This briefing paper outlines the challenges public libraries face in reshaping their community profile. It highlights how emerging community engagement solutions may help target existing and potential users in repositioning public libraries and refreshing their services.
Public libraries have always engaged with their users and the wider community. In recent years, however, community or patron engagement has risen from the ranks of routine activities to become a strategic priority requiring new kinds of solutions. The community engagement solutions that have emerged differ in detail but share common elements. In simple terms it’s about delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time. Combining marketing tools with data from the library management system (LMS) and associated systems such as ebook platforms, databases, library websites, and event and room booking platforms is seen as a key factor in strengthening libraries’ promotional impact. Libraries can then more easily and efficiently segment their audience and automate their marketing communications.
Trends in the library technology market – A UK perspective Ken Chad. CILIP Buyers Guide. February 2021. Ken Chad analyses the underlying issues and trends that are shaping library technology with a focus on public libraries and libraries in higher education (HE). It concludes that libraries need new approaches to technology to support changed needs. It addresses themes such as community engagement for public libraries and new solutions for research and teaching and learning in HE. Many current library systems vendors are mired in supporting legacy LMSs that hamper them in delivering the transformative approach needed. Only those that can deliver new higher value solutions will thrive in the longer term.
Aggregate and amplify -enhancing the value and use of theses and dissertations. Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology [HELibTech] Briefing Paper No. 6, July 2020. Theses and dissertations (TDs) form a core part of the research outputs of an academic institution. However, they do not usually get the same attention as journal published research. Universities are doing more to make this category of research outputs more easily discoverable to a growing global community of scholars. In this way they increase visibility for the institution and individual by amplifying the reach to the wider scholarly community. The paper looks at the value to the author, the institution and the global research community. It analyses the particular value that TD specific aggregations offer in terms of enhancing discovery, text and data mining, making historical works more discoverable through digitisation and preservation. It addresses the contentious issue of embargoes and open access. The paper presents the case for an aggregated, amplified, global and digitised approach to TDs.
The rise of library centric reading list systems. Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper (No. 5). July 2018. The last five years have seen a sizable increase in the number of universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand deploying library centric reading lists solutions. A notable change in the last year or so is that library resource list solutions are beginning to be adopted in the US. The paper suggests that reading/resource list systems will have a major impact on the global library technology market just as library ‘discovery services’ did over a decade ago. The paper analyses the impact of reading list solutions on students, academics/faculty, the library and the library supply chain. It looks to future developments including the more extensive use of analytics and the increasing role of reading lists in pedagogical ‘scaffolding’.
The student consumer and the rise of e-textbook platforms. Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper (No. 4). March 2018. A 2017 report for the Society of College, National & University Libraries (Sconul) listed ‘students as customers’ as one of the five top ‘transformational’ trends that will impact libraries over the next ten years. These student consumers are not all happy and one reason is the rising cost of textbooks and the lack of availability from libraries. The briefing paper looks at the textbook market and the moves to digital and more interactive learning resources. It analyses new approaches to textbook publication including Open Textbooks and institutional initiatives and new ways libraries are delivering e-textbooks to students. It concludes with an analysis of the potential disruptive impact of new user focused e-textbook platforms
The new role of the library in teaching and learning outcomes. By Ken Chad & Helen Anderson. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper (No. 3). June 2017.
Students in many countries, especially the US and UK are concerned that the growing cost of higher education is not delivering good value. 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. In the UK this trend has crystallised in a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) introduced by government in 2017. As a result library leaders around the world will need to become more strategic in articulating value propositions based around a more holistic view of library/learning resources.The value of data analytics will be a key driving force. Data from reading list systems and digital textbook platforms combined with information from other institutional systems will allow powerful insights to emerge. Such analytics will be invaluable to institutions, publishers and intermediaries as they look at new ways to deliver content.
All this suggests a trend for library technology and educational technology to merge. There looks to be the beginning of shift away from a narrow conception of *library* systems, the *library* supply chain and *library data*. Conventional integrated library systems (ILS) and even the new generation of library services platforms (LSPs) remain wedded to an outdated view of library learning resources and will have to change significantly or be integrated or subsumed into a new generation of learning services platforms.
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 [ Also available in German: Überdenken des Konzeptes “Library Services Platform“]
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.
Rethinking 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 management 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
The 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 focused 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
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 primarydriver of information technology innovation. Ken looks at a methodology to help organisations be more user focussed. Published in UKSG eNews 13 December 2013
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.
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.
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
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
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)
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 ‘