Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

UNIverse

Two products that are now commercially available from Fretwell Downing Informatics (FDI) have been developed and enhanced from components of the UNIverse system. These products are the two softwares VDX and WebView. The Virtual Document eXchange (VDX) software brings together Search and Retrieve, Inter Library Loan and Electronic Document Delivery. The VDX product contains a number of facilities that may be implemented in many ways to solve different problems for organisations. Examples of these are:

VDX as a Local Document Delivery & ILL management system: VDX has all the facilities necessary for managing document delivery and ILL within a library, both as a supplying library and as a requesting library. This includes physical, electronic and ‘scan-on-demand’ document delivery.

VDX for a Document Supply Centre: VDX has facilities for managing the full workflow for large-scale document supply.

VDX as a national/regional ILL Utility: VDX may be used to provide a national or regional Inter-Library Loans utility. The system allows a traditional centralised management system to be implemented whilst allowing libraries a migration path to a distributed system using the ISO ILL protocol.

VDX as an ILL Messaging gateway: VDX may be implemented as a messaging gateway that translates standard ISO ILL messages into a proprietary message formats to integrate with existing legacy ILL utilities.

WebView provides an intelligent WWW/Z39.50 gateway based environment to allow libraries to present a single gateway or ‘portal’ onto multiple heterogeneous databases. It is incorporated as the end-user access component on all FDI’s digital library products. WebView provides intelligent support for the search, locate, request and deliver paradigm for information delivery, with features including:

-Parallel database searching.
-Authentication/Rights Management.
-Multiple schema support.
-Multiple delivery scenarios: Synchronous/asynchronous, electronic/physical.

‘Explain aware’ intelligently deals with differing query capabilities of underlying databases. Potential still exists for further research and/or development work other products arising from the project. These include:

-Z39.50 Harvesting Agent this software utility collects bibliographic catalogue-related metadata from publicly available catalogues and stores them in the explain-proxy database of a UNIverse type system. This is being developed by Kyros.

-Java Web Interface as an end-user client interface based on the Java (TM) language. The Technical Knowledge Centre and Library of Denmark have undertaken the work to date on this product.

-Character Set Software . A general Character Set translation tool that converts any character set from/to Unicode. Ex Libris undertook the work on this module.

Further development of the UNIverse architecture and ideas will be taken forward in various research projects eg PRIDE (EU Telematics for Libraries Programme); ONE II (EU Telematics for Libraries Programme); Riding (UK HE eLib Project); and Agora (UK HE eLib Project). Such projects will provide the opportunity to assess the impact of new services made available to libraries and end-users through innovative software applications.

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