Press release: 12th October 2006
OCLC PICA and The Combined Regions (TCR) are pleased to announce that the process to integrate the UnityUK service with the LinkUK service has successfully begun.
The groundwork for the project to bring together over 100 UnityUK libraries and 78 LinkUK libraries is well under way. Five libraries across the West Midlands: Staffordshire, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Worcestershire began using the UnityUK service in August 2006. The first early adopter library authorities from across London and the South East: Camden, Slough, Bromley, Southwark, Enfield, East Sussex, Islington and Surrey, have already received their first round of training and are in the process of beginning to use UnityUK to supply items requested by other libraries.
LinkUK, formerly known as v3 Online, will be integrated with UnityUK to deliver the first national service for resource sharing in the UK. This countrywide initiative is part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund delivered through the South Yorkshire Objective 1 Programme.
Jennifer Cox, Stock Services Manager at Bromley Libraries, a previous Chair of the Forum for Interlending and a member of the OCLC Resource Sharing Advisory Committee, is already positive about the move to an integrated service, "All of us at Bromley can see the potential that the new service will offer, particularly its capability to streamline and speed up the ILL process for all members. This will make the job easier for staff and will ultimately improve the service we can offer to our library users. A national ILL service is the way forward we are excited about being part of its development."
LinkUK libraries will use both the UnityUK system and the integrated ILL management package, which enables them to use UnityUK to manage communication for all incoming requests and outgoing requests.
Early adopters among the LinkUK libraries will use both services as part of the integration project. This will facilitate gap analysis to identity the best of breed from both services and to ensure that the UnityUK service is developed in line with the LinkUK libraries usability requirements for the interface and workflow.
Library Authorities from Wales have a training date booked for October 2006, and following training, UnityUK will be rolled out to these areas for item supply management.
Linda Saunders, Chief Librarian at Sandwell and Dudley, was pleased to become an involved at an early stage, "The integration of the two services is a huge step forward for resource sharing and I welcome the opportunity to be a part of its evolution. The new service is completely in line with the underlying values of libraries; co-operation for the benefit of our users has always driven us to find new solutions to share our resources more effectively."
The integration process started, on schedule, in August 2006 and with the process now underway, UnityUK is on track to deliver a national network for resource sharing for the UK during 2007.
The new integrated service uses the latest resource sharing technology from world leaders OCLC PICA who also host and manage the new service. Over 175 library authorities across the UK use OCLC PICA software to share resources and manage requesting.
UnityUK will be on show at the OCLC PICA stand (stand 214) at the Online Information Show taking place at London Olympia from 28th to 30th November 2006.