Cabinet and the public services council have identified as a top goal for 2002/03 the evaluation and recommendation for purchase of software that will expand access to full-text and discovery electronic resources. Two categories of software are specified in the goal: 1) OpenURL resolver software and 2) other software. To meet this goal, the council has established the Public Services Software Evaluation Work Group
The Public Services Software Evaluation Work Group is charged to study and evaluate different OpenURL resolver software packages, other software that will expand access to electronic resoures, and Sirsi's iLink. The group will determine what software is available, which does what, and evaluate them in the context of Sirsi's development.
OpenURL resolver software will enable us to specify and create links among our electronic resources. Tests of RLG citation databases at peer institutions, for example, have shown that links to full text become available for more than 70% of the citations in search results, making these specialized databases enormously more useful. Links may be made from citations in online catalogs and databases to a variety of targets, including full text electronic resources, interlibrary loan, document delivery services, or IRIS. OpenURL software is available from such companies as ExLibris (SFX), Openly Informatics (1cate), and Endeavor (LinkFinderPlus).
Other software that appropriately carries out the goal might include CrossRef and the cross-database searching/portal software available now from a number of companies, including Autographics (Portal/Agent), Endeavor (ENCompass), ExLibris (Metalib), Fretwell Downey (ZPortal), and Webfeat. The group is charged to identify additional enabling software or services through inquiries with colleagues at other universities, speaking with vendors at conferences or by trolling their websites, searching our professional literature, local demonstrations, and so forth.
Any software selected must fit within our existing technical framework. It should be standards-based, secure, and future friendly. Among the features that need to be evaluated are: the ability to handle our varied collection of resources and formats, the robustness of any searching functionality, the ability to customize and usability of the user interface, appropriateness of parameter configuration options, customer service considerations, the development environment, access methods suitable for both on- and off-campus users, and overall implementation and maintenance efforts. While it is important, do not let cost override these other evaluation measures.
The work group is requested to submit its recommendation, including a budget request, to the public services council by April 2003.