Techlib has now been re-developed for the Web and provides a competent set of functions
and features and remains near enough the only library system that you can run entirely from a browser - not just the OPAC but acquisitions, circulation, cataloguing, serials - everything that a basic
Open Text: Livelink Catalogued Library
library system ought to have. However, when you couple this with the other half of the Open Text product stable -
Livelink - a powerful groupware/knowledge management system, then you have potent partnership for the corporate management of information and knowledge.
The origins of OpenText's latest version of Techlib lie
in the Battelle Institute's BASIS database engine that was developed in the late 1960s and was used as the foundation for the Techlib library management system running on VMS and Unix up until the
mid-90's. After a few changes of ownership via OCLC and Information Dimensions, Open Text bought the BASIS and Techlib products in July 1998.
Techlib is based on ASP technology linked to the back end BASIS database engine. It will run on NT workstations and either Netscape
or Internet Explorer. The product runs in French and German as well as English.
Users log-in to Techlib either as staff or as an "OPAC" user - but such non staff users can
also get to the catalogue via their Livelink groupware product which enables the library application and resources to be seamlessly integrated into other mainstream office
applications such as mail, discussion groups etc.
Cataloguing presents all of the usual features that a traditional librarian might want to see -
MARC import and Export to enable "trading" bib records, OCLC's MARC editor can be used to enter MARC tags. The library can create additional fields and material types as required.
There is title, ISBN etc. and thesaurus controlled keyword access as standard with an advanced search option taking advantage of the full power of BASIS text searching and
sorting on virtually any element of the catalogue record. There are some nice hyperlinking features like the ability to jump into the title or author indexes from the full bibliographic
display. There is also a nice feature that allows you to jump from one part of the catalogue entry screen to another - saving scrolling.
Objects such as images etc can be linked to the catalogue via Livelink. BASIS can also
search the content of an object e.g. a Word document. Objects can either be stored in the BASIS database and then deployed via HTML or a viewer can be downloaded as a helper application to the browser.
The circulation features will be adequate for most corporate libraries with integration to the
catalogue and the user database to allow searching for items and updating of users directly from within circulation. Holds are possible with pick-up location specifiable. Overdues can
be generated and e-mailed to patrons. A mot useful feature is the security linking the user to the information that they can view - allowing control right down to the field level.
Serials control is notoriously difficult and complex as a module and many a system is let
down in this vital function. Techlib has some useful features that make it possible to cope with many of the difficulties - for instance there is an "un-checkin" function and the
publication pattern has three levels of enumeration (e.g. volume, issue, part) as a default and it is possible to add more. The prediction pattern generates issues ahead of receipt
ready for checkin. Odd non-predicted issues can be entered manually. There is also a neat calendar style view of predicted issues. The only drawback to serials that I saw was
the OPAC display does not show received issues as a default - but this can be customised. Journal articles can be entered u these are added to the serial title - not the
issue as you might expect - and citation details for the issue have to be entered by hand.
Has an integrated order file/catalogue search capability and is integrated with requests.
Electronic ordering is under development. Claiming is included.
Livelink - the knowledge management environment.
Livelink is the other half of the duo and is an impressive KM / Groupware desktop tool.
Unlike Techlib it is built around a relational database - Oracle, Sybase or SQL server are options. The database holds a personal workspace for every user which links discussion
groups, e-mail, objects e.g. PowerPoint presentations, documents, URLs etc. within folders. This allows the sharing of information and other information types extremely easy -
and navigation between types of resource ensures that all types of information are exploited properly. Naturally catalogue records and saved catalogue searches can be stored within
folders and sit naturally as part of collaborative knowledge in a project. The link between Livelink and Techlib is known, rather clumsily, as "Livelink Catalogued Library" and was launched in July 1999.
In this brief review it has been impossible to give more than a superficial view of
functionality. Overall it is an impressive package when bundled with Livelink and this will give it the edge of many more traditional library packages for the corporate user. The Web
interface has been well designed and it will sit nicely in the slickest of Intranets. And the Web technology means low IT management costs and easy integration and roll out with other systems.
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