(April 2000 - August 2003)

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Library of Texas Project F.A.Q.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Library of Texas Project
(April 2000 - August 2003)

Some Frequently Asked Questions about the Library of Texas Project:

1). Why a Library of Texas Project?

The Library of Texas Project grew out of a strategic planning session involving representatives from the TexShare library community, Texas Education Agency, Texas Library Association, Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board Library Advisory Board, regional library systems, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. This group identified creation of an "anytime, anywhere library, combining all products with a seamless interface access to databases, catalogs, government information" as one of its top two priorities. The Library of Texas will make the dream of an "anytime anywhere library" a reality. It will help connect the citizens of Texas to a larger body of knowledge no matter where they live in the state. The Library of Texas search interface is one of the results of the Library of Texas Project.

The Library of Texas Project strengthened Texas libraries by enhancing the content, services, and resources available to local libraries and their users. The Library of Texas Project fulfilled this mission by providing the following four components:
A Library of Texas search service (now called the Library of Texas).
An electronic databases component (the TexShare Databases)
The Electronic Depository Program
Training for Texas librarians

2). What is the Library of Texas?

The Library of Texas is a search and retrieval information tool that searches the multiple library catalogs of Texas libraries, TexShare Databases, and other information sources. The Library of Texas was produced by the Library of Texas Project as one of four Project components. The Library of Texas was called the Resource Discovery Service during the Library of Texas Project phase.

3). What are the TexShare Electronic Databases?

The TexShare Databases are electronic resources that are authoritative, ad free, and appropriate for children. They are available 24 hours a day from the homes or offices of Texans that are registered in participating Texas libraries. These databases expand the reference collection of participating libraries, and its "shelves" are stocked with encyclopedias, reference books, literature, medical information, journals that cover business, science and technical topics, and even current newspapers and magazines. "Free" search engines provide an index of free information, but authentic, verifiable, scholarly information is not usually available for free.

The Library of Texas (formerly Resource Discovery Service during the project phase) makes it more convenient and easier to search these databases than using a separtate native interface for each individual database. A list of TexShare member libraries is available. The last column on the list indicates whether the library is a participant of the database program. Click here for descriptions of what is available through the databases. Ask your local public or academic library reference librarian for more details on how to access the databases.

4). How will I be able to use the Electronic Depository component of the Library of Texas?

A user will log on to the Library of Texas and search for older, non current editions of state agency Web sites and other electronic documents. Currently, government information that is being published electronically and on the web can change quickly or disappear entirely. Tracing the development, growth & priorities of state government departments becomes increasingly difficult when prior versions of electronic documents are not archived. Researchers from Texas and all over the world will be able to review these electronic documents by logging on to the Library of Texas or on to the TRAIL (Texas Records and Information Locator) page.

5). How were the Library of Texas participating libraries chosen? How can my library be included? The basic criteria for inclusion are:

The basic criteria for inclusion are:

1. Your automated library system must include a Z39.50 server that is running, compliant with the Bath profile, and accessible through the Internet from the State Library (IP addresses and

2. The host name, port number, and database name for your Z39.50 server must be known to State Library staff. Please provide this by e-mail to Kevin Marsh, Network Services Librarian.

3. You must give the State Library permission to list your collection in the Library of Texas interface. You may also want to give the State Library permission to share your MARC records with other libraries. E-mail is sufficient for this permission, no physical signatures needed.

Participating libraries may also wish to inform the State Library of their collection strengths on a scale of 1-5 in the 10 subject areas used by the Library of Texas
(Business Information, General Information, History & Genealogy, Homework & Education, Librarian Tools, Literature & Criticism, Medicine & Health, Newspapers & Magazines, Science & Technology, Spanish Materials). Note that a rating of 3 will cause your collection to appear as a possible (unchecked) search target for users of nearby libraries, while a rating of 4 or 5 will cause your collection to be selected (checked) by default as a search target for users of nearby libraries.

If libraries provide a URL for a 75 x75 pixel image of their logo, we will be glad to display the logo on every Library of Texas page for users of your library. If you will provide a URL for your library home page and your Web catalog we can include those appropriately as well.

Please send an e-mail to TexShare, Network Services Librarian, for more information.

6). What is the Z39.50 protocol and why is it important to the Library of Texas?

Protocols are languages that computers use to "talk" to each other. The Z39.50 protocol standard may be applied to participating computers so that they could all be "speaking" the same language. Applying this standard allows the Resource Discovery Service software to search many different collections on many different computers all at once. The methods used to create the services of the Library of Texas will be scaleable and reproducible to ensure that all Texas libraries are able to participate if they wish to do so. At this time the Z39.50 protocol holds the most promise.

7). What impact does the Library of Texas have on libraries?

The Library of Texas can make the "anytime anywhere" library a reality for Texas library users. It will be a service to enable librarians to extend their library services to reach users outside the library walls. Participation is voluntary and there are no costs involved in order to offer this service. The Virtual Library includes a resource discovery tool, and there is an obvious need for a "discovery to delivery" link. Initial implementation will link to existing ILL and document delivery services. New interlibrary loan procedures may develop to take advantage of technologies that speed delivery of the resources identified through this tool. These may include use of Circulation Interchange Protocol. The Circulation Interchange Protocol will facilitate communication between disparate systems, such as library circulation systems and InterLibrary Loan systems, for example. Definitions of the Circulation Interchange Protocol can be read at the National Institute for Information Standards Web site on

8). What impact does the Library of Texas service and training programs have on existing programs, services, and policies, particularly InterLibrary Loan?

There is no mandatory participation in the Library of Texas. Librarians will be enabled, but not required to offer these services. There are no costs involved in order to offer these services. Web-based training, video conferencing, and train-the-trainer sessions at library conferences will be available to all interested librarians. Citations will be easier to identify, and they will be handed to libraries electronically for processing by existing systems. Future policies are being considered and discussed concerning the effect on Interlibrary Loan protocols by the staff of the Texas State Library and various advisory groups, such as the Texshare ILL working group and the TexShare Library of Texas Working Group. The Library of Texas is a discovery tool, but there is an obvious need for a "discovery to delivery" link.

9). How will Texas libraries and TSLAC sustain these programs on an ongoing basis?

A total of $13,281,962 was granted from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board (TIFB) to fund the start-up hardware and software costs of the Library of Texas search service, enhanced database choices, the Electronic Depository, and Training Components from the period of 9/1/01 to 8/31/03. Once in place, the cost to maintain the Resource Discovery Service (now known as Library of Texas), the TexShare Databases, Electronic Depository, and Training components will be funded by becoming part of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission ongoing budget.

10). What impact will the training component have on libraries?

The Library of Texas Project training component benefits not only librarians, but also records managers and staff from local and state agencies, other state agency personnel, and the general public. Using this technology, TSLAC and the Texas Library Systems will have the ability to reach large numbers of people, either individually or in groups, and to provide training at the time it is needed. This will help eliminate the restrictions placed on TSLAC staff travel to provide on-site training for only a handful of people and provide access to both TSLAC- and System-developed training to anyone with a Web browser, VCR or CD-ROM drive.

The goal of the Library of Texas Project training component is to provide a blended approach to training that includes as many opportunities for continuing education for as many people as possible. This blended approach to training will include:

1) On-site lecture/demonstration
2) In-person hands-on training
3) In-person train-the-trainer workshops
4) Interactive videoconferencing
5) Web-based training and tutorials

The Library of Texas (LoT) training component includes two aspects of distance education: interactive videoconferencing and web-based learning.


TSLAC will install a duplex (two-way or send-and-receive) videoconferencing (VC) system in its main building that will allow the agency to originate training events and broadcast them to up to 16 remote sites. Remote sites will be placed in medium to large public libraries in each regional library System. Library Development staff will use the VC system to present workshops for library staff. State and Local Records training staff will use it to broadcast records retention training for local governments around the state. The units will also be available for use by groups in the libraries' local communities.

In addition to providing live broadcasts, the PC-based videoconferencing system also will allow TSLAC to record training sessions, archive them on an internal server, and make them available for viewing to anyone with a web browser and a personal computer. Alternative recorded formats, such as videotape and CD-ROM, will also be provided. This will allow TSLAC to reach many more people and to provide on-demand training at both the individual and group levels.

Besides providing training, the videoconferencing systems will allow TSLAC, System and library staff around the state to conduct meetings and discussions, and to view and modify Word or Excel documents as a group through data collaboration.


The second part of the LoT training component will provide web-based learning software that will allow TSLAC and System staff to develop and present instruction over the Web. Levels of instruction will range from self-paced tutorials to fully interactive courses that include video, audio and text-based interaction (e.g., chat or bulletin board discussions, as well as live classroom interaction for those without the audio capability).

As with the videoconferencing classes, TSLAC will have the capacity to record and archive the web-based learning courses and make them available on-demand to individual learners via the Web, videotape or CD-ROM. The web-based learning software purchased for this program have the capability of handling up to 250 simultaneous users, which will allow TSLAC and System staff to develop, modify, record and broadcast live interactive courses simultaneously.


Currently, the videoconferencing units have been ordered and TSLAC is finalizing the remote videoconferencing sites. Once all the Memorandums of Understanding with the libraries are signed and returned, these systems will be shipped to the remote sites and installed by TSLAC IRT staff (August-December 2002). The web-based learning software has been ordered and will be received and installed by TSLAC IRT staff in July and August 2002. After receiving training on both the videoconferencing and web-based learning tools, TSLAC and System staff will begin developing training events for both mediums between January and August 2003.

For more information about the LoT Training Component, contact Naomi Dominguez, Distance Learning Consultant at or 512-936-2586.

Page last modified: July 21, 2011