Magazine article Information Today

OCLC Improves International Access to Its Services

Magazine article Information Today

OCLC Improves International Access to Its Services

Article excerpt

OCLC has announced that libraries in 14 countries are enjoying improved telecommunications access to OCLC services due to a strategic alliance between OCLC and Digital Island, a global applications network. In addition, the National Library of Australia and OCLC have reached an accord that will enable the 1,300 Australian libraries that use the National Library's new Kinetica resource-sharing service to become full or partial OCLC members, thus gaining access to the OCLC cataloging and resource-sharing services.

Digital Island

Digital Island bypasses the domestic and international Internet infrastructure and replaces it with a managed service directly from OCLC to key networks and Internet service providers (ISPs) in served countries. This provides a more direct route for the communications to travel, reducing the number of hops between the library and OCLC. The Digital Island link does not replace existing methods of accessing OCLC but serves as an alternative for libraries in areas where current access is slow.

"Digital Island provides the means for OCLC to improve Internet access for libraries in 14 countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region," said Fred Lauber, vice president, OCLC Telecommunications and Operations Services. "By routing around some of the known bottlenecks, Digital Island should speed access between member libraries' networks or ISPs and OCLC. On an ongoing basis, OCLC will assess the Internet access landscape and make appropriate changes to ensure that member libraries receive fast service."

Many libraries find the Internet an attractive way to access OCLC services because of its relative ease of connection and low cost. However, those very factors make the Internet so popular with organizations and individuals that there are times when there is more traffic on segments of the Internet than it can handle. Digital Island provides an alternative route around these slow areas, according to the announcement.

"As the demand for online information is now global, many leading library service organizations are turning to Digital Island's network, specifically designed to distribute timely information to local markets worldwide," said Tim Wilson, vice president of marketing at Digital Island. "Unlike the public Internet, Digital Island bypasses congestion and ensures the quick, reliable, and consistent delivery of content. …

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