Michigan Research Libraries Triangle Reports Progress in Second Year

Article excerpt

The Michigan Research Libraries Triangle (MRLT), a consortium of Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan libraries, continues to move forward in its efforts to increase institutional cooperation. The MRLT was formed in 1992 as the three institutions joined forces to accomplish their common mission: to meet the educational and information needs of students, faculty, and researchers. Given the funding challenges facing academic libraries today, the MRLT works to avoid unnecessary costs such as those associated with the duplication of library materials and to improve the quality of services offered to its campuses. Almost two years after its formation, the MRLT can point to several areas of accomplishment that have moved this cooperative effort toward its vision of the future.

Automation

One of the primary goals of the MRLT is to electronically link the online catalogs of the three institutions. In October 1993, the U.S. Department of Education approved the three year project and awarded $234,000 under its Title II A grant program to fund this effort. Since that time, software called PACLink has been licensed from Ameritech Library Services, Academic Division. PACLink uses the national standard Z39.50 library information retrieval protocol and TCP/IP for communication via the Internet to link separate online catalogs. The MRLT libraries were recently notified by the U.S. Department of Education that the second year of the Title II A grant ($58,000) was approved. These funds will allow the project to move forward to its next phase.

PACLink software is composed of two parts: A PACSearch module for searching the libraries online catalogs and an interlibrary loan module called PACLoan. PACSearch was implemented in summer 1994 and users can now select each online catalog from a menu. The three libraries will install the PACLoan module to enable user-initiated borrowing sometime in 1995. Another project to be completed in the second year is to identify commercial index/abstract databases for the MRLT libraries to cooperatively share and access.

Interlibrary Loan and Document

Delivery

In October 1991, the three MRLT partners began a successful program of reciprocal interlibrary loan and document delivery. …