Living in interesting times: KualiOLE announce further funding from Mellon Foundation

I thought it was worth posting this announcement I saw about the KualiOLE project receiving further funding from the Mellon Foundation ($750,000 in total).

While the KualiOLE project is a partnership between US research libraries, it is also a project which is generating some interest within the UK library community.

I don’t think it would be an overstatement to claim that the Library Systems landscape is in a particularly interesting phase at the moment.

A few years ago, 2007/8, Jisc and SCONUL released their LMS landscape report which reflected on the library communities frustration at the perceived lack of visible innovation with the systems space.

Over the past few years that landscape has been somewhat transformed with new proprietary systems from all the major library systems vendors, as well as the first implementation of an open source solution at Staffordshire University.

And, we shouldn’t forget the impact of  the sale of Talis group’s Library Division to Capita.

This agitation of the fragile library systems ecology has continued apace, and things do not seem to be slowing down…

Late last year, the Bloomsbury Library Management Systems Consortium made a decision in principle to develop a new, 21st century Library Systems with KualiOLE as its platform. There is a great post by John Robinson of SOAS  on what led them to the decision and what the library systems landscape looks like from their perspective at the moment.

At the same time some of the projects involved in the Jisc Library Systems programme have had their interest sparked by the KualiOLE project.

This interest and general awareness was catalysed by the SCONUL KualiOLE seminar held prior to the SCONUL Winter conference in December 2012, which a number of institutions attended.

A number of projects and libraries posted thoughts on the work of KualiOLE, a sample of some are below:

There has also been a very fruitful partnership between KualiOLE, Jisc and JISC Collections to build an open web service that provides electronic resource information on a global scale.

The Global Open knowledgebase (GOKb) project is working in partnership with knowledgebase+ (KB+)  and sharing a common data model to help address those global electronic resource management issues, such as data accuracy, transfer formats and so on. As well as helping establish a global library community working together to solve some of these everyday frustrations and challenges.

GOKb is set to deliver an open, community-based, international data repository that will provide libraries with publication information about electronic resources, supporting libraries in providing efficient and effective services to their users and ensuring that critical electronic collections are available to their students and researchers.

It will help underpin both the KualiOLE management system, and provide valuable data and collaboration for KB+ and the UK library community.

So these are very exciting times for libraries (in both the UK and elsewhere) as they reflect on the requirements of their users and the functionality and agility of their systems. And, while libraries find themselves navigating through these constantly treacherous technological waters, it may be worth keeping an eye on the work of the LMS Change project.

Like a bright star in the sky, it may help guide you to slightly calmer waters!


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