Melinda is a collaborative environment for national cataloguing activities as well as a national metadata repository that is used to collate descriptive metadata on library materials. Participating libraries can use the shared repository to catalogue their materials and thus enable this information to be further utilised. This process helps the libraries decrease their workload and save costs, allowing them to focus on providing their patrons with even better services.
As a rule, Melinda contains all of the materials of its participating libraries. The theses, dissertations and electronic material packages included in Melinda have been catalogued by the libraries based on their individual policies and licensing terms.
Melinda’s operating model is cross-platform, which means the service has the same objectives and tasks regardless of the platform that it is run on. Any changes in Melinda’s technical platform will not affect its operating model.
Currently, the service and the related metadata repository run on the Aleph library system. Library patrons can search for information directly on Melinda.
The service is set to expand gradually
Melinda is the direct descendant of LINDA, the union catalogue for university and joint libraries as well as certain special libraries. In addition to the libraries’ reference data, Melinda also contains the Finnish National Bibliography (Fennica). The National Metadata Repository Initiative helped Finnish university of applied sciences libraries to join Melinda in 2012–2014, and the first public libraries in 2015. Melinda is set to gradually become a shared metadata repository for all Finnish libraries. The ultimate goal of the service is to have each work or material be catalogued in the metadata repository only once, thus reducing the incidence of overlapping work.
The National Metadata Repository Initiative is responsible for the service’s development and expansion work.
From a union catalogue to a more comprehensive service
Melinda, as well as its predecessor, the union catalogue LINDA, is the oldest online library network service provided by the National Library of Finland. The service is based on a cataloguing automation project that was initiated in the 1970s by the IT Unit of Finnish Research Libraries (TKAY). TKAY operated under the Ministry of Education from the 1970s until the beginning of the 1990s. In 1993, the unit was transferred to the National Library of Finland, then known as Helsinki University Library. The launch of the online information retrieval system LINDA was carried out between 1993 and 1994.
Since its inception, the joint catalogue has served as
- A copy cataloguing source for bibliographic records,
- An online information retrieval system for patrons,
- A locating tool for interlibrary loan services.