Invitation to participate in OLE project phase 1

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Last updated September 27, 2014.

Meanwhile in 2008, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded a project to design an “Open Library Environment” and work began in August 2008. University of Chicago participated in this project, along with several other large academic libraries, and hosted one of the regional meetings in December 2008. Documents from this meeting including a useful OLE Overview presented by Jim Mouw, Associate Director for Collection Services, University of Chicago Library, can be found at: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/staffweb/depts/ils/projects/ilsreplacement/OLEUChicworkshop.html. Work on the first phase of this project included training in Business Process Management and production of Tasks and Process Maps for each module of a library system. This resulted in a design document that was presented to Mellon in early summer of 2009.

Interest in OLE also came from Greg Jackson, then director of the University’s IT Services. The OLE Project had discussed the need for a new ILS to work at an enterprise level, e.g., a library’s need for patron data would be satisfied by being able to pull data from a campus database rather than having to maintain a set of patron records like all current ILS systems. Inspired by a conversation with Library Director Judi Nadler, Jackson raised this issue at a meeting of the Common Solutions Group (CSG – http://www.stonesoup.org/ – a network of campus CIOs). Clearly, an “enterprise level” ILS capable of direct interface with other campus applications would require cooperation and input beyond libraries. CSG, while interested, did not “adopt” this as something that the group could fully support, not because it was undesirable, but because most institutions were just not ready for it. Any OLE design would need to recognize this. This did prompt OLE to think that repurposing what already existed might also be the most practical way to approach a new ILS, e.g., taking Evergreen and adding development suitable for academics might be a possibility (although after review, OLE decided to use Kuali Rice instead). Also, OLE began to consider whether or not it should ultimately become a Kuali Foundation project, partly in order to facilitate cooperation with other open source campus application developers.