July 28, 1999 (Denver)--CARL Corporation rolled out its next generation library automation system -- the CARL Information Management and Delivery System (IMDS) -- to the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore's 58 public library branches on July 8. The installation consists of a total of five user-friendly interfaces for circulation as well as Everybody's Catalog, CARLweb, and switch-on-the-fly multilingual OPAC interfaces. This system is backed by the processing power of Compaq's Tandem S7000 Himalaya series servers.
During the first week of use in the NLB libraries, CARL's IMDS processed nearly 1.5 million total transactions. At this rate of circulation, the CARL system in the NLB libraries is projected to process 30 million annual loans, surpassing the previous year's record of 25 million.
Total transactions during the first seven days live on the CARL system (July 8-14, 1999):
- Overall Transactions 1,446,887
- Loans 661,682
- Returns 852,840
The implementation at NLB includes a range of end-user service options. Five circulation interfaces meet the users' needs at several points within and outside the library:
The IMDS graphical circulation interface is used by library staff for all functions.
End users have access to 150 self-service circulation stations -- including 3M SelfCheck(tm) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identifier systems that employ a chip embedded in the library material).
CARL's multilingual Phone Circulation system allows users to place holds and renew items online.
Borrower Enquiry ("BNQ") stations allow users to consult their records and pay fines and fees using cash card technology.
June Garcia, CARL's Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our technologies used in Singapore, such as Unicode multilingual interfaces and the broad range of patron self services, will benefit domestic library users as well as those in Asia."
Unicode-Based Multilingual Access
The NLB's new library system is providing user-friendly multilingual public access, designed to provide easy and powerful OPAC access options for all, from the very young to the very old. The NLB is using a mix of Everybody's Catalog and CARLweb stations, with English and Malay available throughout the system in the live database, and Chinese available through the Web in a mirror database which contains Unicode-based bibliographic records for all of NLB's Chinese holdings. The National Library Board is doing focused usability testing with several Chinese input devices. The Tamil interface and database will be available at the end of 1999. Across languages, CARLweb allows the user to switch "on the fly" to another language without losing the context of the search.
CARL president Patricia Culkin said, "This implementation was the first phase of a multiple phase effort, laying down the infrastructure for a powerful set of information solutions to carry the nation of Singapore into the next century." She added, "The National Library Board is a terrific proving ground for our system, since they demand the very best in public service and staff workflow in a record-setting high transaction processing environment."
The National Library Board serves the 3.7 million people of Singapore through its three-tier hierarchy of libraries -- regional, community, and community children's libraries -- which cater to Singaporeans from all walks of life. The NLB aims to provide the people of Singapore with a world-class library system, which is convenient, accessible and useful, and which will help the nation realize its vision of a "knowledge-based" economy.
Mr. Beh Chew Leng, NLB's Chief Information Officer reiterated, "The new library system will be the platform for fast and efficient information retrieval and will be able to support the anticipated information requirements in the new millennium. More importantly, with the friendly graphical user and multilingual interfaces, we will be able to meet the needs of -- and have the potential to provide more services to -- all our customers."
Large Scale Migration
The NLB replaced a 12 year-old system with the CARL IMDS. The conversion processed 730,000 bibliographic records, 6.3 million holdings records, 2.3 million user records, 3.4 million transactions, and 716 holds. Culkin called the migration "complex, challenging, and very successful."
The NLB system is being supported by a facilities management contract from CARL East, Pte Ltd. The facilities management group consists of 10 full time staff working in Operations, Application Support, and Programming Support (for special projects and peripheral products).
The CARL Information Management and Delivery System in the Singapore NLB runs on Compaq's Tandem S7000 Himalaya server. The 12 CPU system will provide reliability and scalability for round the clock access.
CARL Corporation (www.carl.org), based in Denver, Colorado, is a leading developer of technology solutions for libraries. Over 1,000 libraries, serving 15 million library users, have selected CARL systems and products. CARL Corporation's systems and products for libraries include: the CARL Information Management and Delivery System (IMDS), the UnCover online article database, Kid's Catalog, Everybody's Catalog, CARLweb, and Dialog@CARL.
CARL East, Pte Ltd was formed in October 1998 to facilitate delivery of CARL's technology solutions to libraries in Singapore and other nations in the Southeast Asia. It will also provide local support to the National Library Board of Singapore, and the Singapore Ministry of Education, and will provide a laboratory for continued development of multilingual database options.