DUBLIN, Ohio, July 6, 2000--The OCLC WebExpress service is now available to libraries worldwide, providing an easy-to-use, integrated gateway to local and remote Z39.50 information resources through a single, locally customized interface that puts the library at the forefront as an information provider.
"The OCLC WebExpress service gives librarians the power to create a system that is uniquely designed to meet the needs of their users," said Frank Hermes, vice president, OCLC Marketing and Planning. "With OCLC WebExpress, librarians without programming experience can focus on facilitating information access to their users through an interface they can design themselves."
OCLC WebExpress brings the library's full range of resources together by providing user access through a single interface to both remote and local information resources, such as the library catalog, the OCLC FirstSearch service and non-OCLC Z39.50 reference databases. These information resources receive automatic configuration updates through the OCLC WebExpress Service Center, a Web site intended for use by librarians or service administrators that also provides current documentation, training materials, upgrades, feedback forms, and contact and support information.
The information resources can also be linked to resource-sharing options.
"We see OCLC WebExpress as a way to integrate the diversity and range of electronic information resources that have become such a strategic part of our collections for faculty and students," said David Carlson, director of libraries at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, an OCLC WebExpress service subscriber. "We see the ability to integrate not only 'public domain' resourcesósuch as online library catalogs (including our own)óbut also the resources of commercial systems, especially full-text resources, into a seamless presentation. Finally, we were impressed with the product's ease of use and its balance of power with local configurationódown to the nitty-gritty issues at the display level."
The OCLC WebExpress administrator interface includes Wizards that make it easy to set up access to information resources, group those resources for users, and set up user authentication.
The administrator chooses the user interface look and feel, and creates a library home page if the library does not already have one. The library also has the option to allow users to create individual, customized OCLC WebExpress sub-accounts, which can store individual user information like search strategies for later use, user-specified URLs, or user-specified address information to make it more convenient for the user to complete interlibrary loan request forms. Libraries can also earn Amazon.com referral fees by having users purchase books through the OCLC WebExpress "Buy It" feature.
The administrator interface will connect to the OCLC WebExpress Service Center.
"The service center, with all its updates, features and support, will make OCLC WebExpress an evolving, ongoing service linking the library and OCLC via the Web and distributed technology," said Mr. Hermes. "This kind of dynamic service will encourage libraries to remain on the cutting edge of technology and information access."
The OCLC WebExpress service comprises two components: the OCLC WebExpress Service Center, which includes the demonstrations, ordering information, documentation, training materials and a repository of Z39.50 configurations from OCLC; and the integration software, which is stored at the library site on the library's Linux or Solaris server and includes the administrative module that allows the librarian to customize the user interface, select and add Z39.50 resources, and set up various levels of patron authentication and profiling.
For more information, visit the OCLC WebExpress Service Center.
For more information:
Nita Dean +1-614-761-5002