November 2, 1999 . The electronic newsletter of the University Library, University of South Alabama, published irregularly as a service to the University Community.


The Alabama Virtual Library
by Jerry Wright

The Alabama Virtual Library provides electronic access to databases offering the most up-to-date information and the latest research to constituencies across Alabama, including public schools, public libraries, public two-year colleges, and colleges and universities.

The Alabama Virtual Library(AVL) is founded through the act of the Legislature, providing $3,000,000 for fiscal year 1999-2000. While the various institutions provide the hardware, software, and the Internet connections, there is no additional charge to participate in AVL.

Advantages for higher education include the fact that central funding from a common pool of money will permit negotiations for the lowest possible prices for the databases needed by colleges and universities.

Advantages for public schools include access for students at all schools--urban or rural, rich or poor--to the lastest information. Their teachers can make challenging assignments knowing that resources will be available. In instances where a school may not yet have Internet access, a nearby public library will have access.

Each constituent group will have access to databases that will answer to their particular needs. AVL has decided to begin with an electronic encyclopedia, an electronic periodical index with full text of articles, a "reference center" such as the Electric Library, and an index to newspapers.

Governance of AVL is by a board representing all of the constituencies involved: public colleges and universities, public two-year colleges, public schools and public libraries. Administration comes through the Alabama Public Library Service. Technical assistance is available from the Alabama Supercomputer Authority.

The following agencies have representation:
Alabama Commission of Higher Education--Its library arm is the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries(NAAL)
Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education
Alabama State Department of Education
Alabama Public Library Service
Alabama Supercomputer Authority

The first statewide program similar to AVL is in neighboring Georgia. It is called GALILEO and it has been very successful.

It is hoped that AVL will foster a unified spirit of trust and cooperation among the partners in this enterprise. Let us remember to thank the state senators and representatives and the Governor for providing the leadership to begin the Alabama Virtual Library. Let us also thank the people who implement AVL statewide and in your library.

The latest developments can be found at the AVL webpage:

The databases are all available from our homepage:

SOUTHcat Plus
University Homepage
To make comments or suggestions, or to get more information, call (334) 460-6045 or e-mail Jan Sauer.
  Last updated 10/30/99. js
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