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Information Technology for Libraries

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This month’s stories

[DRA results]
Amlibs Summer '98]
Talis win C. Lancs]
VTLS new sites]
CARL Singapore]
Sirsi UK sites]
Turkish delight]
Amlibs sold]
Celtic Voyager]
Aleph continues]
Software Supermarket]

CARL Live at Singapore National Library

And Phoenix Public too...

CARL’s client/server automation system and multilingual OPACs meet the challenge of NLB’s record-setting target transaction goals

July 28, 1999 (Denver)— CARL Corporation rolled out its next generation library automation system -- the CARL Information Management and Delivery System (IMDS) -- to the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore’s 58 public library branches on July 8. The installation consists of a total of five user-friendly interfaces for circulation as well as Everybody’s

         About CARL
CARL Corporation (, based in Denver, Colorado, is a leading developer of technology solutions for libraries. Over 1,000 libraries, serving 15 million library users, have selected CARL systems and products.  CARL Corporation’s systems and products for libraries include: the CARL Information Management and Delivery System (IMDS), the UnCover online article database, Kid’s Catalog, Everybody’s Catalog, CARLweb, and Dialog@CARL.

Contact:Jeff Holland
Marketing Communications Manager
CARL Corporation

Catalog, CARLweb, and switch-on-the-fly multilingual OPAC interfaces. This system is backed by the processing power of Compaq’s Tandem S7000 Himalaya series servers.

During the first week of use in the NLB libraries, CARL’s IMDS processed nearly 1.5 million total transactions. At this rate of circulation, the CARL system in the NLB libraries is projected to process 30 million annual loans, surpassing the previous year’s record of 25 million.

Total transactions during the first seven days live on the CARL system (July 8-14, 1999):

  • Total Transactions 1,446,887
  • Loans                  661,682
  • Returns                852,840

The implementation at NLB includes a range of end-user service options. Five circulation interfaces meet the users’ needs at several points within and outside the library:

The IMDS graphical circulation interface is used by library staff for all functions.

End users have access to 150 self-service circulation stations -- including 3M SelfCheck? and RFID (Radio Frequency Identifier systems that employ a chip embedded in the library material).

CARL’s multilingual Phone Circulation system allows users to place holds and renew items online.

Borrower Enquiry (“BNQ”) stations allow users to consult their records and pay fines and fees using cash card technology.

June Garcia, CARL’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our technologies used in Singapore, such as Unicode multilingual interfaces and the broad range of patron self services, will benefit domestic library users as well as those in Asia.”

Unicode-Based Multilingual Access
The NLB’s new library system is providing user-friendly multilingual public access, designed to provide easy and powerful OPAC access options for all, from the very young to the very old. The NLB is using a mix of Everybody’s Catalog and CARLweb stations, with English and Malay available throughout the system in the live database, and Chinese available through the Web in a mirror database which contains Unicode-based bibliographic records for all of NLB’s Chinese holdings. The National Library Board is doing focused usability testing with several Chinese input devices. The Tamil interface and database will be available at the end of 1999. Across languages, CARLweb allows the user to switch “on the fly” to another language without losing the context of the search.

CARL president Patricia Culkin said, “This implementation was the first phase of a multiple phase effort, laying down the infrastructure for a powerful set of information solutions to carry the nation of Singapore into the next century.” She added, “The National Library Board is a terrific proving ground for our system, since they demand the very best in public service and staff workflow in a record-setting high transaction processing environment.”

The National Library Board serves the 3.7 million people of Singapore through its three-tier hierarchy of libraries -- regional, community, and community children’s libraries -- which cater to Singaporeans from all walks of life. The NLB aims to provide the people of Singapore with a world-class library system, which is convenient, accessible and useful, and which will help the nation realize its vision of a “knowledge-based” economy.

Mr. Beh Chew Leng, NLB’s Chief Information Officer reiterated, “The new library system will be the platform for fast and efficient information retrieval and will be able to support the anticipated information requirements in the new millennium.  More importantly, with the friendly graphical user and multilingual interfaces, we will be able to meet the needs of -- and have the potential to provide more services to -- all our customers.”

Large Scale Migration
The NLB replaced a 12 year-old system with the CARL IMDS. The conversion processed 730,000 bibliographic records, 6.3 million holdings records, 2.3 million user records, 3.4 million transactions, and 716 holds. Culkin called the migration “complex, challenging, and very successful.”

System Management
The NLB system is being supported by a facilities management contract from CARL East, Pte Ltd. The facilities management group consists of 10 full time staff working in Operations, Application Support, and Programming Support (for special projects and peripheral products).

The CARL Information Management and Delivery System in the Singapore NLB runs on Compaq’s Tandem S7000 Himalaya server. The 12 CPU system will provide reliability and scalability for round the clock access.

CARL East, Pte Ltd was formed in October 1998 to facilitate delivery of CARL’s technology solutions to libraries in Singapore and other nations in the Southeast Asia. It will also provide local support to the National Library Board of Singapore, and the Singapore Ministry of Education, and will provide a laboratory for continued development of multilingual database options.

CARL System Live At Phoenix Public Library

July 9, 1999 (Denver)— Phoenix Public Library has converted to the CARL Information Management and Delivery System (IMDS) from their previous Dynix system in its Central Library and 12 branches. The first phase of the installation includes CARL's graphical client/server Circulation module, and CARLweb, CARL's Web-based interface to the library's OPAC.  Phoenix Public Library is implementing a multilingual CARLweb in English and Spanish and is using self-service features such as patron account information and Phone Notification/Phone Circulation (PN/PC).  The Library is also using CARLweb's validation software to verify patron access to third-party Web databases.

"We chose CARL primarily for their strong patron services functions," said Toni Garvey, Phoenix City Librarian.  "CARLweb gives us bilingual capabilities, which is important for our Spanish speaking population, and it has a strong search interface. CARL's willingness to partner with us in developing products to meet the needs of our community was also important. With CARLweb, for example, we were able to customize the product for specific audiences." Phoenix Public Library is using CARLweb as their in-house online catalog, and patron response to the interface has been enthusiastic.  CARLweb's flexibility allows Phoenix Public Library to offer easy access and advanced versions within the library, a version customized for remote access, and another version for staff use.

"We recently conducted a user satisfaction survey," said Ross McLachlan, Technical Services Administrator, "and the majority of our users are very pleased with our new offering. Our patrons told us that CARLweb is fast, easy, and gives them the information they need. In addition, having CARL staff present to facilitate the initial installation was a real benefit."

"It was a joy to work with the staff of Phoenix Public Library," said Patricia Culkin, CARL President. "We view our clients as partners in development, and that is certainly the case with Phoenix Public. Together we are providing the best information access and management available for the people of Phoenix."

The Phoenix Public Library collection numbers 600,000 titles and 1,800,000 physical items, serves over  600,000 users and circulation over six million items each year. The City of Phoenix and the Library serves a rapidly growing population, and is the seventh largest city in the country.  In addition to its core catalog of holdings, Phoenix Public Library offers its users access to multiple electronic and web-based information resources, as well as a full range of community oriented reference services.  The Library is a leader in ADA compliance among public libraries and has one of the oldest and most experienced library assistive technology centers in the United States.