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Kuali OLE : An Integrated and Sustainable Development Model
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Kuali OLE : An Integrated and Sustainable Development Model


A brief background and strategy for Kuali OLE at Lehigh University, some context on our planning process, three levers for changes: process, staffing, and technology; including a short conversation …

A brief background and strategy for Kuali OLE at Lehigh University, some context on our planning process, three levers for changes: process, staffing, and technology; including a short conversation about the promise of Kuali OLE at Lehigh

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  • Welcome and introductionsMy name is James Young. I’m director of administration and planning for Library and Technology Services @ Lehigh University. I’d like to introduce my partners and co-presenters, Mark Canney, Manager of our Lending Services team and system administrator of our current integrated library system and Doreen Herold, manager of library technical services. Before we get started I’d like to thank a couple of folks in the room. Our Vice Provost and leader, Bruce Taggart, who is largely responsible for bringing the Kuali Ole Project and two the of the Directors most closely associated with the project: Sharon Wiles-Young, Director of Access Services, and ChulinMeng, Director of Library Technology.
  • Here is a quick overview of what we’ll be discussing over the next 45 minutes: a brief background and strategy for the OLE Project at Lehigh, some context on our planning process, three levers for changes: process, staffing, and technology. We’ll end the talk with the synthesis and a short conversation about the promise of Kuali OLE at Lehigh.
  • The overarching goal of our talk is to use software development as a vehicle for change: in processes; in how we design, deploy, sustain and bridge relationships among disparate technologies; in our staffing and larger organizational change; and in our long-standing (and expected to continue) rich collaborations with other institutions.
  • We settled on a extended metaphor for these sets of activities and actions that we will pull through the talk: “from scattered buffalos to big tent”
  • Lehigh University is a residential research university in Bethlehem PA (an hour and a half west of New York City and an hour north of Philadelphia). We have an enrollment of 6800 FTE (4800 of which are undergraduates), and four colleges with distinct cultures and service environments. The libraries are part of a larger, merged organizational called Library and Technology Services (aka LTS). Of the 170 or so staff in LTS, approximately 40 report to the library. We have three buildings housing about 1 million volumes and, as you might imagine, have been riding the wave of a rapid move to digital content for quite a while now. The university’s strategic plan was adopted in 2009 and the campus budget is $425 million.
  • The defining variables for our participation in the Kuali OLE project are the following.
  • First, our organizational ethos – the charge often espoused by Bruce – stems, in part, from the vast resources and deliberate design of the libraries being part of a merged organization. But even more so, it’s our organization strategically choosing a handful of high profile projects that demonstrate not only a tolerance for risk, but an increased openness in our choice of systems to deploy, support, and grow, but also an openness in our culture: in how we leverage resources and intelligence across boundaries. Finally, and perhaps assumed, we deliberately link technology, budget, and organizationally planning in a way that supports and extends our efforts.
  • Moreover, we were dealing with the following three forces which served as impetus for change: new practices on behalf our users who desires flexible and mobile access to content, an aging and inflexible ILS in which we had historically developed a culture of work arounds, and a recognition that we our operating culture needed to be one of anticipating change as opposed to reacting to it. Part of our impetus for change was forward-thinking and sustainable funding model.
  • Knowing that we’d eventually want to go out to market for a new ILS, Bruce and two our directors had the foresight to plan ahead and put some monies in a reserve fund. This money accrued over time. This allowed us freedom to join the Kuali OLE project as one of the original partners. This is coupled with a shift we’re seeing on our campus in which we’re shifting in spots from a maintenance centric operating culture to a more development-centric culture. Long-term our funding model we hope our funding model to play out with a lower cost of ownership and a return on investment. Unfortunately, it’s too early to address either.
  • So what are we planning for? Our goal is a better software at better value: A library system to more flexibly allow us to manage and provide robust access to information and content of all formats. A system that is substantially more open and agile and that will serve as vehicle for creating efficiencies, sparking collaboration, and ultimately, providing a greater value to our students and our campus. I will transition to Doreen to tell you more about how our planning processes and staffing.
  • When the idea of OLE first arose, application lifecycle management wasn’t something that was in front of us as a means of approaching the project in a structured fashion. But, this graphic of the basics of application lifecycle management provides a good illustration of how things have moved since the beginning.The first phase of OLE, which was called the OLE Project and took place during 2008 and 2009, started with the idea to develop a next generation library management system. Phase one lasted for a year and included asking ourselves what we wanted and needed and how we should go about making that happen. Towards the end of that first year, we knew that, to sustain the project, we’d have to develop a governance structure and that’s when it was decided to move under the umbrella of Kuali.Development of Kuali OLE started in the fall of 2010 and, fortunately, we had a lot of information to build on, information we collected during phase one of the project. In a little bit, I’ll tell you about workshops we held during phase one that laid the groundwork to begin development of OLE.And the “operations line is intimately connected to the development line” (p. 5 of What is application lifecycle mgt) which I’ll tell you a little about in a bit.
  • The first phase of OLE, which we had the benefit of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to make happen, was a year long investigation of what libraries’ needs were, whether our current systems were meeting those needs, and what to do about it. Towards the end of that year, it was decided to take the next step and actually begin developing a new system. But, before diving into that work, we had discussions about sustaining such work. The Kuali Foundation was already alive and well and welcomed OLE to the Foundation.In the graphic you can see what is now the governance structure of OLE. Our OLE member schools have representation throughout this structure. For Lehigh, that means our Vice-Provost Bruce Taggart represents Lehigh on the Project Board, our Director of Access Services Sharon Wiles-Young has been serving on the Functional Council and has recently been joined by ChulinMeng, our new Director of Library Technology. R The Functional Council discusses desired functionalities and votes to prioritize and help determine what goes into which releases. Our Senior Developer Michelle Suranofsky serves on the Technical Council where they also vote on functionalities. Other staff from Lehigh also participate in OLE and we’re seeing how participating is helping to influence decisions on how OLE will develop. We’re also glad to represent small- to mid-size institutions as we’re one of the smaller schools in the partnership.
  • Development began with 12 regional design workshops held in 2008-2009 resulted in ideas and feedback from 370 people representing 125 institutionsAs the project progressed, SMEs from partner libraries continued to refine those ideas and move towards granularity as OLE began development. Staff participate in discussions with their peers from the OLE partner libraries, building and prioritizing lists of desired functionalities, writing functional specification documents, dialoging with programmers upon the completion of new functionalities, testing those functionalities, wiping their brow and repeating the process again.
  • Deployment, testing, implementationOperations is intertwined with Development
  • I want to tell you a few things about how our involvement in OLE has helped us begin to rein in our “scattered buffaloes”. Since we’re still in the development process of OLE and will be, with the University of Chicago, one of the first implementers, we don’t yet know the full scope of value that we’ll see from OLE. But here are some of the changes that we have seen, as well as some of our expected changes.
  • Jim had already provided some background on the structure of Lehigh’s Library and Technology Services department. You can see in the subunit list that the library’s services are performed directly by three subunits: Library Access Services, Library Collections, and Library Technology.We have seen the Library Technology team change since our involvement with OLE started in 2008. At that time, it was a component of the Library Collections and Systems unit, consisting of three staff that included the two technical staff and a digital library project manager. In five years, it became an independent unit and now has 5.5 FTE, including a director. Two of those staff are java programmers, which was a significant development for Lehigh.Being involved with OLE during these early stages has not only had an impact on the growth of our staffing, as seen with the Library Technology unit. But existing staff have benefitted from being in the position to contemplate our current practices. This contemplation occurs as we interact more, going beyond interactions as we perform our daily routines and moving to determining what we need and want out of OLE and how we’ll go about implementing it. We’ve been collaborating more within our teams (ex. acquisitions and cataloging), within library groups (ex. Tech serv and library technology), within LTS (ex. Mark and Sarah), and within the University (Michelle and ????? discussing how OLE will connect with our financial system Banner).This reflection by our library staff is one of the primary visions of OLE, that we won’t just build an open source system that has the exact same functionality as our current ILSs but that we’ll build a system based on the questioning of the library’s place in the university’s ecosystem (and how we can better share data across the university) and based on the questioning of our current processes and how we can improve upon those processes.
  • Some of our current processes are such because of the limitations of our ILSs and the limitations of our funds. Some of our systems do have modules to support processes we’d like to adopt but they’re sold as separate modules, requiring additional monetary outlays and annual fees, rather than as an evolution of our current systems to meet the changing needs of the resources we acquire—and, yes, I’m talking electronic resources here.To allow us to build a system Example of letting go of predictive check-in: initial struggle (amount of resources that are print-based), balancing need with resources to develop such functionality, acknowledge that we are more alike than different (OLE Project assumptions, as a growth from regional workshops), incl. revisiting local practices and which ones are still valid vs. which are done per traditionAs we seriously question our current processes we realize we have the opportunity to increase the value of this new system to make it one that will foster progress and flexibility so that, whatever resources come down the pike in 10 or 20 years from now, we’ll have a system that can evolve to help us manage those resources and make sure they get to our users.I’m now going to pass discussions on to Mark.
  • Services. Good information professionals are discerners, they are authenticators, they are practiced in objective judgment. They have a broad perspective on campus life. They partner widely to best cultivate and frame services that are useful, relevant, and integrative. Without a doubt, users have access to plenty of information. They, however, need facilitative guidance at finding and using the right information at the right time to complete an assignment or solve a particular problem. They also need tools to help them do this.
  • We end with excitement. We realize that in the effort of going first brings a certain amount of risk. However we also know that our users demand that our staffing, our resources, our services, and our technologies are agile. We can’t wait to plan to meet their needs. We need to anticipate them with open content, flexible services for mobile students allowing for personal experience with applications that are flexible enough to grow and develop in ways that
  • Solidify roles for content managed web channels (news, events, directories)


  • 1. • • • • • • • •
  • 2. • Operations Aging and inflexible • Proprietary market not responsive • Technology • Digital content Own to access Social and mobile • New Practices Work arounds • Staffing • Sustainable funding • Managing change •
  • 3. WHAT IS APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT? by David Chappell, December 2008, Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation
  • 4. Planning: Deploy and Deploy Again Nov 2011 May 2012 Jun 2013 Nov 2013
  • 5. Levers for Change: Processes Current Future Manual Batch Duplicate Once Multiple systems, sources of information Systems consolidated, centralized Print-based Flexible for the unforeseen Library services left out in the cold Room in the inn
  • 6. Kuali OLE as an opportunity for strategic alignment of systems Apply one set of goals, resources to a collection of systems to move towards an organizational goal • Aligned with strategic goals and values (customer focused, effective, flexible, sustainable, secure) • Aligned technologically for efficient workflows, communication, management •
  • 7. ILS and Enterprise Systems: Pre-Kuali OLE Challenges ILLiad (ILL) WebCat (OPAC) Palci EZ-Borrow (ILL) ContentDM (DMS) E-Resource Management Oracle (IDM) License Management SirsiDynix Symphony (ILS) Banner (Finance)
  • 8. ILS and Enterprise Systems: Pre-Kuali OLE
  • 9. Integration and Planning: Open Source Solutions NCIP Toolkit (XC) Drupal (CMS) Omeka (DMS) ContentDM (DMS) Archives Space (Archives) Moodle (LMS) Kuali OLE (ILS) VuFind (Discovery)
  • 10. Open Source Solutions: VuFind Discovery
  • 11. Integration: ILS Development Environment Closed System Feature Open System Vendor Supplied User Interface Programmer access Vendor Supplied Staff Interface Programmer access API - maybe Data Stores DBA access, API Vendor Supplied Modules Programmer access Vote! Bug fixes, enhancement Community Vendor Support Community Vendor Pricing Foundation
  • 12. Open System Integration VuFind (Discovery) Palci E-ZBorrow via NCIP Patron Data (Oracle) Authentication (LDAP, SSO) ILLiad (NCIP Add-ons) Financial (Oracle) E-Resources Digital Collections License Management Data Stores