The following may be of interest
> Tuesday, November 21, 2000
> SUNY's Library-Software Contract Includes 'Ultimate
> Protection': Program Code
> By FLORENCE OLSEN
> State University of New York officials have approved a
> five-year statewide contract for library software that is
> unusual because it requires the vendor to place in escrow a
> complete copy of the software source code and all related
> The escrow agreement is among many reasons that SUNY officials
> give for their optimism that a $19.5-million project called
> SUNYConnect will be successful. The five-year network project,
> spearheaded by the system's office of library and information
> services, will integrate the libraries of all 64 SUNY campuses
> by creating a shared virtual catalog of nearly 18 million
> The contract SUNY signed last month with the software vendor
> Ex Libris Inc. was not the first in which the university has
> insisted that a vendor using proprietary source code make
> escrow arrangements. "We've done it before, and it has
> benefited us," says Carey B. Hatch, assistant provost for
> library and information services at SUNY. "In case the vendor
> goes under, we still have access to the source code that makes
> the system work."
> At any time during the contract with Ex Libris, SUNY can look
> at the source code and documentation for the company's
> library-management system. If the contract is terminated for
> any reason, the source code and documentation will be released
> to SUNY. "That's our ultimate protection," Mr. Hatch says.
> Not all vendors are willing to sign escrow agreements, he
> adds. But library-software vendors that were unwilling to do
> so "were eliminated from consideration" when the university
> was accepting bids for the new contract.
> The ambitious SUNYConnect plan calls for interlibrary loans of
> nonelectronic books and other materials to be processed and
> delivered in 48 hours. By the time the library system is
> completed, officials also expect that nearly 50 percent of all
> serials and scholarly journals in SUNY's virtual library will
> be online and accessible from anywhere to SUNY students and
> faculty members, who can log in to the system from any Web
> The 18 million records, which will be stored on large Oracle
> database servers, will represent all of the holdings in all
> SUNY libraries. "There's nothing that a faculty member at
> Harvard University or the University of Chicago or Stanford
> University has access to that our faculty or students won't
> have access to," says Peter D. Salins, provost and vice
> chancellor for academic affairs at SUNY.
> SUNYConnect will also provide better access to government
> data, Mr. Salins said. Most of the information is available
> electronically now, but Mr. Salins says it "is messy and
> incoherent." Under the new system, it will be organized and
> easy to download.
> A desire for greater operating efficiency also moved SUNY
> officials to create a statewide library-management system.
> "Because of rising serial-publications costs and the cost of
> technology, many libraries realize it's do or die," says Julie
> A. Wash, who is distance- and collaborative-learning librarian
> at Monroe Community College and also is president of the SUNY
> Librarians Association.
> SUNY's library directors are enthusiastic about the
> virtual-library project, Ms. Wash says. The library software
> will create a single electronic catalog and system for
> circulation, serials, acquisition, and administration for the
> universities' 71 libraries, while still permitting librarians
> to exercise their authority locally.
> SUNY is not the first state-university system to begin such a
> project. OhioLINK -- a electronic library and information
> network linking that state's university, college, technical,
> and community-college libraries and the State Library of Ohio
> -- served as a model for New York officials. California,
> Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have
> similarly ambitious statewide library projects up and running.
> "If SUNY wants to stay up there with attracting students, we
> really need to do something like this," Ms. Wash says.
> Six SUNY campuses have begun installing the Ex Libris library
> software, known as ALEPH 500. They are Tompkins-Cortland
> Community College, the colleges at Fredonia and Oswego, and
> the university campuses at Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony
> Brook. By 2004, all of the system's campuses expect to be
> using the software. The City University of New York has plans
> to follow SUNY in installing the Ex Libris software. Officials
> say "electronic bridges" will link SUNY's virtual library to
> SUNY officials say they would like to offer a fee-based
> service for nonuniversity users, such as researchers in the
> state's technology businesses and health-care organizations.
> "We're looking at ways to make this a resource, not just for
> our students and faculty but for the larger community in the
> state," Mr. Salins says.
>Chronicle subscribers can read this article on the Web at this address:
>If you would like to have complete access to The Chronicle's Web
>site, a special subscription offer can be found at:
>Use the code D00CM when ordering.
>You may visit The Chronicle as follows:
> * via the World-Wide Web, at http://chronicle.com
> * via telnet at chronicle.com
>Copyright 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
Director, Digital Library Federation
1755 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington DC 20036
phone 202 939 4762