OCUL URM Summit – Notes

Today was the OCUL URM Summit at UofT. These are a bit more sparse than usual. The survey results in particular were done quickly so I only included the higher numbers, not all of them.

Survey Results

ILS Systems

  • Voyager: 5
  • SirsiDynix: 5
  • Millenium: 4
  • average years ILS in use = 11

ERM Systems

  • None: 6
  • Verde: 5
  • III: 5
  • In House: 4
  • 3 schools more than one ERM

Link Resolver

  • SFX: 16

Knowledge Base

  • SFX: 12
  • 360: 6

Discovery Layers

  • Summon: 5
  • None: 5
  • Primo: 3
  • EDS: 3
  • 2 schools more than one

System Integration

  • 1 vendor for most systems: 5
  • 2-3 vendors for most systems: 5
  • separate for most systems: 3
  • streamlined system management: rest


  • only 2 schools no migration from 1992
  • most had activity of some sort around 2009
  • 11 considering significant migration to new system
  • considering: URM/next gen: 7; discovery layer: 6; ILS: 4
  • motivating factors:
    • too much work in managing current systems: 8;
    • advances in technology: 8;
    • new product available: 6;
    • unsatisfied with current: 5;
    • current not interoperable: 5
  • when plan to migrate?
    • this year: 4
    • next year: 1
    • 2 years: 4
  • why not?
    • just beginning to investigate: 10

The Role of Technology in Extending the Value of Librarianship in Today’s University

  • Carl Grant – President/Consultant of Care


  • e-resources spending above 60%
  • % of university budget dropped to ~2%
  • number of librarians decreasing
  • yet have more data online
  • growth of mobile touchscreens, higher use than desktops

What’s Our Path Forward?

  • Blue Ocean Strategy (book) – how to make your users value your services
  • “The key mission of libraries is to define, support and extend the knowledge and culture of our community” -missed who wrote this

How Do We Turn Mission into Vision?

  • built a lot of silos
  • need to move to ‘cloud’ and user generated metadata/information (I’m actually skeptical of this)
  • move to next generation, cloud-based ILS (not sure about this either)
  • need to ask about APIs: ability, usage, documentation, test; and need it in writing
  • need to standardize them
  • need to collaborate
  • need a brand for libraries, while allowing differentiation
  • The Filter Bubble (book) by Eli Pariser – can tell libraries how they are better than Google
  • discovery system should be a knowledge creation platform where users can access existing knowledge and launch into creating new knowledge

Breakout Session Reports

  • enabling new and exciting things
  • lowering costs
  • what’s going to be different? the PeopleSoft of the library world? – will we be in the same situation in 5 years? Solving the problems of today, not tomorrow? – ILSs have failed us
  • should we do this together? consortium? 3 main factors: timing, money, options
  • reintegrating the disintegrated systems consortially
  • value in looking consortially, may have opportunity, more clout – many challenges involved
  • necessity of vision – needs to come from directors, if working from ground up, will spend too much time on details
  • benefits of collaboration – experiences, expertise, content – all saves time
  • need to be clear on problems trying to solve/trying to accomplish
  • disparity between vision and details
  • don’t need a perfect solution, just good enough to get moving – is there a solution right now?
  • another Evergreen scenario?
  • standard user interfaces
  • trusting all our content into one system? who owns that data? can we get it back?
  • integration, interoperability is key not necessarily one big system
  • people – workflow, etc.

Adventures in Sharing: Consortial Challenges of a Shared ILS

  • John Helmer, Orbis Cascade Alliance


  • academic
  • broad set of core services
  • strategic agenda: depth of collaboration, single collection, shared HR/services, web-scale opportunities

Shared ILS

  • existing: legacy systems, lagging functionality, hard to innovate and integrate, total cost
  • future: better services, improved resource sharing and staff tools, enable collaborative tech services and one collection, new options available
  • three big projects: legacy to next gen (Alma, Primo), 37 -> 1 system, acting as 1
  • replacing ILS, discovery, link resolver, knowledge base, proxy, ERM, servers, workflows, language, concepts
  • people > technology: culture, shared vision, partners, leadership (starts at top), communication (get everyone moving together), bold (something people can be excited about)

Kuali OLE Overview

James Mouw, University of Chicago

  • Highly centralized with a large print collection that circulates a lot.
  • replacing many existing old system from the 90s by 1-2 systems (OLE, VuFind)
  • ILS should be open source, enterprise caliber, scales, service-oriented architecture, flexible
  • Kuali OLE community: aligned vision, shared resources and commitment, strategic collaboration (risk mitigation, knowledge, effort, intentional, international), agile approach
  • Organization: Board with each partner has one rep, council, project manager, development team, coordinator, subject matter experts
  • commercial affiliates for those who can’t do in-house
  • most current version will have prototype instance in cloud to test
  • first public release (Oct 2011), second (May 2012), develop Gokb, ver 0.8 (June 2013), 1.0 (Q4 2013) – production implementation ready version
  • no user interface: own discovery decision, e.g. VuFind; develop “plug and play” interface options
  • will standalone
  • all about community. Also real, flexible, supported, governed, standards, enterprise level, and more
  • support different formats?: document store: marc record, finding aid, emails,  i.e. format agnostic stored side by side

Alma at University of Manitoba Libraries

Lisa O’Hara

  • dis-integration. Different vendors: ILS, Resolver + ERMS, discovery layer, proxy, ILL, guides, etc.
  • priorities: improve student experience, convenience use and security, greater efficiency, streamline workflow
  • process: info gathering (2010-2013), product comparisons (2012), discussion + decision (2012)
  • privacy concerns: security of personal info – using storage in Amsterdam, Privacy Impact Assessment completed – gather minimal information, notify users foreign storage, own customer data, regular record maintenance
  • Integration: Primo (Oct 2012), Alma team just formed, data clean-up, workflow mapping, implementation June-Dec

Heads in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: UNB’s Move to a Cloud-Based ILS

Stephen Rosenfeld, Merle Steeves, Steve Lelievre

  • concerns: Unicorn/Symphony in 1995 – getting stale, high cost, changes in leadership
  • Direction changing: moving to OCLC, access to online resources was area of growth
  • Reviewed: OSS (Evergreen, Koha, …), WMS, no change
  • Full report: lib.unb.ca/wordcat/ILS_Replacement.pdf (March 2011)
  • Decisions: no point moving to another proprietary ILS, OSS too simple for environment, most advantages with OCLC at the time
  • Requirements: multiple campuses, Canadian server
  • Originally 2012 date, but needed group functionality – needed to merge all three systems, which is proving to be a bit of trouble in getting consensus
  • now plan to go live April, 2013
  • about half way through migration process
  • time saving by not having multiple knowledge bases, streamlined workflow
  • make sure you know who has the final say
  • reporting through mirror SQL database
  • have to shut down acquisitions for a few weeks – longer than anticipated
  • data cleanup and export took longer than expected
  • staff more willing to accept changes and workarounds than anticipated
  • promised API, but not there
  • still expect to meet target date

Quick Thoughts

Based on the presentations today and previous demos and what not, I don’t think any of the new systems are ready yet. In particular, the lack of API is a problem. The most promising one on a cursory, superficial look actually seems to be Kuali OLE, or perhaps Evergreen, which I haven’t been keeping up with but I’ve heard has improved leaps and bounds.

I think we need to wait just a little longer or commit ourselves to an open source project.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

One thought on “OCUL URM Summit – Notes”

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