Magazine article American Libraries

Technically Speaking: OCLC Taps VTLS to Help Migrate WorldCat. (Information Technology)

Magazine article American Libraries

Technically Speaking: OCLC Taps VTLS to Help Migrate WorldCat. (Information Technology)

Article excerpt

In its effort to migrate WorldCat from proprietary database technology to Oracle's 9i database-management software, OCLC will be using portions of VTLS's Virtua software technology. As part of a March agreement, OCLC will license source code from specific parts of the Virtua ILS. Vinod Chachra, president of VTLS, will act as a design consultant and will work closely with the WorldCat design team. The two companies have also signed a joint software-development agreement that will allow VTLS staffers to work on OCLC software-development teams.

Unicode implementation, multilingual linked authorities, native implementation of Z39.50, and hierarchical relationships among bibliographic records are the four major areas for which OCLC will be using VTLS technology. Although OCLC purchased the license to some of Virtua's code, OCLC coders will need to rewrite it from C--which is the primary language used by Virtua--to Java, which is the primary language that OCLC now uses for development.

OCLC database-development staff have been working with Chachra since November 2000 and have been impressed by how Virtua has implemented Z39.50 in native mode and how it has solved the many tough implementation problems of Unicode. OCLC expects to save a great deal of development time by employing the solutions to these and other tough programming challenges.

Lynn Kellar, project manager for the WorldCat database, said she expects that the database will be completely deployed under the Oracle platform by the end of 2003. Once this is done, Kellar hopes to support numerous applications that will significantly improve the functionality of WorldCat.

Among those improvements will be support for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions' Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records hierarchical relationships. FRBR is an IFLA online document that establishes a framework for creating record hierarchies such that one high-level record will be able to represent numerous lower-level records linked to it. Having a single record that represents multiple editions of the same work, for example, will make it much easier for developers to create software to simplify the identification of works and the process of requesting any copy from a group of records representing multiple editions of the same work. The four hierarchically related entities in the FRBR model that refer to an intellectual creation, for example, are "work," "expression," "manifestation," and "item."

An intrinsically hierarchical bibliographic model is an idea whose implementaion is long overdue and whose importance is being increasingly recognized. For over 30 years RLIN has been the only bibliographic database in the United States built around a hierarchical model. VTLS is so far the only ILS vendor that has announced compliance with the FRBR hierarchical relationship model; but any ILS vendor who is not making plans now to implement it will likely be at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace when the full significance of hierarchically related records is demonstrated by early adapters such as VTLS.

E-book Pricing Models Changing

SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network), an OCLC network affiliate headquartered in Atlanta, has been offering member libraries access to the e-books it has leased from NetLibrary for over a year. Currently, SOLINET has two NetLibrary collections: one static collection consisting of 14,487 titles, and another growing collection consisting of about 2,500 titles. …

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