RLG Union Catalog Gateway to Local Holdings

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

For interlibrary-lending operations, finding a needed book or article is a familiar routine. ILL staff can locate titles and who owns them by searching the RLG Union Catalog—a function that is built into RLG's ILL Manager software program.

But detailed, current holdings information down to item or issue level and circulation status—a key to getting material into the hands of students, faculty, and staff without delay—has been maintained only in local systems.

A way of linking the union catalog to such information would help streamline operations for participants in the SHARES resource-sharing program. So in 2001 we prototyped a way to make the RLG Union Catalog the pointer to lending partners' online catalogs.

At the time, the local systems of two SHARES partners—the Library of Congress and the University of Pennsylvania—used a standard implementation of the Z39.50 intersystem communications protocol's OPAC record syntax. This enabled programming an RLG Z39.50 holdings gateway to retrieve local holdings and shelf-status data.

The project did not go further at the time, pending wider adoption of the OPAC (online public access catalog) record syntax.

In 2005 we were able to move the gateway from prototype to production, starting with two local systems used among the majority of SHARES partners: Endeavor's Voyager and Innovative's Millennium. RLG Union Catalog records contributed by institutions using these systems now reveal precise details of material availability.

Initial gateway targets ranged from university libraries to institutions like the Getty Research Institute, the National Library of Australia, and New York Public Library. The gateway was part of two RLG database interfaces: Eureka® and RLIN21™.

Access was to follow to more local systems and MARC holdings.

  • "RLG Union Catalog's Gateway to Library Holdings Benefits Interlibrary Lending"
    press release 21 October 2006

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  • "Gateway to Holdings Launched through Eureka® and RLIN21™"
    RLG Focus 77 (December 2005)

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