St. Louis, Missouri, USA -- October 21, 1996: Data Research Associates, Inc. (DRA) today announced that it has been selected by the country of Singapore to provide the hardware, software and software-customization components for the project, dubbed LibServ, that will link leading libraries in Singapore and create a "Network of Borderless Libraries."
The LibServ project grew out of recommendations from "Library 2000," a comprehensive study of library and information services in Singapore which was completed in 1994. LibServ's goal is to provide every citizen of Singapore with rapid access to the entire knowledge base represented by the country's approximately 550 national, academic, school and special libraries - realizing the Library 2000 vision where "tomorrow's library is one which continuously expands the nation's capacity to learn through a network of libraries and information resource centres providing services and learning opportunities to support the advancement of Singapore."
Commenting in the Library 2000 Report, the Review Committee, articulating the views of the Government, said, "Lifelong learning and reskilling of our people are not choices. They are necessary for Singapore to stay relevant and competitive in the global economy."
When complete, LibServ will provide Singaporeans with:
- Access to catalogues of participating libraries through a common user interface
- Ability to borrow and reserve items from any participating library
- Ability to request and renew materials on-line
- Ability to request information
The tender award was granted to DRA because of its demonstrated commitment to and implementation of consensus standards for library automation and networking. During the course of the tender award process, DRA was able to demonstrate a plan of action for augmenting implementations of existing international standards with custom programming and TCP/IP-based networking, thereby allowing all of the country's libraries to interoperate, even though they use diverse automation systems. (TCP/IP is the suite of telecommunications and software protocols that governs the use of the Internet.)
LibServ will serve as the "trusted agent" intermediary between the variety of participating library systems and millions of end-users. DRA's design for the system will include advanced implementations of Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery (DD) to route desired materials, and to ensure the most efficient delivery of a desired print or electronic document.
For example, a Singapore citizen may connect into LibServ from home or office seeking a particular book, magazine article or other piece of information. LibServ will search all Participating Libraries -- a group that should include virtually all of the island's libraries after a multi-year phase-in period -- and determine which one offers the most efficient delivery to the requesting person. The ILL and DD functions of LibServ then perform such advanced functions as determining if the requester is a patron of the chosen library, allocating and tracking any interlibrary charges that may occur when the chosen library lends the item to the requester's "home" library, alerting a librarian if human intervention is required, and providing for delivery of the requested material.
LibServ is a multi-agency effort, with the National Computer Board as the architect and catalyst, and the newly established National Library Board and other organizations such as the National Science and Technology Board as key user champions. The major academic, national and public libraries, and other selected libraries participated in articulating the requirements.
"Singapore has a richly deserved reputation as a worldwide technological leader," says Michael J. Mellinger, President and CEO of DRA. "The Library 2000 initiative and resulting LibServ project illustrate a tremendous vision for the potential of libraries, not just in Singapore but around the world. We are greatly honored that Singapore has selected us as its partner in implementing this vision."
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. DRA is the sole library automation vendor currently a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an industry consortium to develop Web standards and specifications. DRA's World Wide Web page is located at http://www.dra.com.