This project seeks to contribute towards a new vision for library systems by investigating the following question:

“How would a shared library management system improve services in Scotland?”

This will be achieved by a project team backed by the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL), and led by the University of Edinburgh Library and The University of Sitrling

There are several aspects to this question that will be investigated:

  • Services – how do different groups of users benefit from shared content and systems, and are there any complications introduced from such sharing?
  • Systems – how far can a shared system sensibly reach, do suitable solutions exist that can be shared and that scale appropriately, and to what extent is a local view of a shared system required or possible?
  • Content – how common are the current content holdings, licences and cataloguing practises across the libraries in Scotland that would help or hinder deeper sharing?

This project will examine different aspects that would need to be taken into account for a regional shared library management system. This will include considerations such as:

  • What are the cultural issues or barriers to collaboration, and how do these differ between the library service providers and their various stakeholder groups?
  • If content were held in a shared environment there are likely to be issues relating to security, intellectual property, sharing, and reuse.
  • What are the costs and benefits for the different roles involved?
  • What are the different levels of search and discovery services that may be possible – from a shared OPAC to local discovery layers?

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes
This project will bring benefits to Jisc, SCONUL, SCURL, and the wider library world by investigating the potential shared regional library management systems. Lessons learned by the project will demonstrate possible parts of a new vision for library systems taken from a regional shared services perspective. In addition it will help provide useful direction to SCURL and its members regarding possible future developments in the area of shared library systems.

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