The national libraries of Australia and New Zealand, along with 15 Australian universities and two state libraries, have launched an online local inter-lending document delivery administration system.
Described as a world first for the online management of print and electronic information resource delivery, the Liddas system is rated as a key component in the "distributed resource sharing" strategies being developed by Australian university libraries.
In parallel projects, the national libraries of Australia and New Zealand have implemented National Interlending Utility Systems based on software designed by Fretwell-Downing Informatics of Sheffield.
A spokesman for the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee said that Liddas and the national system would inter-operate to provide a distributed resource sharing infrastructure.
"It is most gratifying to see a collaborative project on this scale coming to fruition at a time when the competitive ethos plays such a strong role in higher education," the AVCC spokesman said.
"The university library community is to be commended on its vision and determination to further the networked delivery of information resources to the teaching and research communities across Australia."
Fretwell-Downing Informatics has been involved for the past decade as a major partner in several European Commission projects aimed at developing library applications in an open system environment.