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Library system integration

The cutover taking place in September 2003, ALEPH500 has been used at BUT since 2002. At present, the following sites are offering their library and information services using this system:

  • BUT Central library,
  • Library FA,
  • Library FEEC,
  • Library FCH,
  • Library FIT
  • Library FBM,
  • Library and Information Centre FCE
  • Library FME
  • Library FFA

The system contains over 100,000 bibliographic records and more than 230,000 units with a yearly increment of about 20,000 new copies. Over 40,000 users are registered including university students, teachers, and a large number of other readers. Every year, the libraries lent over 100,000 books and mediated almost 2500 interlibrary loans.

Reader authentication

BUT readers are being authenticated by the LDAP protocol . On logon, a reader's identity (including a password) is checked  against an address server, which is part of the university information system. Thus, Aleph does not store passwords.

When logging on to the catalogue, a user is asked to enter a vutpin, which is sort of a secondary password.

Readers Import

BUT students, teachers and other staff become readers of BUT libraries by default without having to pay for the membership.

All information needed to open a reader's account is provided by the university central database (CDB). The following data are required:

  • Unique identifier (VUT perid)
  • First name and surname
  • Mailing address
  • E-mail address
  • Data on BUT employment(s)
  • Employment termination date
  • Student/teacher card data
  • Photo

These data are used to open and update readers' accounts.


The CDB is accessed via the http protocol. Files are downloaded in the CSV format. Python script is used to process data resulting in XML files with data supported by Aleph. The p-file-20 service supporting input XML files is used for downloads to Aleph.

The whole mechanism is controlled by a bash script.

Incremental import (of new or updated records) is carried out each night. Once a month, both systems are synchronised – with all records downloaded and updated. In this way, also records not covered by the incremental imports are loaded.

Independent of this process, photos of readers are stored in appropriate places of the directory structure of the library system. This is again done using a web interface.

Uploading records of theses

Traditionally, BUT libraries store theses in printed or electronic format. Students submit their theses to the information system - the CDB also contains metadata. These metadata are used to set up a bibliographic record, which can be uploaded to Aleph thus making the librarian's work easier.

A new user service uses units physically delivered to the library to create a new bibliographic record. Slightly modified, this is then assigned a unit and the process is finished. It may only be uploaded once (attempts at reloading or updating are rejected), thus providing the librarian with a guarantee that it will not be rewritten by the system.

The solution has replaced  the preceding one, which had a number of flaws (the entire base image was being loaded – regardless of the existing units, the templates were of poor quality, the librarian could not control a record, etc).


The http protocol is used to access the CDB. The files are downloaded using the JSON format.

An XSLT transformation is used to convert the downloaded data to a bibliographic record in the oai_marc format that can be stored in the system.

The x-server services (such as find, present, and update_doc) are used to interact with Aleph.

The entire mechanism is controlled by a Perl program being implemented as a finite automaton.

The librarian can access it via the p-but-01 user service, which expects eVŠKP id (unique project identifier) as an input parameter.

2021-09-19 08:19:24
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