Decision to become Kuali OLE partner


Last updated September 27, 2014.

At that point, a “build” project for OLE had not been funded, but was in the offering. The Library was concerned at that time that the Horizon system might not be supported by SirsiDynix beyond 2013. [Note: As it turned out, Horizon is still supported by SirsiDynix, and there is, as of March 2014, no announced “end of life” for Horizon.]

Because the library was not ready to choose a true replacement system for the ILS, a “bridge” solution was proposed in October 2009. The Bridge to the Future recommendation ( summarized the possible options: to implement Evergreen; stay on Horizon as is; or upgrade to Sybase 15 and upgrade to Horizon 7.5.1. It was later found that the cost for the Sybase license was half what was originally estimated, and that final option was eventually implemented. An added concern for the Library at that time was the construction of the Mansueto Library planned to open in 2011. The Mansueto Library was built to house lesser used portions of the collection in a structure that is physically connected to the Regenstein Library. Transfer of parts of the collection to this library allowed newer materials to continue to be shelved in the open stacks, while avoiding the problems associated with offsite storage. There was a requirement that the automated storage and retrieval system in Mansueto interface with the Library system to allow users to seamlessly request items in storage. This would have to be done first for Horizon and then with whatever its replacement would be.

In order to apply for Mellon Foundation funding to build the OLE software, it was necessary for a group of libraries to agree to be founding partners and to contribute matching funds. In 2009, the Library decided to become a founding partner, and the grant proposal to build the OLE software was funded by Mellon to run from July 2010 to June 2012 (additional funding was later secured from Mellon through 2014).

The OLE project joined the Kuali Foundation in December 2009. The Kuali Foundation provides the legal and financial framework that is needed to sustain an open source project, and because all of the Kuali projects that come out of the academic environment, it is set up in a way that works well for an academic library.

As with all previous efforts concerning system replacements, the Library’s systems staff recruited assistance from the University’s IT Services department in considering open source software. The Kuali project was already being monitored because of the university systems that fall under its umbrella. While the University of Chicago had no plans to implement other Kuali software at this time, they are considered viable options. Some work was moving forward by the identity management staff in IT Services to discuss a potential open source identity management system that might be developed.