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Ex Libris has developed a new product called Primo as its next-generation discovery and delivery platform. As a discovery tool, Primo provides a new interface that a library can use to provide access to all aspects of its collection, including both print and electronic content. Ex Libris uses the tag line "Find It, Get It" to convey the concept of what it intends to accomplish with Primo.
Primo serves as an alternative to the online catalog provided as part of an ILS, with an expanded scope and a modern interface. Primo can be configured to provide access to other digital collections that the library might maintain locally. Through an integrated federated-search feature, Primo also serves as a mechanism for searching the library's collection of remote databases and e-journals. Primo aims to go beyond discovery and deliver content to the user, providing online viewing of the content when it's available and otherwise offering library users the best approach for obtaining access to materials.
Ex Libris has been working with a several different libraries as development partners for Primo. The company has engaged two U.S. universities as development partners, Vanderbilt University and the University of Minnesota. (1) Ex Libris also worked with the University Library Center of North-Rhine Westphalia, a large consortium in Germany, as a development partner for the back-end publishing platform for Primo. The Royal Library in Denmark also has worked closely with Ex Libris on Primo. In addition to these development partners, a number of other institutions have elected early adoption of Primo as "Charter Members" once the software has been put into general release. These institutions include Boston College; the College Center for Library Automation, a consortium of 27 community colleges in Florida; the Cleveland Museum of Art; Iowa State University; the University of Iowa; and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
Primo's design slants toward the needs of academic and research libraries, consistent with the demographics of Ex Libris's customer base. The product focuses on the typical academic library environment that includes the local ILS, a large collection of electronic-resource subscriptions, and locally managed digital collections. To gain full advantage of Primo, the MetaLib federated-search utility and the SFX reference linking application should already be in place. Primo can interoperate with an institutional authentication service. Such an environment is much more common in university and research libraries than in public or school libraries.
Ex Libris announced the general release of version 1.0 of Primo on May 1, 2007. (2)
Architecture and Technology
The key concepts underlying Primo involve providing both discovery and delivery of library resources, including those managed locally by the library and the ones remotely hosted by external providers. The search features of Primo implement …