TORONTO, Ontario, January 21, 1999. A-G Canada Ltd. has been selected to implement a resource sharing system with a choice of access by Internet, stand-alone PC or CD-ROM system for nearly 300 public libraries in the Province of Ontario. This contract award marks the first installation that merges the technologies of A-G Canada and its parent company, Auto-Graphics Inc.
The Information Network for Ontario (INFO), a library consortium which includes two provincial agencies serving public libraries, the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and the Ontario Library Service, North and the recently amalgamated Toronto Public Library, launched its first CD-ROM based union catalogue in 1992. Over the next few months, INFO will oversee a consolidated online union catalogue of over 4 million unique records and an interlibrary loan service for its member libraries which serve a provincial population of over 11 million people.
"There is a considerable amount of technology behind INFO, but it is invisible to patrons," said Barbara Franchetto, deputy director of SOLS. "People will use their local library catalogue as always, except now they will also have access to an online union catalogue that spans the entire province."
The scope of the project requires the combined resources of A-G Canada and its parent company, Auto-Graphics Inc., headquartered in Pomona, Calif., according to A-G Canada General Manager Brian Morrell. "The Ontario consortium has expressed a diverse and complex set of needs, and we are the only company with a mix of products and experience to meet them all."
It is not the size of the database or incumbent relationship that earned the contract in the opinion of William Kliss, chief operating officer at A-G Canada and Auto-Graphics. "The key factor in our selection is our willingness to use all of our assets to configure a wide range of application solutions dependent upon each library's needs, rather than the typical one-solution-fits-all approach," he said. "No other company in the world can match what we are able to do and how we support the resource sharing trend."
Elements of the multiple solutions include the Impact/ONLINETM suite of web-based services; Impact/CDTM, a CD-ROM catalogue service; Impact/TRACEitTM, a web reference service; and the AVISOTM standalone desktop system for interlibrary loan management.
Approximately 100 of the consortium libraries which can provide Internet access to a union catalogue will implement the Impact/ONLINE resource sharing system. Patrons may request an interlibrary loan if a title is not available locally. The library staff will use the Impact/ONLINE resource sharing system to manage interlibrary loans.
Those libraries which are not yet equipped for Internet transactions will use a CD-ROM union catalogue of consortia holdings and the AVISO software to process and manage their interlibrary loan requests. Those libraries may upgrade to Impact/ONLINE at any time by supporting a web browser and Internet connectivity, Morrell added.
In addition, INFO has purchased a block of 100,000 database searches using Impact/TRACEit, which provides holdings of more than 600 institutions and 2,500 public libraries throughout Canada, as well as worldwide information sources. The A-G Canada collection contains more than 50 million bibliographic records, and the combined databases of A-G Canada and Auto-Graphics represent one of the largest library record contents in North America.
Both A-G Canada and Auto-Graphics are prior service providers to the Ontario library consortia. The U.S. company installed the CD-ROM catalogue system several years ago, while A-G Canada has provided UTLAS search services since its creation from the mid-1997 acquisition of ISM Library Information Services by Auto-Graphics.
A-G Canada Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Auto-Graphics Inc., a company which has capitalized on new technology as it becomes available, providing information publishing and database resource sharing systems to the publishing and library communities.