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Major donation to libraries means other universities benefit

Published: 31 May 2000

McGill's massive library catalogue is now Internet accessible, thanks to a powerful web-based search engine: the Aleph 500 software designed by Israeli manufacturer Ex Libris and baptized internally as MUSE 2.

New Aleph 500 system provides global Internet link to McGill libraries

A new frontier in library technology has been crossed at McGill. The University’s massive library catalogue is now Internet accessible, thanks to a powerful web-based search engine: the Aleph 500 software designed by Israeli manufacturer Ex-Libris and baptized internally as MUSE 2.

The purchase of the new Aleph 500 system was made possible through an alumnus gift; McGill’s second big donation announced within two weeks. While Richard Tomlinson made national headlines for giving the University a sizeable amount last week, the $1.5 million MUSE 2 funding was provided by Seymour Schulich, a McGill graduate (BSc ’61, MBA ’65) and Montreal-born businessman who is now chairman and CEO of the Toronto-based Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation Limited.

Journalists wishing to speak to Mr. Schulich are welcome to attend a special inauguration of the MUSE 2 system in the lobby of the McLennan Library Building (3459 McTavish St.) on June 5, 11 a.m. McGill Principal Bernard Shapiro and Ex-Libris staff will also be present.

McGill’s new Unix and Oracle-based system will allow:

  • 1.7 million library items to be catalogued and accessible to everyone, everywhere, via web browsers (membership in the McGill libraries is $200 per year for the general public);
  • the retrieval of information in French and English;
  • the expansion of McGill’s book-sharing agreements with other university libraries, particularly Concordia University, its downtown educational neighbour;
  • web access to McGill’s electronic publications, updated at a cost of $1 million per year;
  • students to consult their library records, renew book loans and check for outstanding fines from home, whether home is in Rimouski, Paris or Hong Kong;
  • easier searches of hard-to-find documents by allowing users to navigate through multiple library sites simultaneously.

"Soon internal documents -- from course evaluations to theses -- will be available through this system too," explains McGill libraries director Frances Groen. "Ex Libris’ Aleph 500 has given our libraries nothing less than a gateway to the world."

"By adopting the Aleph 500 system we’re now able to provide our members the convenience they’ve come to expect from other on-line services," says Sharon Rankin, McGill Systems and Automation Librarian. "It’s allowed us to offer the next generation of library services today."

Click here for more information on MUSE 2.

Source Site: /it
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