St. Louis, Missouri, USA-February 19, 1998: The Illinois Library Computer Systems Organization (ILCSO) and Data Research Associates, Inc. (DRA) (NASDAQ: DRAI) today announced a comprehensive, fast-paced plan to bring more than 45 participating ILCSO libraries live on DRA's integrated library system this summer.
ILCSO's ILLINET Online union catalog is one of the world's largest consortial library automation projects. The 45 ILCSO member libraries are a diverse array of institutions, including all 13 of Illinois' state universities, three of which are members of the Association of Research Libraries; 25 private colleges and universities; five community colleges; the Illinois State Library, and the Illinois Math and Science Academy, a distinguished secondary school. The new DRA system will serve collections totaling more than 30 million items. The brief installation period results from the need to coordinate the varied calendars of the member institutions.
In late 1996, ILCSO chose to become one of the pioneering test sites for DRA's next-generation automation system, Taos. ILCSO has served as an alpha and beta test site for initial Taos modules.
The installation of live DRA software had been preliminarily scheduled for last summer. DRA and ILCSO opted to postpone implementation until this year, however, to take advantage of features of some of the Taos client modules, which were in beta test at the time. The upcoming installation will include advanced public access features available through the DRA Web2 product, including Unicode-based support of multiple alphabets and character sets. In addition, ILCSO members will be among the first libraries to use the Cataloging submodule of DRA's Technical Services client, which also includes Unicode support. ILCSO and DRA also are developing a statewide training program to begin in the spring.
To make a rapid conversion easier, ILCSO initially will run its production database on an enhanced DRA Classic server, including Unicode-based native language sorting and a CORBA interface to Taos clients. A Taos server also will be installed, initially in a beta-test environment, as a joint project between DRA and ILCSO. The Taos test server will be used to examine the policy and network implications of library systems' evolution to fully distributed, object-oriented client/server systems.
"From the beginning of our working relationship with DRA, ILCSO has been impressed with DRA's qualifications -- their current large library installations, their plans for employing emerging technologies, and their strategies for moving libraries from current to new technical platforms," said Kristine Hammerstrand, director of ILCSO. We're excited about DRA's ability to incorporate such features as advanced Web-based and object-oriented technologies into its products, and we look forward to implementing many new software features to serve ILCSO library users."
"Throughout this planning process, ILCSO and its members have illustrated both vision and flexibility," said Michael J. Mellinger, DRA President and CEO. "With the rapid rate of technological change, implementing a system of this magnitude while simultaneously keeping pace with that change has required close cooperation between us. We, too, are very excited to see all the planning coming to fruition, and we look forward to significant mutual benefits in the relationship between DRA and ILCSO for many years to come."
ILCSO was established in the late 1970s, with the introduction of the Library Computer System (LCS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ILCSO member institutions use the system as an online catalog and to support local and interlibrary circulation. The ILLINET Online network allows any of the 2,500-plus libraries in Illinois to borrow from ILCSO institutions. It also gives ILCSO member libraries access to numerous index, abstract and citation databases through the Illinois Bibliographic Information Service (IBIS). Its World Wide Web page is located at http://ilcso.aiss.uiuc.edu.
DRA, headquartered in St. Louis, is a leading systems integrator for libraries and other information providers, offering its own proprietary information services software; third-party software and hardware; Internet, World Wide Web and other networking services, and other related support services. Its World Wide Web page is located at http://www.dra.com.