Some of Ken’s presentations can also be found on Slideshare.
For many years library technology was sequestered in a narrow domain characterised by library specific technology and standards. Librarians now play a growing role in support for research, open science, teaching and learning, digital skills, learning analytics, student success, wellbeing, and other areas. It’s now more appropriate to speak of a library technology ‘ecosystem’. The presentation looks at the current situation and how things might evolve in the future. The presentation was made to CILIP’s UK e-information group (UKeiG) in June 2022
Open library systems – a new perspective
Over the last decade or so, open-source software became, for many, the chief factor in defining open library systems. This paper argues the need for a new, wider perspective on open library systems. Presented at the UKSG conference May 2022
The use and potential for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in academic libraries
This is the second in a series of ‘LibTech’ dialogues. Library consultant Ken Chad was in discussion with Ruth Pickering, co-founder and chief strategy and business development officer at Yewno. This was is an opportunity to meet with a key industry leader to talk about the strategic issues. What are the problems that AI can address and for whom? What about issues like bias? What new opportunities can AI bring to libraries? The dialogue took place on 8th December, 2021 and lasted for 35 minutes A recording of the video is available on the ‘Artificial Intelligence page of the Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) website
New perspectives on the (public) library technology market.
Presentation at the Society of Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Conference 26-28th May 2021- Charting a New Course from Chaos to Innovation This presentation explores the real-life application of AI-driven discovery in two settings – healthcare and a university library. It describes an innovative project that explored the potential of artificial intelligence to improve knowledge discovery in a library services context. It brings to life the voices of real users – students, researchers, clinicians and academics as they describe the ‘problems they need to solve in a context of resource discovery. It tests assumptions about the potential benefits or ‘value propositions’ of AI in discovery, against real world user issues and suggests the areas where an AI worked best and where it was less successful. Libraries looking to understand how AI might improve discovery will benefit greatly from this real life practical approach with its emphasis on the user experience.
UKSG Conference 12-14 April 2021 (Group A Breakout session No. 8 ). Over the last 20 years or so, universities have made considerable investments in library centric discovery services. Nevertheless, for some students, especially undergraduates, discovery has become largely irrelevant. They simply log on to their learning management system to find ready prepared links to the print and electronic resources they need that week for their course or module. This is typically because the learning system is linked to a library managed reading/resource list solution. Reading/resource list solutions are essentially ‘curation’ tools. By curation I mean selecting, refining and arranging to add value. The content of a reading list is curated primarily by academics who select the best resources and list them.
The next step is helping students engage with the content. This has become increasingly important in a ‘flipped classroom’ environment where COVID has accelerated the trend to an online learning environment. We are now seeing the rise of specific solutions to better enable engagement with content. They typically encourage group ‘community’ interaction with students who are asked to analyse the content and engage with the reading itself. This UKSG presentation describe and analyse this important trend towards the better curation of, and engagement with content. It encourage librarians to work more closely with university teaching and learning staff and technologists to adopt approaches and solutions that help students better engage with content which, in turn will lead to better learning outcomes
This is a brief introduction to the key elements of AI and machine learning and an overview of some applications in libraries. It covers the basics of AI, some examples of AI, how AI might impact libraries and how libraries can begin to engage with AI to deliver enhanced services
AI-the role and opportunity for libraries
Data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming pervasive. However Kriti Sharma, VP Artificial Intelligence for Sage remarked (in Information Professional. March 2019), ‘today if you look at the very successful AI applications at scale they are in the field of making people click more ads”. So what *is* the role AI in libraries? The presentation explores broad themes that are especially relevant to libraries: Data; Curation and Ethics. It also discuses sub themes around AI in regard to Collections; Research Teaching & Learning/Student Success & Student Wellbeing. Presented at Internet Librarian International on 15th October 2019
Community, openness and directions for library technology
The value of the conventional integrated library system (ILS) has diminished over the years. It is just one part of an expanding library technology ‘ecosystem’ that encompasses, access and authentication solutions, discovery, repositories of various kinds, archives and reading/resource list solutions among others. After looking at trends in library technology and the wider business world Ken explores three keys themes of User Experience (Ux), Curation and Data/Analytics/Artificial Intelligence and looks at how those themes are and might be better exploited in library technology. He concludes with some questions and suggestions about how an open source library community might respond to those themes. Presented at the May 2019 KohaCon event in Dublin, Ireland.
The data wars: moving from management information to data driven intelligence: Ken Presented at the UKSG annual conference in April 2019. In 2017 the Economist magazine, in a much quoted article said, ‘the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and far more valuable”. While data may be abundant, in the world of libraries, publishers and intermediaries it is typically silo’d and the value and potential to improve services has barely begun to be realised. On their own, data from libraries, publishers or conventional intermediaries will not be enough to deliver the kinds of predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that emerging. Commercial companies and sector bodies like Jisc have begun to develop platforms that make use of data from a variety of sources. This will be an intensely competitive environment and it is not yet clear who the winners will be for, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the world economic forum in January 2018 ‘whoever controls data will have control over the world in the future’. The data wars have begun…..
Moving from management information to data driven intelligence: the impact on collection development
Ken spoke at the National Acquisitions Group (NAG) seminar in Leeds in November 2018. The impact of data analytics on collection development will grow. Librarians now have a different relationship to collection management. They are not deciding what to buy but instead using the data/evidence and the formula we use to determine whether to acquire resources. However, on their own, data from libraries, publishers or conventional intermediaries will not be enough. Library and collection data will increasingly be used as part of wider data analytics initiatives geared to improving ‘student success’. The data will be combined with data from other university systems to deliver emerging predictive analytics and intelligence solutions. Commercial companies and sector bodies like Jisc have begun to develop platforms that make use of data from a variety of sources. This will be an intensely competitive environment and it is not yet clear who the winners will be.
The student consumer, e-textbooks, disruption and challenge
Ken spoke at the University College London (UCL) and Ciber research event ‘Digital textbooks: where are we?’ in May 2018 and subsequently at the shared e-resources information forum (sherif) seminar ‘Save the time of the (e)reader: easier access for all? and the Dawson Books Dawson Day. He outlined some of the drivers and themes that are influencing the future of e-textbooks and digital learning resources. He focused on the student as consumer, the user experience, digital platforms and the importance of data and analytics.
Directions in library technology in higher education
Ken reviews some of the broader context in terms of technology and the changes in higher education (HE), such as the Cloud, platforms and the increasing consumerisation of HE. He goes on to relate these trends to changes in library technology noting a potential shift away from narrowly conceived ‘library systems’ to wider learning and research services platforms. Finally he emphasises the overriding importance of data and analytics. This was a presentation at the Bibliotheca Forum – “Exploring future possibilities” Nottingham, May 2018.
Teaching and learning outcomes: the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) – a new world for libraries, publishers and intermediaries Ken spoke at the UKSG conference (9th -11th April) 2018 in Glasgow
A focus on measurement and assessment of teaching and learning outcomes has become entrenched in policy and the strategies of academic institutions. In the UK this trend has crystallised in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Librarians are increasingly managing course specific resources that up to now had been the province of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or digital textbook platforms. This session looks at the impacts on content and licensing, e-textbooks and the potential merging of library and educational technology.
Aligning content and technologies to the new reality of learning outcomes and teaching excellence
Excellence in teaching and a focus on measurement and assessment of learning outcomes have become entrenched in higher education policy and the strategies of academic institutions around the world. In the UK this trend has crystallised in a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) introduced by the UK government in 2017. This presentation looks at the ways libraries are becoming more effective and strategic in meeting these institutional goals by deploying new approaches to learning resources such as e-textbooks, technologies such as reading lists and data/analytics.
Presented at the London Info International Conference on 5th December 2017
Value Propositions and why they matter. Value propositions (VPs) are important to all organisations, whether they are libraries, publishers or intermediaries. They can be very helpful in developing existing services and products and innovating new ones. However few people, even top level managers can articulate them clearly. VPs vary according to the different people your organisation serves or wishes to work with. And a value proposition is no good unless it resonates with them. It is not some catchy strapline or slogan but instead a thoughtful, compelling and informative answer to :”Why should I use your services or buy your product?” You need to understand your offer thoroughly as well as having a clear understanding of how it compares with the alternative Presented at the UKSG conference April 2017
The potential of library service platforms: Ken’s outlined the development from ‘Integrated Library Systems’ (ILS) to ‘Library Services Platforms’ (LSP) and possible future developments, opportunities & risks of the new ‘platform’ solutions. He described the characteristics of modern technology platforms and the, as yet, limited extent platform attributes can be found in current LSP offerings. Ken presented to the SLSP conference in Berne on 15th February 2017. The aim of the Swiss Library Service Platform project is to provide a central service platform for academic libraries. presentation to Swiss Library Services Platform (SLSP)
Library service innovation: According to a recent article: “Academic libraries are facing times of unprecedented challenge and unparalleled change. Innovation has moved from a consideration to a necessity“. Ken Discussed some of the context for innovation and also some approaches that have already delivered new, innovative products and services. Ken was presenting at OpenAthens Customer Conference – Creating Connections. Birmingham 9th November 2016.
Will Platform Businesses Eat Library Systems? “Are platform businesses eating the world?” is the title of a February 2016 Forbes magazine book review of “The platform revolution“. Library services platform (LSP) is the phrase conceived by Marshall Breeding a few years back ago to describe a new generation of systems that are replacing the old ILS. Was Marshall right? Are these new library systems really “platforms”? This presentation argued that we still have a way to go before even “next generation” systems can be properly labeled “platforms”. Ken defines the platform approach and the benefits it could bring and puts it into the context of library technology. The presentation was made as part of the Amigos ‘Re-imagining the ILS’ online conference on 15 September 2016
The future of library Discovery services: Ken presented the keynote at the EDS (Ebsco Discovery Services) conference at Regents University, London in July 2016. He reviewed future trends for Google and enterprise search including factors such as voice (‘conversational’) search, the ‘ultimate assistant’, entities (‘things not strings’), visual search and the role of big data, context and intention. He then looked and some trends in library discovery services. There will continue to be a multiplicity of approaches open to users and Ken recommended that libraries do more to focus on the needs of users– the ‘jobs’ they were trying to do– in order to acquire and/or innovate new approaches to library discovery services.
Don’t ask customers what they want: Ken presented at the Designing for Digital conference, Austin Tx April 2016
Key to a successful user experience (Ux) is meeting the needs of the customer. While this sounds obvious the way organisations go about understanding needs is often flawed. Anthony Ulwick who helped develop the ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’ (JTBD) method says: “Paradoxically the literal voice of the customer does not translate into meaningful inputs”. In contrast the JTBD method focuses on the ‘job’ the user needs to get done –the problem they need to solve. JTBD is a highly structured approach and outputs lend themselves to be more easily translated into practical deliverables. That might be in terms of a software development process. Agile developers are paying much more attention to JTBD and how it can improve on ‘user stories’ Ken places JTBD the wider context of strategy and the importance of the organisation’s “value proposition” and uses examples of the how he has applied the method.
Ken also presented on this theme at the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) conference in Birmingham (UK) in June 2016
Library management system to library services platform. This UKSG webinar presentation was based on the recent Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper: “Library management system to library services platform. Resource management for libraries: a new perspective.” Ken analysed the current landscape and looks at the strategic issues around the changing nature of library collections, shared services, workflows and analytics. The webinar covered the defining characteristics of a library services platform, the cloud what libraries want and market trends. It ends by looking at at some potential future directions.
Linked data: Why care -and what to do? Linked data has been a theme in libraries for several years with much discussion about the potential benefits and how it can be implemented. However linked data solutions have not yet seen mainstream adoption. Gartner suggests (2015) that, in terms of the ‘hype cycle,’ linked data is stuck in the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. Ken argues that a more user focussed approach based on well know methodologies like jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) could help linked data solve real world problems and move into more mainstream adoption. Presentation at the OCLC Event: “Is there a library-shaped black hole in the web’ Edinburgh October 2015
Library service innovation in a competitive world: focus on the user: Ken Chad presented at the CILIP conference on 3rd July 2015. His session was part of the digital futures and technology theme. The session introduced an approach to entrepreneurship and innovation in library products and services. It was aimed at helping those working in and for libraries to ‘raise their game’ in an increasingly competitive environment that is driven by the trends identified in the recent IFLA Trend report. As Eric Hellman noted “Libraries are so valuable that they attract voracious new competition with every technological advance.” The ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’ (JTBD) methodology is widely adopted in the business world, often in the context of innovation. Ken has adapted it for the library sector and will share some of the insights and outputs from his work with a number of organisations and libraries. JTBD is an insightful and productive way of analysing customer ‘needs’. Ken will also notes the wider context of strategy and the importance of the library’s value proposition
Library systems for public libraries: A new approach to requirements. Ken Chad convened a meeting at CILIP (London) on 18th June 2015 to look at potential ways forward regarding library technology requirements. The UK Core Specification (UKCS) has been a success but is now out of date. The UKCS requirements no longer meet the needs of public libraries or reflect the changes in the offerings from library system vendors. The initiative focuses on the needs of public libraries at this stage. The best way forward is not new version of the UKCS — the issues go wider. Representatives from public libraries, local authority IT, system vendors and the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce discussed the background drivers for change and what kind of expression of requirements is needed
The role of public libraries in digital public services. Ken Chad presented to a group of socitm members in April 2015. Council IT Directors and Managers often have a low awareness of some of the technology based achievements made by public libraries, the services they deliver and the wider ‘digital’ challenges and opportunities. For example most UK public libraries are part of a regional shared service for their library system. The SELMS consortium alone embraces around 300 libraries and serves around 10% of the UK’s population. There is also a number of national shared services. Libraries could play a much bigger role in the digital strategies of local authorities. A recent ‘Independent Library Report for England‘ (‘Sieghart report’) published by the government (DCMS) in December 2014 stated: “Libraries are already facilitating access to a wide range of government services including education, welfare reform, business and economic growth and health care and this will dramatically grow as more services go online”
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
Re-awakening the ‘Peoples University‘ – the learning agenda opportunity to reinvigorate public libraries. Community, informal (outside formal academic institutions) and online learning is a growing, disruptive opportunity. Learning happens best where there is a ‘community’ of support and good learning spaces. Public libraries have an opportunity to thrive if they develop the right capabilities to deliver a compelling learning offer. Presented at the CILIP “Re-imagining Learning” Executive Briefing on 13th November 2014
The library business is booming –and, in this wider context public libraries, are losing market share to ‘competitors’. Two key characteristics of many of the library competitors are that they operate on a global ‘web-scale’ and have a clear focus on users and what ‘jobs’ they need to get done. In this presentation Ken suggests that in order to thrive public libraries need to organise and lead nationally to deliver and market a national platform on which local library authorities can innovate, compete and develop successful local strategies that exploit key public service values. Presentation at:”Prospects for books, publishing and libraries – digital strategies, revenue opportunities and policy priorities”. Westminster Media Forum. London. 4th November 2014
The public library and the 21st century ‘People’s University. Back in 1938 Alvin Johnson argued that we should: “develop the public library into a permanent center of adult education, informally a people’s university”. In the 21st century new winds of change are blowing through learning. Social economic and technology factors combine to create new challenges and opportunities. Public libraries have a huge opportunity to revitalise their long standing commitment to learning and reinvigorate themselves at the heart of the process. Access to Research, CORE and others initiatives now provide public libraries with free access to millions of journal articles. The question is how, in the 21st century, public libraries will galvanise these resources and develop communities of learners. Presentation on 4th September 2014 to the National Acquisitions Group (NAG) conference
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. Presented by Suzanne Enright (University of Westminster) and Ken Chad at the annual UKSG conference in April 2014
Rethinking Resource Management. “Focus on the user”may not be the phrase that first comes to mind when thinking about transforming technical, resource management workflows, but evaluating through this lens can bring inventive new directions . Ken Chad looks ways to re-think library workflow and systems by evaluating what you do through the eyes of your users. Users want to solve particular problems and your workflows should support that resolution. Presented as a ProQuest webinar in April 2014
“Library systems: crossing the chasm.” Are you a visionary ‘early adopter’ or a laggard in terms of ‘next generation’ Library Services Platforms? There has been much interest and some hype about a new generation of ‘Library Services Platforms’ that are replacing library management systems (LMS) (or, in US parlance, ILS). Ken looked at library systems in terms of the technology adoption life cycle described and analysed by Geoffrey Moore in his book ‘Crossing the chasm’. Presented at the 2014 UKSG conference on 14th and 15th April 2014.
Ebooks: what are they good for? As libraries struggle with issues around ebook platforms, digital rights management (DRM), business models, and ebook formats it is worth stepping back and revisiting the fundamental issue of what ebooks are for. Keynote Presentation at the “Ebooks 2014: Are we nearly there yet?” Conference. University of the West of England 7 April 2014
Ebook ‘consumption’ – the challenges issues and opportunities. Outputs from the Jisc ‘Challenges of ebooks’ project. . The meeting was designed to bring together stakeholders in Further and Higher Education to discuss ‘just where ebooks are taking us in the 21st century institution’ Presented at the JIBS ‘Joys and perils of ebooks’ meeting in London in November 2013
Library systems- a business case for change? What are the value and business case for making changes to library technology infrastructure? The workshop was a chance for the projects that made up theJisc Library Systems programme to talk about the work they had done and the tools and resources they have created. It was also a chance for the community to discuss some of the issues and challenges that the sector currently faces. Ken presented (Library infrastructure: value for money?) at the Jisc Library System Programme Workshop on 15th July 2013.
Library Systems: a changing market. Library systems are no longer ‘stand alone’. Global technology influences are driving the market more than ever. There is a risk that the solutions libraries provide remain detached from truly meeting the real needs of users – library staff , academics, researchers and students. Instead of library systems, or even ‘next generation’ library services platforms, perhaps we need to think in terms of the wider library technology ‘ecosystem’. Taking that broader viewpoint might change how decisions are made about the products libraries buy and the services they deliver. Ken delivered the keynote to the M25 consortium of academic libraries in London meeting ‘Changing your LMS’ [ILS] in April 2013.
‘Customers/users: don’t look at needs: analyse the ‘jobs-to-be-done‘. The jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) approach can be used by organisations, libraries and business to give a very productive insight into customer behaviour that can be used to ‘test’ existing, new, potential or imagined products and services. Ken spoke at the UKSG annual conference in April 2013 about the methodology.
‘Trends in, and reflections on, library discovery services’. Ken was the keynote speaker at the JIBS event: ‘New dawn: the changing resource discovery landscape’ in February 2013.
The library & teaching & learning: reading list systems. Reading lists appear to be the new ‘must have’ for UK academic libraries and a raft of new systems has entered the market. Ken’s presentation at a seminar at the University of Staffordshire in December 2012 looked at some of the underlying trends in Higher Education and the current reading list offerings
Ken was the keynote speaker in September at the 2012 Inter Parliamentary Research & Information Network (IPRIN) conference. In his presentation he spoke about the technology led challenges for information and research services and highlighted some approaches to making a strategic response
Ebooks: demand (patron) driven acquisitions & the challenge to our ideas of ILL & collections. Ken spoke at the June 2012 Forum for Interlending & Information Delivery (FIL) conference ‘keeping our customers satisfied’ at the University of Worcester
Business models: The interest in business models has grown in the last few years as the impact of the digital transformation disrupts existing models and creates new ones (or new applications for old ones). At the 2012 UKSG annual conference in March Ken looked at a business model framework and its building blocks. The event was blogged
Transforming Library Systems: At the UCISA conference in March 2012 Ken spoke to a group of Higher Education IT Directors about of the challenges facing libraries and the ‘next generation’ library systems that are attempting to provide solutions.
Navigating your library through the ‘perfect storm.’ Ken was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Academic and Special Libraries (A&SL) Annual Seminar in Dublin (Ireland) on Friday 24th February. The concurrence of hard economic times and technology-driven disruptive forces has created what might be called a ‘perfect storm’ for many organizations, not least libraries. Ken explored some analytical and critical approaches and methodologies that he has used to help libraries and increase the chances of a successful future.
No more library systems! This is a short ‘thought piece’ presented by Ken Chad at the JISC/SCONUL Library Systems ‘Future visions’ workshop in January 2012. It imagines that a company or other organisation has perhaps taken the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ (JTBD) approach better address user needs. It suggests that resources and learning have become increasingly intertwined. In the scenario the ‘library’ is the device itself (or something like an ‘app’ running on the device) and the student is provided with a very integrated learning environment that includes the learning tasks and the content combined together and available at all times.
Innovation, efficiency & strategy: Ken presented the keynote at the Dawson Day event in Manchester in November 2011
Understanding shared services and the drive for efficiency in scholarly communications. Ken spoke at the one day UKSG conference in London on 16th November. Ken’s presentation looks at the rationale, barriers, kinds of opportunities & services, impact and finally what we should do about shared services and ‘the cloud.’ A video of the presentation with slides is also available
Time for strategy: Ken was the keynote speaker at the 2011 National Acquisitions Group (NAG) conference in Manchester on 7th September. Libraries in all sectors face the challenge of relentless, disruptive, technology-driven change and tough economic times. Libraries are under pressure and there is a risk that decisions are made without an appreciation of their strategic importance. This is a good time then to look at some approaches to strategy, differentiating it from ‘mission’ and looking at business models.
Strategy, business case and open source for libraries. Ken spoke at the PTFS Europe and Loughborough University Dept. of Information science seminar on ‘the evolution of open source library systems’ at Loughborough on 20th September 2011
Disrupting libraries: the potential for new services. Ken spoke at the IFLA Satellite conference in Florence in August and then at the 2009 Charleston conference in November. His presentation, looked at how the ‘disruptive innovation’ model developed by Clayton Christensen et al applies to the library market and how libraries themselves can use this analysis to develop new ‘disruptive’ products and services.
Return on library investment: Presented at Internet Librarian International, London October 2008. The growth and maturation of the web and its associated technologies have driven changes in business models and user behaviours. It is not clear what role “conventional” libraries will play in a reconfigured information economy. This is a period of disruptive change and libraries need to look carefully at how to get the best return on their technology investment.