DUBLIN, Ohio, Oct. 22, 1999--The OCLC WebExpress service, which will provide an easy-to-use integrated gateway to library resources, is expected to be introduced in the second quarter of 2000. With OCLC WebExpress, libraries will bring the OCLC and non-OCLC resources they have selected for their users into a single locally customized interface.
Nine public and academic libraries have agreed to test the product during its development. The libraries have been asked to respond to product requirements and designs, and to participate in usability testing.
Using OCLC WebExpress, libraries will be able to simultaneously search their library's resources with one Web-based search interface.
"OCLC WebExpress will allow librarians to focus on delivering superior information access to users," said Frank Hermes, vice president, OCLC Marketing and Planning. "Because this service allows the integration of a complement of OCLC and non-OCLC services under the library's name and logo, it increases the visibility of the library as the source of information for its community."
OCLC WebExpress will bring the library's full range of resources together by providing access via a single interface to both remote and local information resources. Resources can include the OCLC FirstSearch service, non-OCLC Z39.50 databases, and local information such as the library catalog. Abstract and index, full-text and print resources can be included, from within the region or from around the world. These resources can be linked to resource sharing options.
"The librarian using OCLC WebExpress will be able to create a system that is uniquely designed to meet the needs of that library's users," said Victoria Miller, OCLC WebExpress product manager. "Through a Web interface, a librarian will be able to easily select resources to be accessed via one interface, choose the interface look and feel, build the paths or links between remote and local resources, and add messages designed to assist local users."
OCLC WebExpress provides an administrator's interface that is composed of wizards that make it easy to create access to information resources, group them in a logical way for users, and link them to other resources when appropriate.
The OCLC WebExpress administrator's interface will connect to the OCLC WebExpress Service Center, a Web site to provide users with up-to-date information. The service center will make OCLC WebExpress an evolving, ongoing service instead of a fixed software product, linking the library and OCLC via the Web and distributed technology. This central resource will be active from initial inquiry to ongoing use. The OCLC WebExpress Service Center will disseminate new and updated OCLC resources, as well as other Z39.50 resources from organizations around the world, allowing libraries to remain current and state-of-the-art.