The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the eleven "Big Ten" academic research libraries and the University of Chicago Library is working with OCLC to build a "Virtual Electronic Library" that will provide desktop access to information for the 500,000 students and 35,000 faculty on the campuses. The twelve institutions together hold over 60 million books and subscribe to over 550,000 serials. They also license hundreds of electronic databases.
The plan is to use the OCLC PRISM service, the Internet, and OCLC WebZ software to integrate electronic library resources and end-user services by offering a single interface to search local, group, and external resources and to allow patron-initiated interlibrary loan or document delivery requests. OCLC WebZ software offers WWW access to local and remote z39.50 resources as well as a complete HTML-based interface builder's toolkit.
In Phase I, which has been installed at nine of the institutions already, OCLC WebZ software allows a user-transparent view of the ''Virtual Electronic Library" through a broadcast search sent to the CIC sites so it is not necessary to build a physical union catalog. The interface can also be used to reach outside the CIC to other libraries or to electronic databases. Once an item is located, the same user interface allows a patron to either place a hold through e-mail or initiate an ILL request through the OCLC PRISM ILL service that can be reviewed by library staff.
Phase II will add capability for end-users to query the system for the status of their requests and the generation of a wide range of management data.
[Contact: OCLC, Inc., 6565 Frantz Road, Dublin, OH 43017; 614-764-6000; Fax 614-764-6096.]