The Benefits of Sharing – Final Report

The Benefits Of Sharing‘ (TBOS) has been a Jisc funded project in the Future of Library Systems programme.  It set out to answer the following question:

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

The project has now released its final summary report.  This is combination of all of the more in-depth reports from the four different work packages, and includes an Executive Sumamry:

Download the report: The Benefits Of Sharing – Summary Report.pdf

TBOS, Shared Services and the College Development Network

The Benefits of Sharing (TBOS) project was invited to give some background on findings to a meeting of FE college library professionals at their meeting on Shared Services at the College Development network on 5th Feb 2013.

The meeting provided a forum for discussion around a number of sharing initiatives. Papers included support for mergers and partnerships between colleges, services offered to students from the National Library of Scotland and an update on the Rowan partnership, a project delivering a shared LMS among three institutions in Scotland.

There was also much discussion around the Re:Source service which facilitates the sharing and reuse of learning and teaching materials and on the concept of open educational resources.

Scotland’s colleges are experiencing significant change and there is considerable interest in sharing initiatives within Scotland’s further and higher education sectors. Consequently the SCURL “task and finish” group discussions will be of interest to many in the FE sector.

The slides presented are attached:

TBOS presentation to College Scotland

New SCURL ‘task and finish’ group

The Benefits Of Sharing project is overseen by SCURL (Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries) and is being undertaken by staff from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling.  At its recent meeting on the 23rd January 2013, SCURL approved the creation of a ‘task and finish’ group continue the work on the project.

The Benefits of Sharing project is contributing towards a new vision for library systems by investigating the following question:

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

The new group will consider the conclusions of the project, and take these forward.  Specifically it will look at what the possibilities might be of running a shared LMS in the future.  It will investigate its members timetables for LMS transitions, and perform exploratory to work to see what options there are for shared services.  The group can then consider what would be required to run a shared service – for example governance, vision, and planning.

The outputs of the group will be able to inform the future direction of SCURL and its members.

OhioLINK Shared Services – Discovery

Ohio Link have recently announced that they have selected Ebsco’s EDS product as their discovery tool.

The OhioLink consortium is one of the most high profile examples of an effective shared service, and has been for over 20 years.

This announcement means that OhioLink members can search not only across the catalogues of the member libraries but also across the enormous number of ejournals, databases and ebooks available to consortium members, all from a single search.

This new “layer” builds on the existing OhioLink catalogue which contains almost 13 million unique titles from its 89 member libraries. Material can be requested by any member and material collected with 2-3 days at the library of their choice. The catalogue is provided by Innovative Interfaces.

The scale of the OhioLink service is impressive and the licensing of eresources on a state-wide basis allows the discovery layer to operate at the same level and facilitate access across a huge range of resources.

The service is expected to save time for students, librarians and researchers and is an example of the type of service which can be offered to simplify access across a diverse range of resources for a wide group of users. The impact of this will be interesting to see. Will users cease to use the native interface of the electronic services that EDS will now cover? Will it be a way for researchers to discover (key word) the most appropriate database for their interests? Will they even be aware of which collection they are using and simply relish the ease with which they can access content?

Thinking of the Scottish HE context, one is bound to harbour dreams of a discovery layer that covers, as a starting point, all the library catalogues plus the content licensed through SHEDL. Seems like modest ambition is comparison. I am also bound to wonder if, given that this is January, whether this utopian vision might have appealed to Burns – then let us pray that come it may, as come it will for a‘ that….

Written by Colin Sinclair, University of Stirling