OCUL VDX Project Statement
Prepared for: OII Project Management Team, OCUL ILL Task Group, main interlibrary
loan institution contacts, OCUL Directors, Fretwell-Downing Project Manager (D. Bretz)
Final version: July 16, 2002
Prepared by: C. Stephenson (OCUL VDX Project Manager), S. McGillivray (OCUL VDX
User Support Librarian)
The Scope of the OCUL VDX Project
Management and communication
The OCUL VDX project is managed by a team of 3 individuals: the Project Manager,
Systems Administrator, and User Support Librarian. Together these 3 individuals form the
Tactical Implementation Group (TIG). Support from Fretwell-Downing (FD) is coordinated
through the OCUL VDX Project Manager and the FD Project Manager. Within OCUL,
communication and reporting is handled through the OCUL ILL and OCUL VDX Project
listservs, the OCUL VDX Web site, and direct consultation with a primary contact at each
institution. TIG reports to the OCUL Directors through direct communication with
representatives from the OII Project Management Team and the OCUL ILL Task Group. In
addition TIG works closely with sub-groups, made up of representatives from OCUL
institutions, to address specific issues. Sub-groups have been setup for configuration
(KEY), reports, standards and policies (SSG), locations (ELDSG), training (TSG), and the
French interface (FISG).
Virtual Document Exchange (VDX) is the automated system purchased by OCUL for the
management of interlibrary loan (ILL) processes at each of the participating institutions
(participation of the Royal Military College and the Ontario College of Art and Design has
yet to be determined). Institution specific implementation is being handled in stages, with
completion by May 2003. The OCUL implementation is based on the model of one
centralized database. The OCUL VDX Systems Administrator is responsible for the OCUL
VDX database installation, housed at the University of Toronto. Ongoing VDX software
support, patches and upgrades are provided by FD. OCUL institutions are responsible for
their local computer requirements. ILL staff access the database using either a Windows
or Web desktop client configured by TIG for individual institutions. The pros and cons of
implementing the Windows versus the Web desktop client are being investigated by TIG in
cooperation with KEY. An interface decision will be made prior to implementation.
Patrons use a common OCUL VDX public Web interface (Zportal) to search Z39.50
bibliographic targets, automatically create and submit requests directly into VDX. Publicly
accessible Z39.50 targets will include all OCUL OPACs, AMICUS, the Library of Congress,
CISTI, and the British Library. A French patron interface is an additional requirement for
the University of Ottawa, Laurentian University, Guelph University and York University.
Patron authentication is required to allow patrons to order and check the status of their
requests. Short and long term options for obtaining patron data from OCUL sites are being
investigated by TIG, KEY, and FD.
Configuration of existing ILL Web forms or document request forms from commercial
databases, to load requests directly into VDX, is beyond the scope of the project. An
e-mail reader configuration guide is available for institutions to set up existing forms.
Linking to the OCUL VDX Web site from an institution’s local Web site and OPAC are also
handled by individual sites.
Messaging between locations
Central to interlibrary loan processes is the ability to message with other systems for both
lending (responder) and borrowing (requestor) processes. ILL staff communicate with
other libraries and suppliers worldwide and must be able to send and receive messages.
There are a number of interoperability issues to be resolved. Short and long term solutions
are being investigated by TIG and FD.
VDX uses the International Standards Organization (ISO) protocol to enable automatic
requesting and messaging to and from other external ISO systems. FD is testing with
other ISO compliant systems on behalf of all VDX customers.
Requests sent between OCUL locations using VDX automatically route internally within
the database via the laser driver. Provision will have to be made for communicating with
OCUL sites not yet using VDX. Customized programming by FD will be necessary to
achieve seamless communication with sites using Aviso.
VDX can send ILL requests to non-ISO compliant systems, other than Aviso, using pre-
configured email messages setup by FD. Non-ISO compliant systems cannot message
directly into the VDX system. Options are being investigated to provide a seamless
method for communicating with non-ISO systems that minimizes the amount of manual
rekeying. At this point, the majority of sites that OCUL ILL units communicate with are
VDX can only message between known locations. A comprehensive locations directory is
being developed by TIG and KEY with the address and protocol details of all potential
requestors and suppliers of ILL materials. The directory will combine Aviso data exported
from OCUL institutions overlaid over the existing Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS)
VDX location directory. Ultimately the goal will be to create a comprehensive international
listing of lending libraries.
Global versus local configuration
VDX provides the flexibility of global default settings along with the ability to highly
customize configuration to the individual location’s ILL practices. The OCUL system will be
set up with default values based on standard practices and results of previous surveys
conducted by the Standards Sub-Group. For example, standard reports are being
developed based on internal OCUL workflow practices and external reporting
requirements. The level of individual institution configuration and any requests to use VDX
beyond standard ILL processes will be evaluated on a location by location basis. It should
not be assumed that all location specific configuration requests will be accommodated in
the initial implementation window.
Initial and ongoing training is the combined responsibility of FD and TIG. FD will assist the
Systems Administrator in setting up a copy of the VDX installation as the training and test
area. OCUL is using the train the trainer approach. TIG and KEY have received systems
administration and pre-configuration training from FD. FD will be providing Windows and
Web desktop client training in August to TIG and select members of KEY who will act as
backup trainers. Subsequently, TIG will provide hands-on training to OCUL trainers and/or
primary VDX users at OCUL institutions. Basic training materials are provided by FD and
may be modified for use by TIG. Training for report administration, screen layout and Web
design, database administration, and training for upgrades is provided by FD to select
members of KEY and TIG.
The Staging of VDX Implementation
August to October 2002
The first group of OCUL libraries scheduled to begin using VDX in the fall include:
University of Guelph
University of Toronto (internal document delivery)
University of Waterloo
University of Western Ontario
Wilfrid Laurier University
University of Windsor
System specifications and expectations
The first group is implementing version 2.2.7 and will upgrade to version 2.3 (scheduled
release available in late fall) at the end of 2002. With version 2.2.7, patrons will be able to
search Z39.50 catalogues (OCUL plus other national catalogues – Amicus, CISTI, Library
of Congress, British Library), authenticate against a patron database, then submit requests
into the VDX database and check the status of requests. Email alerting options will be
available to provide messaging for notifying patrons. At this point, the authentication
processes may be a short term setup, as necessitated by technological limitations of
systems currently in use.
Institutions that wish to maintain their current Web form will be provided with the email
reader configuration guide in order to reconfigure their local form themselves in order to
load requests into VDX. The amount of work involved will vary from institution to institution
and decisions to keep existing Web forms should be made in consultation with the local
It will be the responsibility of the individual institution to ensure that local computers have
the appropriate browser and hardware required to support VDX. Support for loading
additional software required to run the Windows desktop client will be provided by the
OCUL VDX Systems Administrator. The decision to use Windows or Web desktop client
will be made by local managers in consultation with TIG (information needed to make this
decision will be available by mid August). Generalized global reports required for daily
operation (ie. pick list, shipping and receipt, invoicing reports as required for suppliers and
end-users) will be available at start-up.
Initial messaging expectations
The first sites will have limited messaging abilities. Although all OCUL location data will be
in the system, only the first 7 OCUL institutions will use VDX as the primary ILL system
and will rely heavily on each other for supply. Automatic messaging with potential suppliers
will be limited due to the amount of testing needed to ensure that systems are messaging
correctly. ISO compliant systems that have been tested with VDX will be available,
including other VDX installations (including SOLS), OCLC, British Library, and CISTI. FD
will provide mechanisms for communicating with other generic script (Aviso) sites and non-
ISO compliant systems, but these may be short term until permanent solutions are in
These first sites may want to consider options to minimize some of the lending (responder)
requests in order to manage until messaging testing has progressed further. Individual
sites will decide when to phase out Aviso. Migration of existing Aviso requests is not part
of the scope of the OCUL implementation.
Local trainers will be trained 3-4 weeks prior to scheduled “go-live” date for the site. “Go-
live” is defined as the date when VDX is configured for operation within a site, testing is
complete, staff are trained and patrons are able to submit requests to VDX. This date will
be determined by the OCUL and FD Project Managers in consultation with the main
institution contact. Once “live,” institutions will have mechanisms for receiving ongoing
support from TIG.
During the fall, FD will provide additional training including training for version 2.3, screen
layout and Web design, and report administration. Customized OCUL reports and patron
interface Web enhancements will be developed with version 2.3. Interface customization
and external report development will not be implemented in version 2.2.7. Once version
2.3 is available, the preliminary patron French interface, developed by FD and SOLS, will
also be loaded on the server and further developed by the French Interface Sub-Group.
With version 2.3, TIG may need to make additional configuration adjustments and provide
November / December 2002
The next three institutions to be setup include:
Ryerson Polytechnic University
System specifications and expectations
Version 2.3 will be available for implementation. The first group will be moved to version
2.3 and the second group setup at a date determined by the Project Manager in
consultation with the institutions. Additional training for version 2.3 will be provided by FD
to TIG and backup trainers. OCUL sites will be provided with appropriate training.
During November, December and January, TIG, in cooperation with FD, will also focus on
intensive performance testing from the live sites, additional testing with external sites,
permanent solutions to any identified short term fixes, Z39.50 attribute “fine tuning”, layout
changes, and revision of some global and local configurations as necessary to ensure that
VDX is performing efficiently. Additional reports and the French interface will be
configured and ready for testing. By this point, FD will have trained the OCUL VDX
Systems Administrator to independently handle most types of configuration changes.
January / February 2003
This time slot is set for installation of the French interface at the universities who will be
principle users, namely:
University of Ottawa
March / April 2003
The final installation will be handled during March and April (dates to be determined by the
Project Manager in cooperation with main contacts at each institution). The remaining
institutions to be set up include:
University of Toronto (complete)
Once all sites are operational on VDX, ongoing support for OCUL institutions will be
primarily provided by the User Support Librarian and the Systems Administrator. FD will
provide ongoing systems support in cooperation with these individuals. Detailed analysis
of operation up to this point will identify future enhancements or configuration changes
needed to ensure that VDX is allowing ILL services to perform at optimal levels.