Blacksburg, VA. The Egyptian National Agricultural Library (ENAL) recently became the first Arabic site to announce a decision to migrate from classic VTLS to Virtua ILS – Integrated Library Systems.
"Virtua is very easy to use," says Dr. Mahmoud Kamel, Director of ENAL. "The [Graphical User Interface], Web interface and Unicode features of Virtua will cover our needs."
"ENAL's decision to move to Virtua ILS is a testimony to the system's ability to provide full Arabic language support," says Jack Bazuzi, VTLS' Corporate Vice President of International Operations. "VTLS expects ENAL to lead the way for other customers in the Middle East to install Virtua ILS." The next Middle East library to run Virtua ILS will be the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Others are slated to migrate to Virtua over the next several months.
"VTLS' successes are the result of a strong corporate commitment to support Arab libraries. We have a qualified Arabic-speaking staff that guides the design, development and support of Arabic in Virtua We also have qualified partners who provide local support and testing in the Middle East," says Mr. Bazuzi.
Today Virtua ILS stands alone in its ability to offer a multilingual user interface and can mix Arabic and other languages in the same database, records, tags and sub-fields. Virtua's handling of Arabic is comprehensive and flexible. It includes support for language standards for input, display, storage and sorting. The user interface is also completely available in Arabic for both the client and the Web-based interface.
"Through our meetings with colleagues in other libraries, [ENAL] found that Virtua is the leader in providing full Arabic support which includes Arabic characteristics," says Dr. Kamel.
ENAL, located in Giza, the same city where the wondrous Egyptian pyramids stand, has been a VTLS customer since 1994. The library has chosen 64-user license and acquired Virtua's OPAC, cataloging, acquisitions, serials and web gateway features. ENAL is the first agricultural library in the Middle East and is modeled after the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. ENAL houses a collection of over 23,000 book and reference titles, and over 850 journals with back issues on microforms. In addition, the library keeps over 12,000 agricultural theses on microfiche that will be cataloged on Virtua ILS.