The research cycle and research data management (RDM): innovating approaches at the University of Westminster. This case study is based on experience of delivering a more joined-up approach to supporting institutional research activity and processes, research data management (RDM) and open access (OA). The result of this small study, undertaken at the University of Westminster in 2013, indicates that a more holistic approach should be adopted, embedding RDM more fully into the wider research management landscape and taking researchers’ priorities into consideration. Rapid development of an innovative pilot system followed closely on from a positive engagement with researchers, and today a purpose-built, integrated and fully working set of tools are functioning within the virtual research
Chad, K and Enright, S, The research cycle and research data management (RDM): innovating approaches at the
University of Westminster, Insights, 2014, 27(2), 147–153;

Access to Research: ‘a big step forwards’ or a ‘stillborn access initiative’? By Ken Chad. Through the Access to Research initiative, public libraries are now able to offer their users free access to millions electronic journal articles  Ken Chad describes the initiative, some of the reactions to it and goes on look at the potential opportunity for public libraries to better support learning. Published in Access-the journal of the Public and Mobile Libraries Group (PMLG) of CILIP. Issue 2 – Apr/May/Jun 2014

Focus on the user. The impetus to be more and more ‘customer driven’ or ‘consumer focused’ seems relentless and almost universal. ‘Consumerization’ has taken on a specific meaning in terms of information technology. It represents the growing tendency for new technology: “to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business and government organizations.” The consumer market is now seen as the primary driver of information technology innovation. Ken looks at a  methodology to help organisations be more user focussed

Published in UKSG eNews 13 December 2013

CILIP Update
The library management system is dead –long live the library ecosystem. In increasingly complex information landscapes, is it time to stop thinking in terms of the library management system (LMS) or integrated library system (ILS), or even a ‘library services platform’ – and instead start talking about an ‘ecosystem’.
Published in CILIP Update September 2013
The battle of the library ecosystem  Libfocus blog guest post by Ken Chad. (Posted on Friday, July 05, 2013 by Alexander Kouker). Looking at the top ten strategic technology trends for 2013, Gartner noted: “The market is undergoing a shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems and away from loosely coupled heterogeneous approaches…………If this is a trend for technology in general, perhaps it is no surprise to see it beginning to be reflected in the library system environment.

‘Frictionless’ ebook lending from public libraries. By Ken Chad. Shelffree blog 26 July 2013. The Sieghart review of ebook lending  talked about the need to introduce ‘friction’ into ebook lending from public libraries-in essence so as not to challenge the current business model of publishers. They fear that easy (‘frictionless’) ebook lending from public libraries will threaten their business.Tim Coates of Bilbary will have none of this. In a blog he says: “There are other ebook models for libraries which do not require this ‘Friction’ – but no one seems to be exploring those. Not in the UK anyhow. In these models a library can offer all the ebooks in the world – with as little friction as they can manage- and a payment is made to publisher and author each time the book is read.” Ken goes onto explore the three main elements of the idea. Patron (or Demand) Driven Acquisitions (PDA), a national (ebooks) service and payment to authors and publishers.

Cold spring harbor
Envisioning the Future of Science Libraries At Academic Research Institutions. This white paper, published by the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, is the outcome of meetings in April 2012 between  senior research librarians and other invited experts. Ken Chad was one of the UK representatives.The group examined how the world of research is changing and what impact these changes will have on libraries and librarians. An outcome of this meeting was the crafting of ten challenges impacting the vision of the 21st century research library.

CILIP Update
Library Systems: ‘Change will be relentless.’ If you are in the market for library systems, what should you be looking for? Needs vary across sectors: corporate, legal, public, school, college, and university – and circumstances differ between individual organisations. Nevertheless, there are enduring similarities between libraries and these are reflected in the market for library systems. The library management system – LMS (or, in US parlance, the integrated library system – ILS) remains the core system for many libraries. However, the weakness of the conventional LMS in terms of managing electronic resources means it is diminishing in importance. Ken looks at the key technology themes influencing library system development.
Published in CILIP Update September 2012 

KCC logo
Time to experiment? At time of stress on budgets, should libraries be looking to use technology to tap the potential for innovation, rather than restrict resourcing to core services? Ken Chad looks at some examples of what can be done.
Originally published in the CILIP [Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Annual Buyers' Guide Directory 2013

KCC logo
Library Services Platforms: Alma Case Study. The University of East London (UEL) in the UK is one of the ‘early adopters’ of the ExLibris Alma Library Services Platform. The case study looks in particular at the migration process, the benefits and the issues problems and concerns that arose from the change. December 2012

E-Lending in libraries: what do you think? This is a response by Ken Chad Consulting to the UK Government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS)  call for evidence from an independent panel, appointed by Ed Vaizey, to look at the issue of ‘e-lending’.  The panel is headed by William Sieghart, and has representatives from all parties affected by e-lending (November 2012)

Panlibus 200
What’s the strategy of your public library?’ Maybe you wonder why libraries are closing or opening hours are being reduced? You might pause to ask why your library doesn’t offer ebooks while some others do. If you are a librarian you might want to know what rationale is used to judge whether users should be charged for access to the Internet. Should service provision be outsourced to a commercial company? Can you identify what Richard Rumelt calls, in his book ‘Good Strategy: Bad Strategy, ‘ a ‘guiding principle’ against which these things can be judged?
Published in Panlibus 25 October 2012

The Squeezed Middle
‘Library Systems -future visions‘ was a ‘provocation’ presented at a joint ‘SCONUL and JISCworkshop (The Squeezed Middle: Exploring the Future of Library Systems) at the end of January 2012 .  Ken Chad took ‘disruptive innovation’ as the theme and in doing so imagined a scenario where library systems (and VLEs as well!) – as least as we understand them today- don’t play a part. This is not to suggest this *is* what will happen or is even desirable but serves  to provoke discussion based on some existing trends.

Open library environments:Governments appear to be in thrall to ‘open’. Social sharing and exchange has emerged as a new and significant factor that competes with conventional market modes of production. Higher education (HE) and its libraries are exploiting the shift in the information economy and increasingly exploiting the opportunities derived from open source software, open data and open content. However, being open is a means not an end. Re-use leading to impact is the goal and the evidence of re-use is patchy, and especially weak for open data. Commercial non-open approaches such as iTunes are reasserting themselves and finding that users will pay for the convenience even if there are open and free alternatives.
Published in Serials – 24(3), November 2011

SCONUL publications
The positive power of disruption: Since the publication of The Innovator’s Dilemma in the late 1990s Christensen’s work has been very influential in the business world. What is the result when we look at his analytical ‘tool-set’ in the context of academic libraries?
Published in SCONUL Focus 52 (November 2011)

Open Data – the missing link? Ken Chad positions the new UK ‘Discovery’ initiative in the context of global and national thinking
Published on the UKDiscovery website in 2011 and later as a blog post

CILIP Gazette 150
The rise of platforms could see off the web. Libraries anxious to improve their relevance to students have been busy, over the last couple of years, purchasing vertical search/discovery service solutions. Ken Chad analyses this in the wider context of the the rise of global  platforms and ‘apps’. Published in CILIP Libraries+Information Gazette. 2nd December 2010

CILIP Gazette 150
Making it easier to specify systems. A new service for developing specifications for library systems takes an open ‘wiki’ approach to allow for comment and discussion. Ken Chad & Juliet Leeves explain why it has been set up.  Published in CILIP Libraries+Information Gazette. 2nd December 2010.


CILIP Gazette 150
E-Books and libraries: which business model? An analysis of some of the issues and concerns around e-books, especially in public libraries. Published in CILIP Library+Information Gazette, 11th November 2010


When the library business is booming why are public libraries in decline and what can we do?‘  By Ken Chad. 25th January 2010 (A response to ‘Empower, Inform, Enrich. The Modernisation Review of Public Libraries. A consultation document.’ DCMS. December 2009)


CILIP Gazette 150
The slow end of the LMS. Should we call time on the Library Management System?
Published in CILIP Library+Information Gazette, 30th September 2010


CILIP Gazette 150
Discovery and delivery? First a national catalogue. Will we see the creation of a UK national public library catalogue?  Ken Chad looks at the progress being made and the issues.
Published in CILIP Library+Information Gazette, 2nd September 2010

View earlier publications