helibtech_logo  Rethinking the library services platform. By Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) Briefing Paper (No.2) . January  2016 . DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5154.8248

The second in the series of HELIbTech briefing papers challenges the current definition of a library services platform (LSP) and suggests way in which it might develop. While a new generation of library systems has emerged there remains a very significant lack of interoperability between the various components that make up the wider library technology ‘ecosystem’. So, although we talk of library services platforms, libraries and library system vendors have not yet fully realised a platform-based, interoperable library ecosystem. Cloud computing could help break this paradigm as it is doing with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.  Gartner, an information technology market research and advisory firm suggests that the ERP suite is being deconstructed into what they characterises as a ‘postmodern ERP.’ This will result will be more loosely coupled environment with much of the functionality sourced as Cloud services or via business process outsourcers. Will we see the same trend in library technology? A more open library technology ecosystem, possibly making better use of open source components would eliminate the restrictions of a closed and monolithic suite of services from a single vendor. Solutions are moving to The Cloud but aren’t yet really platforms. It is possible that such a platform-based ecosystem model will be the “next generation” in library automation. The promise for libraries is a more flexible and cost effective solution and for users a much improved user experience.
The paper is made available under a CC-0 license to enable easy re-use.

UKSGRethinking the Library Services Platform (LSP) In a complex ecosystem no single integrated LSP will meet the needs of libraries. Using print management as one of the defining factors for an LSP is the ‘LMS/ILS tail wagging the LSP dog”. A more user centred approach is needed. Comparing LSPs with enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), Ken suggests that we may see a similar development to what Gartner has characterised as the ‘postmodern’ ERP. They predict a “ a more federated, loosely coupled ERP environment” and Ken suggests this could be the path forward for LSPs if vendors  do more to open up their platforms.

 Library helibtech_logomanagement system to library services platform. Resource management for libraries: a new  perspective. By Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) Briefing Paper. August 2015 . This briefing paper contrasts the library resource management landscape now with the situation in 2008 when the Jisc/Sconul LMS study recommended that the time was not right for libraries to purchase a new library system. In the intervening period a new generation of ‘library services platforms’ (LSPs) has emerged and the pace of procurement has quickened. Ken analyses the current landscape and  looks at the strategic issues around the changing nature of library collections, shared services, workflows and  analytics. The paper is made available under a CC-0 license to enable easy re-use. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4315.3128

Emerging_Tech_India_conf_logoThe entrepreneurial library. Innovating new library products and services. By Ken Chad. Writing in Library Journal in August 2010, Eric Hellman noted: “Libraries are so valuable that they attract voracious new competition with every technological advance.” The failure of libraries and library vendors to successfully create systems that meet the full range of legitimate user needs is a major concern. Ken Chad reviews the competitive and strategic imperatives that should lead libraries to a more user focussed approach. Fortunately there are some pragmatic and useful tools that libraries, working with vendors and/or developers, can use to help them develop or acquire better products services. Ken Chad briefly outlines the ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’  (JTBD) method which is widely used in business and he has adapted for use in libraries.

This is a pre-print of the paper published in: Emerging technologies and future of libraries:  issues and challenges. Edited by Ganapathi Z. Shinde, Mallikarjun Angadi, Suresh Jange & Parashuram S. Kattimani. Daya Publishing 2015. ISBN 978-93-5130-653-5

Emerging technologies and the future of libraries (and library systems). Keynote by Ken Chad at the Emerging Technologies and Future of Libraries:  issues and challenges  conference. Gulbarga University, Karnataka State, India. January 30 2015

Global technology trends and new directions in Higher Education will clearly affect the future of academic libraries and the nature of library technology. A common thread is the increasing focus on the user/consumer in an increasingly digital economy. For example a leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner states (‘Top 10 strategic predictions for 2015′) that: “Renovating the customer experience is a digital priority.” What should libraries and library tech companies do? Ken argues that the first step is looking again at user needs and suggests an innovative and practical  methodology to help

UKSGThe 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 primarydriver of information technology innovation. Ken looks at a  methodology to help organisations be more user focussed. Published in UKSG eNews 13 December 2013

CILIP UpdateThe 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 harborEnvisioning 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 UpdateLibrary 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 

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

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

DCMSE-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 200What’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