Improving systems infrastructure

Review and analysis of library system infrastructure and market review
We worked with a major UK university that has made substantial organizational change and is reviewing its library strategy. We mapped, reviewed and analysed the current library technology infrastructure including library management systems, repositories, access and authentication systems and systems to support resarch. We looked especially at pain points and opportunities for improvement. We also undertook a market analysis looking at  trends in the  market, including the wider HE and global technology drivers.

The Wiener Library  is Britain’s most extensive library and archive on the Holocaust, with about 50,000 books and pamphlets, 3,000 periodical titles, ca. 2,000 document collections, ca. 15,000 photographs, press cuttings, and audio-visual material.  We helped by reviewing the library and archives technical infrastructure, assessing needs, drawing up requirements, reviewing the marketplace and helping to review and select a new suite of library and archival solutions.

Evaluation of library system replacement options. We worked with a UK HE library to help select the best replacement for their end-of-life Library Management System.

Library system strategy and business case. We helped develop a new library IT strategy and the business case to ‘realign’ the library systems infrastructure employed by a UK university. The project reviewed library requirements, analysed the wider technology context and reviewed the market for library systems. We produced a roadmap for change and made recommendations about how the infrastructure can better aligned with current needs to the aspirations of the library and the university as a whole.

Making a business case for library technology change. We helped a UK University make a robust business case for major changes in their library technology systems and infrastructure.

Realigning library systems. We worked with the John Rylands University Library (JRUL) in Manchester – one of the world’s major research libraries – to help them re-align their systems to support a new library and institutional strategy. We looked at a wide range of systems including discovery systems, the library management system LMS), archives, imaging and the institutional repository (IR).

Evaluation of strategies for library systems. A UK research library commissioned this study  to assist in achieving the best return on investment for future library technology decisions, taking into consideration the broader institutional, HE and global contexts.

Systems and strategies for electronic resources. A major UK HE institution and global brand  commissioned Ken Chad to evaluate workflows and systems related to the management of electronic resources.

The JISC LMS Change project The project will develop and disseminate a vision for the future of library systems and a delivery ‘roadmap’. The project will explore the potential for new approaches to library systems infrastructure, taking account of considerations beyond the traditional LMS to include other business critical and curatorial systems, both within and above campus.  Ken Chad is working in conjunction with the University of Westminster and Sero consulting

Open Specifications for Library Systems (LibTechRFP) is a free community resource set up by Ken Chad Consulting to enable the development of standard, open and re-usable specifications for library systems. We hope this service will not only help to reduce costs in library technology procurement but facilitate an open dialogue amongst all interested stakeholders to help develop the functionality of library related systems.

Higher Education Library Technology wiki. Ken Chad Consulting  set up and manage the Higher Education Library Technology website. HELibTech is an open community resource that provides data on library technologies used in UK HE and has articles on major library technology related issues.

Local Government Library Technology wiki (LGLibTech) Ken Chad Consulting established this resource and acts as ‘wikimaster’. LGLibTech provides data on library technologies used in UK public libraries and has articles on major library technology related issues.

A shared library system infrastructure across a number of UK public libraries. We  worked with the Greater Manchester Libraries Shared Services Project board to  evaluate and analyse the library systems options for providing a one library card based entitlement across 10 Greater Manchester library authorities. The Project Board reported that: ‘The  report has given us a clear overview of the options for us to move towards an integrated library systems solution and provide better services to our users. It has helped us clarify the direction for the future’

A new technology infrastructure for a major UK public  library service.  We helped the library frame its requirements for a major step change across a range of library technologies. These included public access, resource management, customer engagement and the staff desktop infrastructure.

Improving library management system reporting infrastructure: Ken Chad Consulting was commissioned by a UK university to clarify options for delivering an easy to use and more flexible reporting infrastructure that would place far less demands on library systems staff than existing arrangements.

National digital library: Pakistan. Ken Chad facilitated workshops encompassing over 30 institutions to help improve the library infrastructure. They were organised by the charity International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication (INASP) and the Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC).


Research  process and research data management. Many universities are looking at how they can better serve the needs of researchers. Ken Chad Consulting worked with the University of Westminster to look the  needs and attitudes of researchers and admin staff in terms of research data management (RDM). The result led the University to look first at the whole lifecycle and workflows of research administration. This in turn led to the  innovative, rapid development of a system to support researchers and admin staff.  The University of Westminster and Ken Chad gave a short presentation (Research  process and research data management.)  on the project an the at the annual UKSG conference in April 2014

The challenge of ebooks in academic institutions.
This was a project to develop a Digital Infrastructure Directions Report for institutions on meeting the challenge of ebooks. It is a collaboration between JISC Innovation, JISC Collections, JISC Digital Media. The project was managed by Ken Chad Consulting Ltd.

Ebooks: User (patron) driven acquisitions for ebooks. We  delivered a JISC project to  address the current knowledge gap in the discovery, selection and acquisition of e-books to discover what the main drivers are for user (‘patron’) driven acquisitions/recommendations.

Open Source: Building and sustaining open source community capacity in UK academic libraries. We contributed to the  (JISC supported) SCONUL  ‘OpenEdge: Open source for libraries’ event held in Edinburgh in January 2011. More information on the outputs from the event and Open Source in general is available on the  HELibTech website which is managed by Ken Chad Consulting

The impact of technology on a planned joint university and public library. A leading UK construction company commissioned this study. The review considered the strategic implications of new technologies and  included a detailed review of the options for RFID (Radio Frequency ID).

User activity data. The JISC  MOSAIC Project investigated the technical feasibility, service value and issues around exploiting user activity data, primarily to assist resource discovery and evaluation in Higher Education. Ken Chad Consulting worked in partnership with Sero Consulting, Mark van Harmelen (PLE Ltd), Paul Miller (Cloud of Data) and Dave Pattern (University of Huddersfield).

Electronic Resource Management (ERM): Shared, ‘above campus’, Electronic Resource Management (ERM) for UK HE. We worked as part of team of consultants lead by Sero Consulting on the SCONUL project supported by JISC. The outputs are available from the project blog.

Shared Services feasibility study into the library systems landscape in UK Higher Education. The study was commissioned by SCONUL and funded by HEFCE. Ken Chad worked in partnership with  Sero Consulting (project lead) and  Curtis + Cartwright. There is more information on the Shared Services page of HELibtech.

Bibliographic data: Research Information Network: bibliographic data creation and flow patterns. The broad aims of this project, completed in 2009 were to identify and map the current arrangements through which bibliographic records are created and the flow between publishers, libraries and other service providers in the UK . The result was the RIN report Creating Catalogues: bibliographic records in a networked world’.

Web 2.0/Library 2.0 and e-learning: A JISC project on Library 2.0 and the e-framework for learning. The ‘TILE’  project began in March and completed in the summer of 2008. Ken Chad Consulting was part of a  multi-disciplinary team that also included Sero Consulting and Psydev Ltd.

Horizon scanning and market intelligence

The library systems markets in the Nordic region, Europe and South Africa. The work was undertaken for a major global technology company.

The preservation and management of primary research data in UK Higher Education. Our project mapped and analysed the current situation.

A JISC & SCONUL commissioned evaluation and horizon scan of the HE LMS [library management system] landscape. The project  covered institutions across the UK and the major library system vendors in the HE market.

Advice to the House of Lords Library on current library-related technology and the state of the library management system market. We also facilitated workshops to engage library staff in the process, to promote team building and identify key system related needs prior to the library beginning a formal procurement process.