Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NISO Forum: Library Resource Management Systems

The common problem presented in this forum is dealing with data in and date out. Accessing and sharing enterprise data across systems are still difficult. The phrases frequently came up during the forum are “shared data”, “shared services”, “ leverage the network(the web)”.
Here are some highlights from the forum:

Ex Libris interviews with libraries and other stake holders globally starting in March 2008. The finds-out is:
• Meet users needs – provide a single interface for discovery and delivery of all library/institutional assets
• Do more with less by consolidating workflows, uniting traditional library functions with those of the “digital library”
• Support collaboration to increase productivity, leverage “network effect”, Support re-use of metadata
• Build future services with SOA-based interoperability, Network-based (SaaS) deployment option
• Collect and incorporate user-provided data
• Enable new type of services (To enable easy data “mash-up). Expand the reach (meet the users where they are).
(Toward Service-Oriented Librarianship, Oren Beit-Arie, Ex Libri)

HEFCE funded SCONUL Shared Services feasibility study at UK, the question is
What, if any, opportunities exist to develop a shared service response (possibly Open Source) within the current LMS landscape
Whether there is a viable business case and delivery model to support any such opportunities
Here are some highlights from the study:
• 92% interest in a shared service undertaking e-Journals licensing;
• 92% interest in a shared service undertaking e-Books licensing;
• 84% interest in a shared system for Electronic Resource Management;
• 77% interest in a shared service undertaking Electronic Resource Management.
• High level of readiness to consider Open Source software (30% with a further 45% neutral)
(Investing in a Time of Disruptive Change, Rachel Bruce, JISC)
Lorcan Dempsey has a blog post which has link and comment to the SCONUL Shared Services report (http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001987.html)

“Open source systems so far seem to replicate the old systems.” (Library Domain Model workshop delegate - 19 June, 2009, JISC)
The three new paths at this point are:
1. OLE – Ready to launch 2-year build phase,
o Apply for membership in the Kuali foundation, which already has governance model established, levaging the shared service such as Rice and Fluide.
o Developing a final proposal to Mellon foundation for funding
o Jan 2011, develop URM data model and core services; Jan 2012, core partner institution replace existing ILS
2. URM -- (Ex libris)
o Commercially licensed open platform, SaaS model with local hosting option
o Decoupling metadata services(MMS) from URM and URD2(discovery and delivery)
3. OCLC WorldCat Local cooperative library management system -- Web-scale library automation

The question left after the forum is: Will networked ILS, shared data, shared index, shared service, be the solution? How to ensure agility and flexibility?

Some other note-worthy projects:
• XC user reserarch preliminary report
• KBART: knowledge base and related tools
• VIAF: The Virtual International Authority File, available as Linked Data
• Bibtip, and Bx: recommender service
• Project MESUR: project that looks at the definition and validation of a range of Usage-based metrics of scholarly impact

All the presentations quoted are available at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

At the 10/19 "Open Source, Open Sesame" PTPL meeting at Gallaudet University, Marshall Breeding stated that 98% of libraries still use proprietary, not open source, ILSs. Libraries are exploring whether open source solutions can scale and become a viable alternative to commercial systems. When considering alternatives, libraries should choose a software solution based on the mert of service it delivers, the functionality provided, and the availability of APIs in order to provide interoperability with other vendors' products and provide extended functionality.

Rather than providing users with disjointed discovery silos (e.g., catalog, eresources/link resolver, federated search, IR), libraries are looking for solutions that provide Web scale discovery/deep searching of content, necessitating consolidated pre-populated indexing such as provided by Summon, PrimoCentral, WorldCat Local, and Ebsco's Discovery Service. The discovery solution should search inside a book/journal full text, across library collections including harvested local repository collections, as well as across Google Library, Internet Archive content, and other high quality Web repositories. Bradley Daigle, University of Virginia, postulated that the true value of a library's content repository is that it's permanent, trustworthy, sustainable, and discoverable.

Next generation solutions will provide a single point of entry into all the content and services offered by the library. Our current legacy ILS systems force users and staff to shift in and out of multiple systems/modules. Also at this point, open source ILS are designed on traditional ILS module architecture.

Next generation solutions will use the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model to allow independent software pieces to be brought together, interchanged/repurposed to create new back end services. SOA and enterprise integration will support more efficient sharing of services. Recombining services into a system that meets a library's workflow needs including unified fulfillment (circulation, ILL, consortial borrowing, and request management) are a goal for our next gen systems.
An Age of Discovery: Distinctive Collections in the Digital Age October 15-16, 2009

Each year the annual membership meeting of ARL closes with a Fall Forum. This year’s topic grew out of the recent report of the ARL Working Group on Special Collections. As the name suggests, the program focused on the impact of digital on collecting, preserving and providing access to rare or unique research collections. There were several recurring themes.

Cross-collection collaborations. Don Waters (Mellon Foundation) took issue with the idea that it is a library’s special collections that give it its distinction. This could lead to silos and keep collections separate. Instead the library community must work together to build the collections and services to our unique collections that our users demand and deserve. Susan Nutter (North Carolina State University) summed this up as: “Special Collections must be mainstreamed. We cannot afford to keep them separate and special.”

User-centric collaborations. Listening to what users want and building services to meet those needs was another theme. G. Wayne Clough (Smithsonian) gave many examples of how curators are rethinking how they present collections online by creating ways for the public to tell the Smithsonian what they think about the collections rather than just having sites where the curators tell people what they are seeing. Clough also cautioned the group against building websites that create a physical building online but instead use the digital environment to build virtual collections that cross institutional boundaries. Josh Greenberg (New York Public Library), Fred Heath (University of Texas) and Will Noel (Walters Art Museum) were just three of the speakers who talked about ways Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networking tools have been used to promote and provide access to Special Collections materials.

Cynthia Requardt

NISO Forum: Library Resource Management Systems

I have participated in the NISO Forum on Library Resource Management Systems from 10/8 to 10/9. As one of the twitter said, this event "was thanksgiving dinner for the brain. I'm stuffed", me, too.

The forum started with a keynote from Oren Beit-Arie, "Toward Service-Oriented Librarianship" , and ended with Marshall Breeding's closing presentation "Where can we go from here?".

Besides of the case study of successful stories from libraries used either open source ILS or vendor provided ILS, there are some open source project progress reports from OLE (by Tim McGeary, Lehigh University) and from VuFind (by Andrew Nagy, Serials Solutions). The roundtable discussion gave audience a chance to ask questions to the panlists who are from commercial and open sources support companies.

I list three points I got from the presentations and discussions, (that is my digest so far, not complete) there are: stop doing things in silo way; think where you are and where you are going before deciding on projects; and always think library is not above but part of learning society, sometimes the best solution is outside of library domain.

1. The good example of silo way doing things is CATALOGING! Open mind and open up metadata have been called by libraries and by library consortium. With today's technology it is very easy to reproduce bibliographic utilities like WorldCat, new bibliographic utility and e-resource knowledge bases are now offered to sharing the work. Silo development is also seen by libraries under the open source development, if the project is just to reproduce what is already available without new functionalities, it is wasting library resources. Why it is wasting? Because it does not match the direction that library should be going.

2. As Oren states, library projects can be "classified" into three category: traditional, transitional, and transformational.

- The traditional project is "doing the same thing differently", we still only provide "metadata services" designed for printed materials. With e-resources usage passing the 50% bench mark of library total resources usage, the majority of workflow and staff resources are still towards traditional way doing things. This is what we need to stop doing.

- The transitional project is "doing NEW things in support of traditional functions", discovery tools mentioned as in this category. Library of Congress using Flicks for its photo collection also cited as example of the project in this category. The suggestion for projects in this category is to "focus on the unique (the institutional), and integrate the common (global information). Also stop duplicate efforts.

- The transformational is " doing entirely new and different things", the Datanet project mentioned by Oren as a example of project in this category. Library services need to be considered as an integrated services to, and as part of the parent organization solution to support e-learn and e-research.

3. The functions that library provides as a stand alone services will be very limited.
MacKenzie Smith in her talk of "Integrating Library Resource Management Systems into Campus Infrastructure for Research and Education" showed the data and IT resources used by the university communities, library's data is very tiny in the map, and library services is heavily depended on the resources from university. Ezproxy, sfx, and e-reserves are mentioned as depended on SSO/Shibboleth support from the university IT, and the user data and research data will also be needed for library future development. It is important to look at the big picture before thinking of library data storage and network needs, and purchase for application software that might be better off by using enterprise applications support.

What I have learned from the meetings have direct impact on my projects such as shibboleth/remote access, course reserves system investigation, and planning for future library resources management tools...

I believe the meeting materials will help many of us to think ahead or/and rethink what we are doing now, I have included the conference link below, and the speakers' biography and most of power point presentations can be found from the link. link http://www.niso.org/news/events/2009/lrms09/agenda.

Foster Zhang/Library systems