A current project occupying much of Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) members’ time and energy is the introduction of a shared integrated library system (ILS), the technology that underpins almost all aspects of library work including our library catalogue. The Libraries existing ILS, Millennium, is no longer under active development and will become increasingly outdated. Millennium is currently in place in all but one of the eight JULAC libraries. As a result of this lack of further development, the 8 JULAC libraries have been working on deploying a new shared ILS, ExLibris Alma® library management platform and ExLibris Primo® discovery and delivery solution. At present all eight institutions manage their own systems independently. Efficiencies to be gained through a single, centrally managed cloud based system across the 8 institutions will be significant. A shared system deployment has the potential to enable an even deeper collaborative relationship among the JULAC member libraries which we hope to see as a reality on 3 July 2017.
In 2014, JULAC commissioned a world renowned library technology expert, Marshall Breeding, to report on a way forward for JULAC’s ILS future. In his report he states:
A shared system would treat the aggregate collections of the JULAC members in a more unified way to patrons. A shared system would make it easier for the combined collections to be exploited by a default search.
A shared system provides more options for collaborative resource management. A range of possibilities could be implemented for the processing of materials. It would be possible to implement various levels of consolidation for technical processing, ranging from a fully centralized and cataloguing operation to one where only selected areas of activity are redistributed. A shared system might allow a mostly decentralized acquisition and cataloguing operation, but where areas of specialization by language or discipline are assigned across the JULAC institutions.
Shared electronic resource management
A shared system provides a better opportunity for JULAC to manage its electronic resources, including content subscribed to by individual institutions and for the consortium. Moving toward a shared system that also handles electronic resources would also result in an environment where these components of the collection can also be managed more collaboratively. Especially if that system had built-in collection analytics, those that make subscription or renewal decisions would have much more data available related to overlap within the consortium, institutional or consortial use levels, as well as use and impact metrics.
Shared knowledge bases
A shared system that addresses electronic resource management would also provide the opportunity for more efficient operation of knowledge bases and link resolvers. In the current distributed environment, each institution manages its own infrastructure, with eight separate knowledge bases and OpenURL link resolvers. While the level of difficulty might be higher for a more consolidated system, the net effect should be considerably less than the combined resources expended through eight separate implementations.
The JULAC Libraries are convinced that a shared system will ultimately provide significant savings through the elimination of redundancies and efficiencies gained.
The eight Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) libraries: