The Benefits of Sharing project is investigating the question “How would a shared library management system improve services in Scotland?”. We will use the following criteria to decide if this project has been successful in answering this question:
- The present: We need to understand how we currently operate LMS services. If we do not understand the current situation, we’ll be unable to decide if future scenarios improve upon this situation.
- Have we gained an understanding of the current LMS landscape in Scotland, the systems and services that they offer?
- Have we gained an understanding of the LMS from our users’ perspective, how they use and benefit from our LMS services, and how the service they receive could be improved?
- Have we gained an understanding of Scottish library collections and their management?
- The future: We need to understand the possible future scenarios that could exist if we used a shared LMS. This will involve a mixture of users and services, systems, and content. If we don’t understand these future scenarios and what could be possible, we’ll be unable to articulate the possible benefits of such a future.
- Have we been able to engage with LMS vendors to explore potential future LMS options and the costs and benefits that these may bring?
- Have we held an active dialog with our users to discuss the impact of a shared LMS?
- Have we applied our current collections and management processes to a shared system to see what effects this may have?
- The benefits:We need to compare the present and future positions to understand the implications of a shared LMS.
- Have we found out if a shared LMS would be possible?
- Have we discovered any benefits to our users and services?
- Have we described the costs or negative aspects to a shared LMS?
To summarise, the project will be a success if we can answer these questions. If we are unable to answer the questions, then we have failed to understand the current or future possibilities, and the effect that they would have on the services that we offer which are facilitated by the LMS. The success of the project does not rely on there being a benefit to a shared LMS, but by the project being able to articulate the costs and/or benefits.