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UniCat - Towards a Belgian Virtual Union Catalogue (Second phase: January 2004 - December 2006)

Research project I2/2F/101 (Research action I2)

Contract I2/2F/101 :

Duration of the contract :


Partners :

  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Coordinator of the project)
  • Royal Library of Belgium 
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles 
  • Université Catholique de Louvain 
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • Universiteit Antwerpen 

Description :

The main objective of the UniCat project is the Development and organization of an operational UniCat Service.

The UniCat Service aims in establishing a gateway allowing users to simultaneously search and retrieve bibliographic records from Belgian library catalogues. As such UniCat can be considered as a virtual union catalogue of Belgian libraries. This gateway is based on protocols such as OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) and metadata standards such as MODS (UniCat Metadata Object Description Schema).

Basically the UniCat project Phase II will be focused in transforming the existing prototype application into a full-fledged working application. A necessary framework will be established that will cater for complete loading of data from all the partners into the UniCat Central Repository, testing the completeness of the data loaded, Guidance & Feedback mechanisms, Logging and statistics etc. Functional extensions will be also accommodated as-per-needs basis.

The easy-to-use & efficient UniCat Web Search interface will be developed which will search/browse through the Unicat Central repository thereby ensuring fast & efficient search results. The online Web Search interface has the necessary indexes & search features which will satisfy all users spreading across different use-levels (simple/advanced). The UniCat web interface will be made well-known to the general public by organizing or participating in workshops & seminars. External (functional/technical) experts would be invited and will be requested to reflect their opinions/views/guidance on the overall application.

A Business plan will be devised which will concentrate on the continuation of the UniCat service after the end of the project. It will make an analysis of the various business objectives & goals like financial costs (staff, hardware, software …), profits & various other business scenarios like identifying the customers, competition etc. The plan will enclose subordinate plans like Marketing plan, Management plan, Operating plan, Financial plan. It will consider the opportunities & risks involved in the business venture of the UniCat service.

UniCat will also invite external data providers so as to enrich the UniCat Service with more diversified data. A basic list of Technical & Legal requirements on the issue of external data providers & the handling of their data will be clearly defined.
The new external partners will register their institution through the online Unicat Registration Office thereby adhering to OAI-PMH protocol & data-delivery in UMODS schema.

Currently the UniCat has 6 partners: Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, K.U.Leuven (representing LIBIS-Net), ULB, UCL, UGent and UA (representing Anet). In total more than 40 various libraries (academic, special, corporate, archives, museums…). So the UniCat Central Repository already rich with an huge collection of records cutting across different domains thereby enabling the end-user to have one-place one-application to access different databases.


- Contact person (project's coordinator):

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL)
LIBIS Bibliotheekinformaticadienst
Johan Rademakers
De Croylaan 52B
Phone : 016 32 22 64
Fax : 016 32 29 81


Coordinator Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL)
LIBIS - Bibliotheekinformaticadienst

Partner 1 Royal Library of Belgium (KBR)

Partner 2 Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) Recherche-Développement et Information Scientifique (RDIS)

Partner 3 Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) Bibliothèque de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Education

Partner 4 Universiteit Gent (UG) Centrale Bibliotheek

Partner 5 Universiteit Antwerpen (UA) UIA-Bibliotheek

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