Information Today
Volume17, Number 3 • March 2000
VTLS Announces Virtua Implementations

VTLS, Inc. has announced that Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire (BCUF) in Fribourg, Switzerland, has started using Virtua Acquisitions in production mode, marking the first “live” use of the system. In separate announcements, VTLS has also announced that Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has migrated from the VTLS-99 software to its Virtua system; Taiwan’s Tamkang University has recently completed installation of the Unicode Chinese version of Virtua; and Brazil’s State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) has implemented the Virtua system.

According to the announcement, the implementation of Virtua at BCUF is also the first to make use of Virtua’s unique capability of managing acquisitions for local libraries from a union catalog, in this case the RERO Union Catalog. BCUF is a member of the Réseau des Bibliothèques Romandes et Tessoines (RERO) consortium, which had earlier migrated its VTLS-99 Union Catalog to Virtua. The Union Catalog implementation of Virtua Acquisitions allows streamlined work flows for RERO member institutions while ensuring confidentiality of local data.

According to the announcement, BCUF’s requirements for an acquisitions system are demanding. “Our library spends 3.4 million Swiss francs each year on books and materials,” said Pierre Buntschu, BCUF project manager. “We order from 600 suppliers from about 20 countries, and each year we place about 18,000 orders. We are happy to be the first user of the Virtua Acquisitions system, which we have started using in production mode. On the basis of our initial tests, Virtua Acquisitions is very complete and powerful.” With the implementation of Virtua Acquisitions at BCUF, all of the major subsystems of Virtua are available in production mode.

Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire in Fribourg is a union catalog serving 16 libraries and is one of seven regional union catalogs that in turn contribute to RERO. The RERO consortium consists of a total of 183 libraries. The RERO Union Catalog is currently the largest Virtua database, containing 3.4 million holdings with nearly 2.5 bibliographic records and 85,000 multilingual authority records.

Mary Washington College
The migration from VTLS-99 to Virtua involved all of Mary Washington’s installed VTLS subsystems, including OPAC (with WWW Gateway), Cataloging, Circulation, Serials Control, Acquisitions, and Reserve Room Control. As a part of the migration, VTLS converted all data from the VTLS system to Virtua. This milestone is the first of many scheduled migrations from VTLS to Virtua in the U.S. and around the world.

LeRoy Strohl, library director of Simpson Library at Mary Washington College, said, “We are excited about the third-generation technology that Virtua represents, and about the additional functional capabilities that Virtua will provide to both faculty and students.”

Mary Washington College has been using VTLS software since 1985. The Simpson Library holds over 300,000 volumes with approximately 1,300 current periodicals.

Vinod Chachra, president of VTLS, said: “The migration of Mary Washington College from VTLS-99 to Virtua proved very interesting. Not only did they expect all of the advanced features offered by Virtua but also all of the fine features provided in VTLS-99. I am glad the students and faculty of Mary Washington College will be able to enjoy the benefits of our latest technology.”

Tamkang University
Tamkang University, Taiwan’s oldest private institution of higher learning, is installing Virtua OPAC (with WWW Gateway), Cataloging, Circulation, Serials Control, and Acquisitions modules. VTLS has converted and loaded data from its customized Dobis-Libis system, changing the character set from Big-5 to Unicode. In addition to Latin-1, Tamkang’s data includes materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

According to the announcement, this installation highlights the successful partnership between Tamkang and VTLS in refining development of the Chinese version of Virtua, including Chinese sorting, Chinese MARC to US MARC data conversion, and translation of the user interface. Tamkang selected Virtua after conducting a thorough review of available solutions. Virtua’s inherent support of Unicode and Z39.50, integrated display capabilities for non-Latin scripts, and overall design were key factors in the decision. According to the announcement, the ability for Virtua to simultaneously display Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Western languages demonstrated the power and flexibility of the software.

“Tamkang University has been a wonderful partner to work with,” said Chachra. “The dedication and expertise of Tamkang’s staff has added considerably to the quality of the implementation of Chinese in Virtua.”

Tamkang University’s Chueh Sheng Memorial Library includes a modern nine-story main library, a Maritime Museum, and two branch libraries. Library holdings consist of over 700,000 books, over 6,000 periodical titles, nearly 100,000 non-book materials, and a broad selection of electronic databases.

The new Virtua system at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) was unveiled in mid-December 1999 in a ceremony welcoming more than 150 participants. Among them were the president of the university, the head of FAPESP’s Scientific Committee, UNICAMP’s head librarian, and representatives from VTLS Americas. The implementation of Virtua at UNICAMP is the first in South America.

According to the announcement, UNICAMP selected Virtua after a thorough examination of systems, citing Virtua’s user interface, ease of use, flexibility, and comprehensive functionality as the major factors in their decision. UNICAMP has a long tradition of library automation and had previously used a system developed by its university. The need to replace a system tailored to their own local needs played a role in their decision-making process. In looking for a replacement, the automation review committee focused on finding a system that would improve upon their home-grown system, offering an outstanding user interface, powerful searching capabilities, highly integrated functionality, multimedia capabilities, and integration with the Internet.

“With the successful implementation of Virtua, UNICAMP Library places itself at the forefront of information technology and sets the direction for other Brazilian libraries to follow,” said Jack Bazuzi, vice president of VTLS. “VTLS is proud to be associated with one of Brazil’s most prestigious universities.”

Source: VTLS, Inc., Blacksburg, VA, 540/557-1200; Fax: 540/557-1210;

Table of Contents Information Today Home Page