Some initiatives:


1. Library systems for public libraries: A new approach to requirements

Background

A meeting was convened at CILIP on 18th June (10.30 to 12.30 ) to look at potential ways forward regarding a library system requirement .The UKCS requirements no longer meet the needs of public libraries or reflect the changes in the offerings from library system vendors. The initiative focussed on the needs of *public* libraries at this stage. (a more up to date specification for academic libraries is already available.)

A simplified view of public library technology requirements.(Revised January 2016)


Meeting notes28 August 2015
Agenda
After some recapping on the background of the initiative the group discussed the following-
Aim:
Produce a clear, technical procurement tool that addresses the lack of tech knowledge in library authorities and the lack of knowledge of library requirements by, for example, IT and procurement officers
Discussion:
  • It will need to improve the current process-esp in terms of saving time/effort
  • Current processes are 'comfortable' and well entrenched with rigid rules and so the appetite for change may be limited. The old UKCS is still 'out there' as is a variety of specifications developed by library authorities that may have some element of the UKCS
  • A clear aim should be to save time and effort--that will be a good motivation for adoption.
Audience
Presenting audience may be librarians the effective audiences are more likely to be corporate ICT bodies, library suppliers and local government procurement officers.
Scope
To map out a modular landscape for a "vanilla" library system— what are the broad areas of need? what type(s) of needs are they?
Discussion:
  • The need for a pragmatic approach was emphasized
  • Maybe we agree a list of broad headings for what needs (modules?) to address.
  • This might go beyond what is now conventionally thought of the library management system (LMS) for public libraries to encompass management of electronic resources (notably ebooks) and 'add-on' technologies eg RFID, PC Booking systems, Reading List etc
Other issues
  • Although it was agreed a more strategic approach to library requirement is desirable it was felt there remains a need for something pragmatic to meet an immediate need to streamline the procurement process for library technology
  • Adoption of such a requirement document might be helped with some kind of imprimatur-- Arts Council, SCL?
  • How do we leave scope fo innovation?
  • How do we escape from monolithic solutions?
Actions
  • Ken to approach SCL/Arts Council to see how they might support this initiative
  • All to share any example specs (Google docs)
  • Ken to work with a couple of people to get together a first draft of a list of headings for the requirement we can consider as in scope
NOTES of meeting emailed to:-
steven_heywood@hotmail.com; m.j.hughes@swansea.ac.uk; david.thomas@sirsidynix.com; anthony.whitford@capita.co.uk; mick@mickfortune.com; paula.keogh@capita.co.uk; Debora.Wellen@sirsidynix.com; Will.Blackburn@Exponential-e.com; Kate.Hayman@civica.co.uk; Marcus.Blackburn@civica.co.uk; ruth.rowell@civica.co.uk

18th June 2015

Agenda:
Background/Introduction/What is the problem we need to solve?
Potential solutions/approaches
Actions –what do we need to do-and who will do it?
1. Ken Chad is working to find a librarian is prepared to work with our 2 volunteer vendors to help create a better library tech requirements document for public libraries
2. However the meeting felt that the more pressing need was some specific, pragmatic user experience (UX) work and outputs would benefit all stakeholders. The rationale can be summarised in the following way:
  • Public libraries are in deep trouble
  • They are in an increasingly competitive environment for ‘library services’
  • Hard times are *exactly* the time to put resources into innovation
  • There is huge value in looking at how we can improve the user experience. ‘UX’ is a growing agenda for business and the public sector. (e.g. Gartner 2015: “Renovating the customer experience is a digital priority.”)
  • While tech isn’t the whole answer of course it can play a vital role

3. It was pointed out that this work would need funding and there was no identifiable mechanism in place yet to source funding. In the meantime Ken Chad will work to discover what existing relevant user needs/UX research we can benefit from

2. Re-inventing Public Libraries Project

At the meeting were representatives from the University of Sheffield and Carillion. There are embarked on a project to 'Re-invent Public Libraries'
From the University of Sheffield website: http://hridigital.shef.ac.uk/carillion
"Carillion is looking to transform and re-energise the concept of local public libraries, addressing the widely held beliefs that local public libraries are under-used, under threat and failing to remain relevant to the communities that they are intended to serve. Carillion’s mission is to re-think and re-invent local public libraries to make them relevant and self-sustaining. It is now looking to build strategic partnerships with experts at the University of Sheffield in order to strengthen its public library offer and to support development and innovation of that offer over the next 5-10 years. Carillion hopes that such a partnership will provide it with access to knowledge, expertise and innovation in cognate areas of research and practice: e.g. cultures of the book and reading, library management, public engagement (public access to new knowledge) and digital humanities (new tech).

Details of the project
from Website: http://hridigital.shef.ac.uk/carillion

Reinventing Local Public Libraries
Summary:
Carillion plc and the University of Sheffield aim to re-think local public libraries, identify the requirements of a Library Management System (LMS) capable of delivering the library of the future, and identify further opportunities for collaboration between Carillion and experts at the University of Sheffield.
Project Status: Completed
Funders: Carillion plc, Collaborative R&D Award (University of Sheffield)
Partners: University of SheffieldCarillion plc
Subjects:
contemporary culture/society, information management systems, knowledge transfer, museums and galleries
Technologies: not applicable
Project Description
The aim of this project is to undertake research that will enable Carillion plc and the University of Sheffield to re-think local public libraries, identify the requirements of a Library Management System (LMS) capable of delivering the library of the future, and identify further opportunities for collaboration between Carillion and experts at the University of Sheffield.

Please note that this project does not concern itself with issues relating to how local libraries are run, funded or resourced. We recognise that these are critical issues in the local public library sector, and we recognise that they will have a direct impact on the library of the future, but they are out of the scope of this particular project. As such, we will not be expressing any views on these issues.
Carillion plc is one of the UK’s leading integrated support services companies that includes a substantial portfolio of Public Private Partnership projects. It employs 40,000 people worldwide and has annual revenues of more than 4 billion pounds. Carillion plc has a not-for-profit subsidiary called Cultural Community Solutions Ltd. Cultural Community Solutions Ltd manages library services on behalf of four local authorities: Croydon, Ealing, Harrow and Hounslow. Carillion has a plan to extend the operations of CCS Ltd to other local authority library services across London and the UK.

Carillion is looking to transform and re-energise the concept of local public libraries, addressing the widely held beliefs that local public libraries are under-used, under threat and failing to remain relevant to the communities that they are intended to serve. Carillion’s mission is to re-think and re-invent local public libraries to make them relevant and self-sustaining. It is now looking to build strategic partnerships with experts at the UNiversity of Sheffield in order to strengthen its public library offer and to support development and innovation of that offer over the next 5-10 years. Carillion hopes that such a partnership will provide it with access to knowledge, expertise and innovation in cognate areas of research and practice: e.g. cultures of the book and reading, library management, public engagement (public access to new knowledge) and digital humanities (new tech).
The current project will explore how local public libraries might develop in the future in terms of their role within society, the content and technologies they provide access to, the activities that take place within them, the audiences they address and the technical and business processes that are required to enable all of this. The purpose of the project is not to recycle the existing views (both positive and negative) about the future of libraries. Local public libraries are existentially different to national libraries, university libraries and private libraries. As physical spaces they are not necessarily just about books and the reading public. For example, they could be the spaces in which small businesses and citizens discover, interact with and market test the very latest knowledge technologies; or they could be hubs for the very latest self-learning techniques (e.g. MOOC hubs). Clearly the Library Management System needed to drive these types of services will be very different to the market’s existing LMS offer.

Using a combination of desk-based research and cross-faculty ‘futurism’ workshops, this project will identify what local public libraries might be in the future, identify the functional requirements of a new Library Management System that will underpin them, and identify the best business model for Sheffield and its partner, Carillion plc, to develop and exploit the LMS.

The project has already attracted interest from key stakeholders in the sector: the National Library Task Force, DCMS, Cabinet Office, Society of Chief Librarians, and the Reading Agency.

The outcomes of the project will be: a) a white paper describing the potential roles and activities for local public libraries; b) a technical specification for a Library Management System; and c) a business case that sets out what the longer-term research and commercial opportunities of co-developing and exploiting a Library Management System might be.

Project Team
  • Neil Simpson (Director, Local Authorities – Carillion)
  • Fiona Tarn (Libraries Development Manager – Carillion)
  • Michael Pidd (Principal Investigator – University of Sheffield)

New type of library management system commissioned

Project Duration: 1st March 2016 – 31st July 2016
Announced March 2016
"Carillion has commissioned HRI Digital to develop Phase 1 of a new type of library management system that aims to overcome the deficiencies of existing systems in the library automation software sector
Project Description
Following the successful scoping project between HRI Digital and Carillion to explore the future of local public libraries and library management systems (funded by a University of Sheffield Collaborative R&D Award), Carillion has commissioned HRI Digital to develop Phase 1 of a new type of library management system that aims to overcome the deficiencies of existing systems in the library automation software sector. The chief characteristics of Oxeye will be:
  • Extensible database, so that new types of information, services and apps can be developed without the need to re-configure the existing database or bolt on additional components.
  • A service-oriented architecture. Services are created as standalone but visually similar apps, built around the needs (workflow) of the user (customer or staff). A library might then choose to bundle apps into a single site (e.g. for desktop PC delivery) or as a workspace containing distinct apps (e.g. for mobile/tablet delivery).
  • A web-based, system-agnostic architecture. In other words, the system can be used on any desktop, mobile and handheld device. The user only needs access to the internet via a web browser. Each app will be responsive to the device on which it is being used.
  • Customers and staff see the same interface. Only the user’s status will determine what they can and cannot see.
  • The interface will look clean and modern.
The ambition is to develop a library management system that is familiar to us, in the sense that it looks and behaves like the rest of our digital universe. Few library management systems achieve this at present. When completed, the system will be deployed across four London boroughs – Hounslow, Croydon, Ealing and Harrow – which are visited by millions of people each year. The system will be developed by HRI Digital in close consultation with Carillion’s IT services team and will eventually be deployed using a cloud-based hosting service.

It looks like we might be able to get some help from an intern to help with do some of the work to expand this into a more fleshed out requirements doc