Do More With More

My consulting practice seems to go in phases and lately I’ve been in the consortia phase.  It’s a gratifying place to be.  In each case, I see the power that comes from libraries coming together to do something better than any one library could do on its own.  In some cases, it creates opportunities that would be completely beyond a library’s capability due to lack of resources (be they human or financial or both). 

Initiatives that require costly technology or costly technology experts are particularly good projects to handle at the consortial level.  The integrated library system (ILS) is one of those big, complicated, costly technologies that can be leveraged in many ways. There’s the underlying platform (server and operating system), the application (the ILS itself), and there are the people involved in managing the system (ILS Administrator) plus the staff using the system.  Some, or all, of these components can be shared across libraries.

For example, a group of libraries can use the same server and application yet operate as independent libraries.  That’s what a group of libraries in Northern California is doing.  They are each part of a shared Koha system hosted by a service provider.  Each library administers its own system and has its own patron records and collection. But they save a lot of money by sharing that platform and that vendor contract, and by not having to manage the operating system and deal with backups and software updates.

RAILS Overlay Project

Conducted environmental scan of resource-sharing products currently in production that would be suitable for RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library Systems) given that the objective of the group was to find a resource‐sharing discovery and fulfillment system that builds on the existing technology environment, allowing libraries in consortia and libraries with standalone integrated library systems (ILS) to participate.

White Paper: Why Sharing a Library System Makes Sense

This white paper identifies the key benefits of sharing a library system in the context of today’s technological environment. The benefits include cost savings, improved resource-sharing opportunities, providing a higher quality system staff, improving the quality of the collection, streamlining library workflows, optimizing the patron experience, eliminating routing slips and pre-sorting, and adding value to the consortial affiliation.

Fulfillment - Important Questions and Answers

In case you've wondering what's up with FulfILLment, I thought I'd share this short Q&A piece.  It was prepared for a California consortium (thus the reference to a couple of products in use there) but the info is generally useful to everyone.  It includes some info I've grabbed from the FulfILLment and Equinox blogs (e.g. underlying architecture).  The other info comes from conversations with people who should know these things with a spattering of my own opinion.  Oh, and I see Equinox has updated the blog so be sure to go there and read about the Next Generation Discovery Interface component after you get the basics from below....

What is it?

Fulfillment is an open source, resource-sharing (aka ILL) product that will compete with Link+ (Innovative’s INN-Reach product), SuperSearch (SirsiDynix’s URSA product), as well as AutoGraphics Agent Resource-Sharing and RelaisD2D. Who’s developing it? It is being developed by Equinox Software, Inc. under contract with OHIONET.

FulfILLment spins off Evergreen as Independent OS Project

A new state-of-the-art resource sharing software has been in the works at Equinox (with sponsorship from ohioNET) for some time now.  And while it isn't ready for download, it did cross a new threshold recently.  As of August 2, 2010, FulfILLment was established as its own open source project (as opposed to a piece of Evergreen).