The European Library provides services for the European national and research libraries and has three major library associations as key stakeholders: Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) and Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).
The end-user services include a web portal, an API and distribution by means of Linked Open Data. Stakeholder services include supporting the library community, aggregation of library content and a channel for libraries to Europeana, a project of the European Commission. To guarantee the availability of these services The European Library required a stable hosting environment with great technical support at an affordable price.
The web portal allows access to up to 200 million records which are served via Solr indexes. It has a constant usage of approx 1,500 users per day, with search requests dealt with in less than 1 second.
The previous hosting provider could no longer meet the growing needs of The European Library. It was therefore decided to move to a new hosting environment and put out a tender with clear requirements for stability, responsiveness and value for money. External reviewers assessed the proposals and gave a recommendation of the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC).
Technical Manager, Markus Muhr, states “The main benefit has been the excellent uptime of our servers at the hosting environment at ULCC. We have received very good technical support and administrative tasks have significantly reduced for the technical team at The European Library.” The highly experienced technical team at ULCC ensured the server infrastructure was well maintained and kept The European Library continuously updated of any problems.
The technical development environment was made stable and secure, providing The European Library with good technical guidance for the installation of new tools and services.
ULCC also provided additional benefits, including the extension of the customer support hours beyond the negotiated 9 to 5 when required.
Developments are never without their risks, so when The European Library had a major hardware failure in one of its servers, ULCC quickly and effectively fixed the problem. Muhr states “Thanks to ULCC, the uptime of our homepage is now 99.1% the 0.9% downtime is due to software maintenance.”