Blacksburg, Va. -- After a thorough evaluation of VTLS Inc. system test conversions, The Network of Libraries from Western Switzerland or Reseau des bibliotheques de Suisse occidentale (RERO) opened their union catalog to Virtua ILS – Integrated Library Systems on January 22, 2001. RERO, previously using VTLS-99, has been a VTLS Inc. customer since 1994 and represents one of the two largest union catalogs for French-speaking countries. “We were committed to move [to Virtua ILS] on this date and are confident that the transition will progress with ease,” says Bernard Levrat, Director of RERO.
Each of the 181 libraries in RERO belongs to one of seven regional nodes that, in turn, contribute to the RERO union catalog. One of these regional nodes, Valais, will migrate to Virtua ILS by the end of February 2001. Two additional regional nodes in the cantons of Fribourg and Vaud are slated to implement Virtua ILS in March and April. The remaining nodes will be installed in a fast-track installation during May through June of 2001.
Altogether, RERO holds 2.7 million bibliographic records corresponding to 3.5 million item records. The 181 academic, research and reference libraries house over 600 librarians serving over 100,000 patrons including 35,000 students from four different universities. “[RERO] is a very large consortium. I am firmly convinced that we are moving steadily towards an excellent system that will meet all our needs,” says Levrat.
Virtua's full Unicode based language support is an essential feature for Switzerland, a country with four national languages, including French, German, Italian and Romansch. “RERO has patrons that speak many languages…Virtua ILS is ideal for them. The special union catalog services provided by VTLS allow users to navigate the union catalog and all seven regional nodes, giving an image of a single system to the user,” says Vinod Chachra, President of VTLS Inc.