as of 16th April 1998
M25 Link aims to establish a pilot virtual clump to provide single search access to the library catalogues of six members of the M25 Consortium of Higher Education Libraries. The M25 Consortium was established in 1993 and the resources within its membership amount to about 20% of UK HEI libraries provision, with a great diversity of institutions and richness of collections. Within the pilot group and the Consortium as a whole, there are significant holdings which are not represented in national physical clumps such as COPAC, but which are useful resources that deserve greater and wider exploitation. The project will run for two years from January 1998.
The project will consist of a seamless search tool to the library catalogues (OPACs) of the six pilot partners, which will provide monograph and serial information using the Z39.50 protocol. The six pilot libraries between them cover the five most prominent library supply systems used across the full 38-member M25 Consortium: UNICORN, INNOPAC, TALIS, HORIZON and LIBERTAS.
Two existing services form the building blocks of the project. Firstly the M25 web guide, which will be the entry point for the search, and will permit searches to be limited to particular M25 geographical zones. The existing subject search function in the M25 Web Guide will be enhanced to become a metadata or collection level search tool to cut down on waste and duplication. Links will also be made to information about user access and opening hours. Secondly, a physical database, the ULS (Union List of Serials), which covers the serials holdings of all libraries in the University of London plus the University of Westminster, will be incorporated into the clump. A key activity in the project will be accessing a deeper level of serials holdings information. This will be complex, as each type of OPAC and each Institution are likely to have different approaches for storing serials holdings data.
The ultimate aims are for single seamless searching across all M25 libraries, and an agreed way forward for the development of the ULS as a virtual (or at least partly virtual) rather than physical database. Technical blueprints will be written for each of the five library systems covered in the project, which will allow for the remaining members of the M25 Consortium to join the virtual clump over a further period of two years.
Internationally recognised standards will be incorporated during the development of the project, which will assist other consortia wishing to establish or use a virtual clump. The clump will also be designed in such a way that linking to document delivery initiatives, such as LAMDA or EDDIS, will be possible.
The project is led by the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, and the director of the project is Jean Sykes, Librarian and Director of Information Services at LSE. Other members of the M25 Link Project are: City University, University of Greenwich, Middlesex University, Queen Mary and Westfield College, and the University of Westminster.
The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded
by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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