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Planning for the next five years of the MELVYL system is described in the context of University of California information system planning. The planning environment is outlined from which are derived the objectives for the continued growth of the MELVYL system. The technical evolution of the MELVYL system necessary to meet the objectives is also reviewed. Envisioned in this technical evolution is the conversion of the MELVYL system to a client/server architecture that includes a graphical interface. Future plans for the MELVYL system provide a basis for tackling the problems of fragmented databases and information overload. Four initiatives to alleviate these problems arc briefly described.
Over the last ten years, the MELVYL system has evolved into a key element in the university's plan for access to information. The University of California's strategy for library automation stresses the need for university-wide access through the continued deployment of University of California networks, the development of campus-integrated library automation systems, and the expansion of the MELVYL system into an information utility. The present strategy reaffirms the "one University, one library" objective of the Plan for Development, 1978--1988, the ten-year plan that led to the development of the MELVYL catalog. (1)
The location of information resources, once constrained by technical limitations, can now be determined by the needs of users, the quality of services, the economies of procuring the resources, and the strength of networks. The MELVYL system is only one component of the university's effort to coordinate access to scholarly information, a role it shares with the other components--campus libraries, computer centers, and departments. Future growth depends on coordination and cooperation among all components.
This paper describes options for furthering the role of the MELVYL system in a continually evolving environment. First, the current environment and planning assumptions about the future are reviewed, placing the growth of the MELVYL system in the context of the overall planning for the development of university automated information systems. Next, the objectives underling the continued development of the MELVYL system are proposed. These objectives suggest a shift of emphasis by giving the MELVYL system a more active role in mounting databases, making more effective use of network resources, and incorporating new technologies for access and the display of information. Then, the technical evolution of the MELVYL system necessary to achieve its role in the University's information structure is described. Finally, challenges beyond the next five years are suggested.
CURRENT ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS
At the University of California, users access information resources through a mosaic of loosely connected systems. The university's strategy for access to information differentiates where information is stored from where it is accessed. Though the physical storage of information may be centralized within the MELVYL system, at the campus, or at the national level, access should be universal, limited only by user affiliation as appropriate for some restricted data such as personal files.
Within this framework, the MELVYL system will continue to provide access to the monographs and periodicals holdings of the university and a broad spectrum of abstracting and indexing (A&I) databases covering the major disciplines of interest to the university community. In addition, access may also be provided to nonbibliographic information sources, such as source material in electronic form, electronic journals, and selected scientific and image databases of general universitywide interest.
The strategy for coordinated access to information resources maximizes the university's investment in existing systems by drawing together the various aspects of the present environment into a coordinated system. The major components of the present environment that are influencing planning include the following.
THE MELVYL SYSTEM
With the addition of A&I databases, the MELVYL catalog has made a transition from a catalog to a system. In addition to requiring access to a varied list of information sources, users are also requesting that the MELVYL system connect to network-based services, such as electronic mail and remote printing. Investments in these network infrastructure services will then facilitate development of links to document delivery systems and current-awareness functions. Another aspect of the MELVYL system's role as an information utility is demonstrated by the growing use of MELVYL services by non-UC institutions such as Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the California State Library. In this regard, the University of California has established reciprocal arrangements with Stanford to trade access to proprietary databases. Together, UC and Stanford have negotiated contracts with database providers that allow joint access.
Use of the MELVYL system continues to expand (see figures 1-5). Though there has been a drop-off in the use of the MELVYL monographs database as campuses have installed local library systems that include online catalogs, this has been more than offset by the use of the MELVYL journal articles databases. In addition, remote use of the catalog has grown dramatically. The monograph database continues to grow--the sixth millionth book title was recorded in January, 1991--as campuses complete retrospective conversion projects. As of June 30, 1991, approximately 81 percent of the UC collection was in machine-readable form, with three campuses, Irvine, Santa Cruz, and San Diego, fully converted and several others approaching completion.
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The faculty, staff, and students of the University of California have more information options than ever. While providing a …