LRM links

Posted on September 11th, 2013 by cleach

Links to documentation supporting our selection of a new Library Resource Management platform:

“Next Generation library systems” from SCONUL’s HE Library Technology site

Bloomsbury Library Management System Consortium (implementing Kuali open source LMS)

Ken Chad’s document on the “Library Service Platform Context”

Ken Chad’s library platform specification document

JISC library systems thread

“The future of library systems” by Carl Grant

Reviews of some of the new library platforms, by Carl Grant

Report of JISC meeting in July 2013 covering the feedback from the JISC LMS projects



What a COSI meeting that was…

Posted on December 5th, 2011 by cleach

Last week I attended the AGM of the COSI-EMEA user group at Birkbeck College of London University. COSI-EMEA stands for the Customers of SirsiDynix International – Europe, Middle East and Africa, though I have to say there weren’t many non-UK EMEAns present.

Our Horizon library management system is now one of SirsiDynix’s legacy products, but we plough on with it (indeed we are about to sign up for a 3-year SaaS deal to host Horizon on their servers) because we are just starting to implement the Library Systems Strategy that was given the thumbs-up by the University a few weeks ago, and spending a lot of cash on a new whizzy LMS system with all the associated implementation, linking to other new products and major staff retraining was a leap too far for th emoment. Once the new discovery products and other systems are being put in place, we will have time to review how the LMS market is moving – there’s lots of web-scale and open source activity going on in this area, which should give us more choice at that point.

Having said all this, I still decided that the vacancy on the user group committee was me-shaped, so I volunteered. I’ve done this sort of thing before, for the old Horizon User Group (COSI, HUG – think there’s a theme trending here….) so I know what’s involved, AND I would make sure that those of us still using Horizon would get represented. There may even be a possibility of going to the US user group (COSUGI) conference in Florida. Hey, it’s a dirty job…….etc.

One of the themes of the AGM was around the mixed quality of the helpdesk support provided by SirsiDynix. Many (including yours truly) reported that, since the helpdesk support was removed entirely to the US, and Utah in particular, we didn’t often get a reply to our logs until after 3pm UK time (8am Utah time), so there was an inevitable delay. There is supposed to be a dedicated EMEA support team working EMEA time, but there wasn’t a lot of evidence of that. Despite this, the support we received ranged from excellent to indifferent, so the message went back to the company panjandrums that it needs looking at.

The next COSI committee (the first one for me) will be late January/early February, so watch this space!



The possibilities are endless.. Open Source day at Loughborough

Posted on September 21st, 2011 by cleach

I attended the Evolution of open source library systems seminar run and sponsored by PTFS Europe at Loughborough University yesterday. It proved to be a very informative and encouraging day.

There were no fewer than 57 attendees, from a mix of public, university and special libraries, which gives a clue to the burgeoning interest in open source LMS in the UK. The open source LMS has been increasingly adopted in the US for a while now, to the extent where it is not regarded as unusual, and companies have sprung up to support it. However, it has been slower to take off in the UK, perhaps because of the percieved need for your own roomful of techies to install it and pander to its every whim, but the advent of support companies like PTFS (and they are only one of several) in the UK and Europe are changing:

Several speakers set out clearly the thinking behind open source solutions, from setting out a business case (Ken Chad) through the history, development and current state of open source systems, specifically Koha and Evergreen (Nick Dimant), via technical background (Jonathan Field). There was also a presentation from Dave Parkes and Paul Johnson at Staffordshire University on their (very rapid  – 6 months from decision to live!) implemetation of Koha – the first at a UK university.  PTFS also outlined other products they are involved in supporting or developing as well as their ArchivalWare digital archiving software:

VuFind open source library resource portal

CUFTS/GODOT  open source link resolver and serials management

PTFS Reading list software  – very new

…which goes to show they’re not just about open source LMS.

The overall feeling of the day was that open source is now very much a viable option, and one which gives the opportunity for a stable support network with contractual obligation through companies like PTFS coupled with the possibility of great flexibility and customisability in a potentially very agile environment. Apparently it doesn’t take very long to get things fixed, either! Is this the future, then? Many proprietory LMS vendors hope not…..

That old papery stuff may still have it’s uses!

Posted on September 9th, 2011 by cleach

Thanks to a tweet from @AlisonMcNab, I was pointed at this VIP LiveWire post on electronic vs paper reading . And it makes interesting (electronic) reading.

I’ve been aware for some time that our users have a wide variety of engagement with e-resources, from those for whom anything non-electronic doesn’t exist to those who still have a hankering for parchment and quills. Many users do still find that it’s easier to work with several physical books open on a desk in front of them; others like the facility to access a resource whenever and wherever they like. However, recent research (albeit on a small scale) from the University of Oregon suggests that, for the more intensive reading needed at HE level, doing it from paper may actually make remembering it easier.

Whether this has any implications for HE libraries is more difficult to predict. However, it is likely that print will be sitting alongside e- (in a virtual sense, you understand!)  for a while yet, even if the balance between the two shifts. It would be interesting to do some research into the reading patterns of students at those institutions which have a preponderance of e-resources over paper and compare it to those at which paper still holds sway. It might illuminate some differences in the best ways to promote learning in the different resource environments.

Here we go, here we go..

Posted on September 6th, 2011 by cleach

I’ve refrained from blogging in a personal sense until now, as I didn’t think anyone would be interested in my witterings, but I then realised I’m reading everyone ELSE’s blog witterings, so here goes. Watch this space!