DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS, USA June 28, 2000: Endeavor Information Systems announced today that The Open University (OU), based in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom has selected the Voyager integrated library management system. The library will use Voyager to supply its 180,000 students, 13 regional offices and 7,000 associate lecturers with integrated access, via an easy-to-use Web interface, to its electronic resources as well as to the catalogues of its own and other libraries. Voyager replaces the Libertas system at the Open University Library.
The OU educates students in the United Kingdom and in 43 countries around the globe. A non-traditional university, the Open University's average student is 34 years old. The ages of graduates range from 18 – 94, with the youngest student being age 11. One of the largest universities in the world, most of its 180,000 students complete their courses from home each year. About 75 percent of OU students are employed full time in addition to studying.
The Open University was founded in 1969 as a distance learning institution to provide access to university-level education regardless of the student's location or previous educational background. Originally, Open University courses were complemented by BBC radio broadcasts. Today, they are more likely to be accompanied with BBC television programs and are now further supported by multi-media and Internet-based resources and Internet-based conference facilities.
In the last five years, the library at The Open University has changed dynamically from a library used primarily by faculty and course teams to a learning environment which the majority of students will never physically visit, but can easily access from home or from their workplace. Many students begin their studies with a foundation level course that sometimes includes both a Windows and Internet introduction, leading students into technology gently by providing the training material to help them become computer literate.
"We wanted a library and information management system which would be appropriate to our very diverse user base, many of whom we will never be able to train face-to-face and who may be accessing the system via a wide range of browsers," explained Dr. Ross Mackenzie, the Open University Library's Systems Manager. "The new system had to be straightforward to use, but also allow both simple and sophisticated searches."
"We are looking forward to using the Voyager library and information management system as a tool to further enhance our service to our customers," affirmed Nicky Whitsed, Director of Library Services at the Open University.
"Our primary focus is to give libraries the local automation system they need," commented Jane Burke, Endeavor's President and CEO. "The Open University is a unique case where the local system actually needs to be a global system to provide full access and the full library experience to the OU users."
"Open's students have a geographical challenge in visiting their library, so information must be delivered via networks. With Endeavor's commitment of access to information regardless of location or format, Open can offer an entire range of search options from a single access point," Burke continued. "Endeavor understands the requirements of successful distance learning programs. Working with the Open University is beneficial to help us continue to work with distance learning strategies and to further develop effective features for European libraries."
The Open University was rated by The Daily Telegraph in the top 15 percent of all UK universities for teaching quality. Visit http://www.open.ac.uk/library for more information on the Open University Library.
Endeavor Information Systems Incorporated, based in Des Plaines, Illinois, was founded in 1994. Over 650 academic and research libraries of every size have chosen Voyager, Endeavor's high performance library system. For more information, visit Endeavor at www.endinfosys.com