Decision to become an early adopter

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Last updated September 27, 2014.

With the decision to become a full partner in the “build” of OLE, the Library had a plan to implement OLE in the summer of 2013. It was thought that the first usable version of OLE would be released in the summer of 2012, and then it would take roughly a year to install, customize, convert data and integrate the system. (Note that a full year was projected because the software would be so new; later implementers should be able to do this in less time.) Not too surprisingly, there were development delays and setbacks, so the Library’s projected implementation date is now July 2014.

The Library was willing to become one of the first OLE adopters for a number of reasons. First, the clock was running out for support for the hardware and software of the legacy systems. In addition to annual support costs for the two systems and the increasing costs for the Sybase license, the Horizon AIX server would soon need to be replaced. To migrate to a more supportable hardware platform would require another license upgrade to run on Linux and that would be costly. As it turned out, the Library had to replace the HIP server in 2013 because of its advanced age, a project the Library hoped to have avoided.

Second, the Library, as an early adopter, would be able to work directly with the developers to ensure that OLE would work with its large database and that its essential requirements (referred to as its “drop dead” list) would be met. In addition, the Library was extremely eager to move to a Unicode-based system; this basic lack in Horizon was contributing more and more to the overhead support costs.

While any system migration is challenging and complex, the Library believes a migration here is somewhat easier due to a variety of factors. For one, Chicago is far more centralized than many comparable university libraries; all six libraries on campus have all used the same system for many years, and all libraries report into one management structure with one director. In addition, there is a single identity management system for users. Library staff are accustomed to participating in review of specifications and beta testing, having done so for Horizon in 1995 and more recently for Horizon 8.0/Corinthian and AquaBrowser. Staff had long been involved in planning for system migration and many were acting as subject matter experts writing functional requirements for OLE.

Another factor simplifying an OLE implementation was that the Library’s legacy systems had never included Electronic Resource Management (ERM). While OLE includes ERM, it is possible to migrate to OLE and implement the ERM features later.