Library says goodbye UBCLIB, hello Web

by Hilary Thomson
Staff writer

When the old UBCLIB computer system shuts down Sept.1, it will mark the last chapter in the Library's conversion to its new Web-based automated library system.

"UBCLIB was the last piece of the old text-based system," says Library Information Services Head Martha Whitehead. "We kept it available for searching but had to stop updating its catalogue and it's now more than a year out of date. It's time to make the final switch."

The UBC Library Web site, introduced in May 1997, will replace all UBCLIB databases and services.

The move to a Web-based system was inevitable, Whitehead says.

Some of the major parts of the UBCLIB system were almost 20 years old, she says. As well, it used locally developed programs running on an obsolete operating system via an old mainframe computer. A breakdown in any one of these areas would threaten the millions of records stored at the Library.

The move to a new system also tied in with the campus-wide administrative systems migration that phased out all of the old mainframe equipment, operating systems and associated communications network.

"The old system served us well and was innovative for its time," says Whitehead. "But as one of the largest research libraries in Canada, we have to keep pace with constantly changing technology."

The new UBC Library Web site is a totally integrated information system that unites many resources under one interface. With just basic Web browser skills, users can move easily through article indexes on various systems, electronic course materials or subject guides. They can also search for a journal or on-line text and then link directly to its full text, a feature not found in the old system.

The Library Web site also includes InfoGate, an alternative text-based interface to the catalogue of UBC Library holdings.

Many new databases have been added to the UBC Library Web site this year and the site is being redesigned for September based on feedback from students, faculty and staff.

A training session on the Web site is being offered to faculty and graduate students on Aug. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Koerner Library, Sedgewick Teaching Lab, with extra sessions in the fall. To register, e-mail

Student training sessions will be scheduled throughout the fall. For further information on training, call 822-5424.

The UBC Library Web site is located at