Technical Migration Activities

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Last updated September 27, 2014.

Staffing

The Integrated Library Systems group included a manager, Library Systems Analyst, Systems Librarian, Database Administrator, Senior Programmer Analyst and Library Operations Assistant, who also did some web programming. To accommodate the need to support the open source systems, another entry level Programmer Analyst position was added to help support VuFind and a Senior Programmer Analyst with Java skills was hired to help support Kuali OLE. This staff would support the migration, as well as the integrations with other systems and the add-on custom applications needed for optimal use of the system. In addition, web programming staff and the Web Program Director for the Digital Development Library Center were used in the VuFind project to customize that system.

Hardware/Software

While a number of the commercial library systems are moving to “cloud-based” systems, there was no real impetus to consider such a solution at UChicago. Indeed, in a university setting there can be obstacles to such an implementation. For instance, during the course of the project, Lehigh University – another Kuali OLE partner – made a decision that university financial data should not reside in the cloud. Chicago had not made any such general policy, but major system implementations do require security and architecture reviews. Patron database information in particular would be problematic to be made available on a commercial, vended system. VuFind and OLE will be implemented on virtual servers hosted by university computing. In the future, if the university offers cloud-based hosting services, it will be possible to take advantage of that. OLE itself is being developed on equipment that is in the Amazon cloud, so it is demonstrated that it can be run in that environment. At the moment, universities have some legal reservations about agreements to run on cloud-based commercial systems. It was seen as reasonable for the Library to follow university policies in this area and not to attempt to run the library systems separately. The intention is to take advantage of the university enterprise systems for storage, backup and system administration.

Plans for migration of the library system will undergo a review by the university ITS Technical Architecture Committee and also a security review. Appendix D contains the representative list of questions for these reviews. A separate PDF is attached which contains the diagram that the Library provided for that review.

A basic difference in implementing open source software is the need to pull down source code to a development environment and to develop a process to deploy new versions and fixes. This is true for both VuFind and Kuali OLE. This required some upgrades of equipment in the library for development and testing before deployment to production environments in the university data center.