Library
- the library network of the University of Zürich
- the libraries of the University of St. Gallen
- the Lucerne Central Library
The IDS thus comprises about 250 libraries, from smaller special libraries to the best known and prestigious large libraries in Switzerland, as well as the so-called "national technical library" of the ETH. Together, these institutions make available some 16 million volumes to around 230,000 users in- and outside Switzerland.
To start, the data of the existing systems will be converted to the new, uniformly configured ALEPH500 systems. Later, a union catalogue will incorporate these data. When all is done, the IDS users will be able to place orders at any of the participating libraries. The new system will also support joint acquisition and diffusion of electronic information.
In conjunction with the contract conclusion, the IDS has issued the following statement:
"In 1996, the partners in the new information network established a detailed requirements profile for the future library automation system and launched an international tender according to GATT rules. After a thorough evaluation of submitted offers, the conference of library directors opted unanimously for ALEPH500. The evaluation committee concluded that the current state of development of ALEPH and the references of Ex Libris were the best possible guarantee for a successful implementation of the project. Above all, Ex Libris was capable of offering convincing proposals for the realisation of the union catalogue and an overall circulation network. Ex Libris has imparted an impression of great openness of mind, co-operation and willingness toward the elaboration of innovative solutions."
"The IDS libraries look forward with great satisfaction to working with Ex Libris and expect to offer first results to their users in the course of 1999 by way of open access to all local catalogues through a uniform user interface."