C5.29 Pilot of Metalib functional for human access

The services provided by ViTaL have been discussed in detail in previously published project documents. The diagram below has been extracted from document D5.15 ViTaL draft system design. It provides a useful overview of the system architecture. This report documents the pilot launch of the literature metasearch component of ViTaL, hosted at the Natural History Museum (London). The pilot went live on 26 September 2008.

The ViTaL metasearch service is currently based on MetaLib, an Ex Libris product. The metasearch service is designed to provide ViTaL users with the ability to search the catalogues of the EDIT partner libraries, which include many of the most significant collections of taxonomic literature available. It also offers results from other library-defined resources and Google Scholar searches. User search results include bibliographic and location information for hard copy access and loan requests, and will also include links to ViTaL’s OpenURL resolver, giving access, where possible, to the full-text of articles for download.


For the purposes of the pilot, there is a limited set of searchable resources in place, though this will be growing during the pilot phase as we add the on-line public catalogue details of other EDIT partner libraries. In addition, the pilot is designed to provide a single ‘institutional view’ of the service. Assuming a satisfactory conclusion to the pilot, the ViTaL team will be providing a portal customised to each EDIT partner’s needs, including tailoring the searchable databases available to fit the requirements of specific EDIT institutions.


The pilot is running on the NHML’s test ViTaL server. Users can currently access the pilot service at http://vital.nhm.ac.uk/V. To access the search form directly, users can go to http://vital.nhm.ac.uk/V/?func=quick-1. In use, the metasearch sends the user’s query terms to a number of data sources in parallel. The results from each external query are reduplicated, sorted appropriately, and displayed with a faceted search interface, allowing users to drill down into various subsets of the returned results – for example by year or journal title. OpenURL links to ViTaL’s SFX server are also provided.