BIRMINGHAM, UK, 17 Jan 2012—OCLC and The Combined Regions (TCR) are pleased to announce that FABLibraries, the national public library catalogue has now been rolled out to all libraries that subscribe to UnityUK - the UK's nationwide network for resource sharing, as part of a ‘limited release’.
The intent of this penultimate stage in the project is to give UnityUK member libraries a chance to offer feedback. When it is complete the project will see the launch of Britain's first freely accessible national online library catalogue for public use.
Plans to launch this service were announced in January of last year and now one of the biggest developments for public libraries is another step closer to realisation. The feedback process will allow users to review functionality and links to their own catalogues.
“We are very excited to be moving into this final testing phase. We are getting very positive feedback from the participating libraries, as well as requests to include fuller catalogue data. When FABLibraries is officially launched this year, Web users will be able to view the holdings of 150 UK public libraries, equating to approximately 9 million bibliographic records and 50 million holdings,” explains Elisabeth Robinson, OCLC Product Manager.
Rob Froud, Chair, The Combined Regions shares this excitement stating: “This national catalogue is one of the largest developments in resource sharing for some years with 80% of public libraries being involved, it is an opportunity to show their value and accessibility across Britain, which we hope will emphasise the importance of UK public libraries during a time when resource sharing is crucial.”
Rob continues: “The testing phase is a chance for participating libraries to take ownership of their presence in the national catalogue by allowing them to review and check data; the feedback we are receiving along with the improvements being made means we are another step closer to the public launch in 2012.”
Ultimately, when users are able to search for books and other resources, not just in their local library but throughout Britain, the catalogue will significantly raise the profile and use of public libraries across the country by demonstrating how versatile and essential libraries are to everyday life.
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