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Telematics for Libraries - Project


Updated: 03 JUN 98
Project Number and Title
2045 - Mechanism of automatic comparison of CD-ROM answers with OPACs
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ IV Theme 16 February 1994 August 1996 31
CD-ROM; OPAC; journal holdings; search matching

blue bullet Additional information is available on the MECANO web site . (

Tool boxes for interfacing such as: developing user interfaces, interfaces to electronically published materials; interfacing in a functionally integrated manner different application modules from different suppliers (Theme: 16)
Project description
The project developed a toolbox capable of matching the results of searches carried out on various CD-ROMs with the journals holdings of libraries. The feasibility of providing a dynamic link to OPACs for up-to-date status information was also examined.
Library users searching for journal articles use secondary database sources, mostly now available on CD-ROM; however, to locate the materials in the library holdings the user then has to carry out an additional search for each journal title in the library's OPAC. The ability to perform this second step automatically and from the same user environment as that for the CD-ROM search offers immediate benefits both to libraries and to their users. Some proprietary systems exist but there is no generalised toolbox capable of being used with different OPACs and different CD-ROMs.
Technical approach
The workpackages in MECANO were grouped into two phases:
Phase 1: Preliminary Investigation
  • Feasibility study;
  • User requirement analysis;
  • Project design.
Phase 2: Development
  • System specification;
  • Software development;
  • Pilot Experiments;
  • Evaluation.
More precisely, the project analysed the record formats of both library catalogue data and downloaded data from the CD-ROMs and developed a common shared format, obeying as far as possible standards relevant to bibliographic data. Extraction and conversion tools were developed for the different source files. Matching routines were then developed not only for matching on international standard numbers but also for lexical matching on titles. The development of the user interface and functions were based on a detailed investigation of user needs.
The feasibility of creating a link to volatile status information on specific journal parts was investigated and a test-bed implementation was developed to demonstrate functionality.
Key issues
The main technical issues for investigation were:
  • matching criteria;
  • standards for bibliographic data and for holdings;
  • interaction with library database files;
  • user interface and functionality.
Impact and results
The availability of a toolbox which aggregates data from any database containing journal information with any OPAC means that a single search request yields identification, location, content and even dynamic status information (transparency allowed between CD-ROM and library catalogue searches).
The MECANO prototype, by demonstrating that such a system is feasible, opens the way for its commercial development and exploitation.
The primary deliverable is the software containing the interface to selected CD-ROMs and different OPACs of the pilot sites.
Delivearables and software have been placed in the public domain and are:
  • Information dissemination report, including brochures, factsheets, articles and proceedings;
  • Feasibility study report;
  • User requirement report
  • System specifications (global design, format, system and platform specifications);
  • Evaluation report;
  • Exploitation plan;
  • User manuals;
  • MECANO software;
  • Final report.
All above deliverables and additional information are available from MECANO web site or from the contact below.


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Title, First Name, Name Project MECANO Address: Singel 425
E-mail 1:
E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Konkinklijke Bibliotheek NL P
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona ES P
Bergen University Library NO P
Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria di Torino IT P
University of Patras, Central Library GR P
Cap Gemini Innovation, Cap Volmac NL P

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