Posted by Lori Ayre on August 17, 2010

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).

This is especially FANTASTIC news for everyone who isn't on Evergreen where the resource-sharing software options are....well, they stink frankly.  Current offerings have three problems:

  1. work well on one ILS but not another
  2. too expensive
  3. too labor-intensive for staff.

Most often, it's a three strikes situation.

Mike Rylander explained the design concepts underlying FulfILLment in an Equinox blog post:
FulfILLment brings the benefits of a circulation and hold system based on the core algorithms in Evergreen to the ILL problem space. By encouraging and facilitating the participating institutions to collect and enter all relevant information about ILL policy and system definition, FulfILLment can provide not only truly automated mediation of ILL request (holds) but also full ILL transaction (circulation) management and automated transit management.

If the infrastructure and algorithms of Evergreen are the heart of FulfILLment, the FulfILLment Next Generation Discovery Interface (NGID) is its public face. The FulfILLment NGDI is a hybrid physical/virtual union catalog which automatically loads and deduplicates bibliographic records from all participating institutions for central search. Records can be pulled in using standard protocols such as OAI-PMH, Z39.50 or SRU, or can be automatically pushed into the NGDI from the local systems by whatever means are available.

FulfILLment leverages the hold targeting and capture algorithms from Evergreen — arguably the most advanced in the world in terms of policy and process modeling — and uses them to find the best item to fulfill the request of the patron based on all available information.

FulfILLment’s hands and eyes consist of the Local Automation Integrator, or LAI. This system uses the best and most appropriate protocol for each participating institution’s ILS, be it NCIP, SIP2 or a custom connector, to query each local ILS that advertises items on the requested record in real-time in order to provide status information to the hold processing mechanism. Data concerning the requesting patron is also pulled in real-time, and can be automatically obfuscated or expunged if required as soon as all open ILL requests and transactions for that patron are completed.

Once an ILL request has been accepted by the lending library and the item captured for remote circulation, FulfILLment tracks the complete life-cycle of this transaction. Both ends of the ILL, the lending and borrowing libraries, know the current status of items on loan and can generate reports based on this information using the Evergreen Reporter, one of the most advanced and flexible reporting engines available for an ILS.
[Source:  http://blog.esilibrary.com/2008/03/13/the-path-to-fulfillment/]

If you are a developer or someone comfortable pulling code off trunk...you can find the code here:  http://fulfillment-ill.org/websvn/listing.php?repname=FulfILLment.

Official FulFILLment website here: http://fulfillment-ill.org/

This is all very good news for LibraryLand!