A special technical committee made up of engineering faculty from several Egyptian universities has selected VTLS as the library automation solution for 18 engineering libraries throughout Egypt. "VTLS Inc. was chosen over 13 other vendors because it is among a few companies that offer library automation software which fulfills the requirements for the engineering libraries," said Dr. Mahmoud T. El-Hadidi, secretary for the Egyptian Engineering Library National Committee.
VTLS has been automating large library networks for more than 10 years. These networks evolved in order to support resource sharing as well as to reduce operational budgets. In Egypt, the engineering libraries' union catalogs, as well as their local catalogs, will contain both English and Arabic records. Patrons will be able to search in either language and will be able to change languages dynamically during a session. "We are pleased that the Egyptian engineering libraries have placed their confidence in VTLS and our products," said Jack Bazuzi, VTLS corporate vice president. Their selection of VTLS confirms our commitment to large networks and multilingual support."
The Engineering Libraries of Egyptian Universities (the consortium) project is a nationwide installation of VTLS products and is VTLS' sixth large-library network. The goal of the automation project is to automate the library information system for all 18 engineering libraries located at the Egyptian Universities. The project is funded by the World Bank through a loan allocated to a more general project called the Egyptian Engineering Development Project (EEDP). Dr. Hussein I. Anis, director of EEDP, recently visited VTLS Inc.'s headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia, to discuss implementation issues. His visit reflects the great importance and special significance of this project to the Egyptian universities.
The consortium will consist of three mirror VTLS union catalogs and 15 local VTLS systems. The union catalogs will be located at Cairo University, Alexandria University, and Assuit University. The union catalogs will be used to facilitate interlibrary loans and shared cataloging among faculty and students at the universities. The libraries' total number of current titles and volumes is estimated at 500,000 with an annual circulation of about 350,000. Approximately 150,000 patrons access the libraries' holdings.
In preparation for the October installation, Nancy Norton, VTLS customer services librarian, conducted a four-day training session on the MARC Bibliographic format at Helwan University, approximately 30 miles from Cairo. Twenty-five engineers representing the 18 libraries attended the MARC training. Each engineer then trained the staff at their library to catalog in the MARC format using the VTLS EasyCAT client. As part of the conversion effort, the libraries will be adopting the subject headings of the Library of Congress. This, as well as their move to the MARC format, will allow the institutions to take advantage of bibliographic utilities around the world.
The initial installation will consist of 18 IBM AIX (UNIX) servers connected via a series of local networks. The local networks are connected to the Internet thereby providing Internet support for all of the libraries. In addition to the base system consisting of OPAC, Cataloging, Authority Control, Statistics and Predefined Reports, the consortium purchased Circulation, Status Monitoring, Inventory Control, Serials Control, Acquisitions and Fund Accounting, GUI Clients, OCLC PRISM Online Cataloging Interface, VTLS-WEB Gateway and Union Database Loading Software. VTLS and ORASCOM, VTLS' authorized representative in Cairo, will be working together to install the software. Installation of the local systems is scheduled to begin in October 1997.