This programme of work is an attempt to develop a practical vision for a future library systems infrastructure to support institutions in their continuing mission to provide users with access to a range of services and content that supports teaching, learning and research.

Library Systems Programme

This programme of work is an attempt to develop a practical vision for a future library systems infrastructure to support institutions in their continuing mission to provide users with access to a range of services and content that supports their teaching, learning and research. This work will support libraries in their strategic planning for new systems developments and deliver a visionary 'roadmap' for the development of world-class systems to meet the needs and expectations of users in UK colleges and universities.

Library systems landscape

Since 2007 and the publication of the JISC/SCONUL LMS landscape report the library systems environment has changed significantly. The landscape in 2007/08 was one of stasis - the advice was to invest cautiously if you had to - while the pace of technology outside the library was continuing apace, inside it seemed to be struggling to keep up with expectations. 

In 2009 the  JISC Library Management Systems Programme (jiscLMS) explored a range of library systems opportunities including: usability, electronic resource management, open systems and 'the library in the web'. 

It was clear from the work of the projects involved in jiscLMS that a lot could be achieved through relatively small amounts of investment, and a combination of the right local skills and an understanding of user requirements. It was also clear from the programme that there was an increasing need for institutional systems to interoperate and share data; delivering efficient systems and improved services for students and researchers. 

In the last few years the library systems landscape has seen a number of significant changes: 

  1. There is an increasing number of Unified and web-scale systems in development, including: Ex libris’ Alma, and OCLC and Serial Solutions web-scale solutions. These new systems look to bridge the gap between print and electronic, and begin to realise the potential of working as part of the web and network. 
  2. A number of open and community source systems have emerged, including: Evergreen, Koha and Kuali OLE. Along with the open source library software have emerged third parties to support libraries in the implementation and maintenance of these systems - making open source an increasingly viable options. 
  3. Indeed, UK higher education has seen the first implementation of an open source LMS at Staffordshire University – open source library systems have come of age!

    Programme aims and objectives

    The aim of this work is to investigate what the future potential of the library systems is: how can library systems ensure they are able to serve the needs of next-generation library services and users, as well as being both effective and efficient in meeting reduced budgets and rising user expectations? 

    To achieve this aim this programme will :

    • Develop a practical vision for a future library systems infrastructure to support institutions in their continuing mission to provide users with access to a range of services and content that supports their teaching, learning and research;
    • Provide a 'roadmap' or planning tool for the delivery of this vision for the UK library community;
    • Undertake a series of 'pathfinder' projects to help contribute to a new vision for library systems and provide concrete, practical examples of work for the library community (that may also contribute to the creation and implementation of a vision).

    For more information on the programme and its aims and motivations, see this short set of background slides shown at the Library Systems Programme Meeting in July 2012:

    The projects

    The library systems work consists of 7 directly funded projects: There is one overarching synthesis and scoping project that will provide a pragmatic new vision for the future of library systems and a ‘roadmap’ for the delivery of that vision.

    LMS Change 
    University of Westminster
    Partners: Sero Consulting

    The LMS Change project will develop and disseminate a vision for the future of library systems and a delivery ‘roadmap’. Working with the companion Pathdinders, the project will explore the potential for new approaches to library systems infrastructure, taking account of considerations beyond the traditional LMS to include other business critical and curatorial systems, both within and above campus. The findings will be delivered in a single report, published in a highly  navigable web format.

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    The remaining 6 ‘pathfinder’ projects will explore various aspects of library systems. The projects are:

    WHELF Library Systems Shared Services Feasibility Study
    University of Cardiff
    Partners: WHELF member institutions

    Building on the work of the earlier ‘WHELF: Sharing a Library Management System’ feasibility report the project will explore the potential benefits and pain points inherent in a move from distributed to centralised hosting and infrastructure model for a suite of library systems software, while building a possible overall business case for such a move by the HEIs within the WHELF consortium.

    Read more about the work on the project blog.

    The Benefits of Sharing (How would a Shared Library Management System improve services in Scotland?) 
    University of Edinburgh
    Partners: The University of Stirling; SCURL (Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries)

    This project will contribute towards a new vision for library systems by investigating the following question: “How would a shared library management system improve services in Scotland?”

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    HIKE (Huddersfield, Intota, KnowledgeBase+ Evaluation) 
    University of Huddersfield
    Partners: JISC Collections, Serial Solutions

    The project will build upon the work undertaken by Huddersfield as part of Phase I of the KB+ project, as an early adopter of Summon and the TERMS project, in order to carry out a full assessment of the compatibility of KB+ with Serials Solutions and an evaluation of the suitability and potential of Intota as a replacement to the traditional LMS in the UK market, given its relationship to and integration with a knowledgebase.

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    E-BASS25 (E-Books Acquisition as a Shared Service in M25) 
    Royal Holloway, University of London
    Partners: Kingston University, JISC Collections

    The project will deliver a series of linked reports and guidelines which will form a navigation tool for consortia seeking to embark on collaborative purchasing of e-books with particular reference to the Patron Driven Acquisition of eBooks.

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    Anthologizr: On demand e-publishing from OA repositories
    University of London

    Using the EPrints repository software as its basis, the project will develop an extension to enable and support the creation of user-defined anthologies of items in the repository, using the open EPUB e-book standard.

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    Collaborative Collection Management
    Kings College London
    Partners: Senate House Library, University of London; Mimas; RLUK

    Against a pressurised backdrop of economic challenges, teaching and learning physical space redevelopment needs, growing awareness of the student experience concept, and the ongoing move to ‘e’ only, the need to better manage collections has grown evermore urgent while at the same time becoming an increasingly complex and difficult problem space. This project will see King’s College London and Senate House libraries collaborate on above campus initiatives around collection management for the benefit of students and researchers.

    Read more about the work on the project blog

    Wider community engagement

    In addition to the projects directly funded under this funding call, the programme will be engaging with four projects that are either in progress or are currently being explored by their host institutions. These are:

    BLMS - Bloomsbury Library Management System

    This project is building on the strengths of the Bloomsbury Colleges and Senate House Library and their track record for sharing and collaboration.They are undertaking a study of the landscape of the 21st century Library Management Systems (LMSs) - and evaluating the options for building, commissioning or procuring a Bloomsbury Library Management System (BLMS) as a shared-service.

    The goal is that a phased roll out of the selected LMS will begin in summer 2013.

    RLIM - Remote Vs. Local Index Management

    RLIM (Remote vs. Local Index Management) aims to explore the issues around the management of search indexes, and the degree to which these are best managed locally or remotely. The impact on library management and skills will be assessed and the pros and cons of remote vs. local search index management identified.

    MOLY - My Own Library

    MOLY aims to create a personal library resources space, accessed through the library website. This space will provide a personal view of the library resources that are relevant to the individual student, academic or researcher, have been used by them or are recommended to them. 

    Drawing on activity data from the library and the University’s Data Warehouse the project will build an environment that pulls together data, services and tools from a range of library and University systems to provide a consolidated route into library services. The project will provide an exemplar of how libraries can deliver seamless personalised spaces.

    IMpreSS - Image Management Shared Service feasibility study

    IMpreSS will explore the feasibility, requirements and scope of a potential shared library image/digital object management system, and to identify and evaluate systems that could support this.

    Library system resources

    Library systems and user experience:

    Programme contact

    Ben Showers
    Programme Manager, Digital Infrastructure