Doing More with Less: The Crisis, Cooperation, and the Library

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The current financial situation has forced many libraries to pay unprecedented attention to how they are organized to achieve their missions. One common thread emerging in the responses is cooperation: those needing to cut costs sharply are finding that they cannot do so incrementally but must instead transform their activities in ways that spread cost and diffuse risk among many partners. The talk will cover some of the opportunities available for transformative institutional collaboration among libraries, including collaborative, open source software development as well as the challenges facing those attempting to collaborate. It will pay particular attention to the question of how to collaborate strategically: that is, how to ensure that collaboration retains or increases a library’s ability to pursue mission, enhance agility, increase sovereignty, and improve sustainability.

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Doing More with Less: The Crisis, Cooperation, and the Library

  1. 1. Doing More with Less: The Crisis, Cooperation, and the  Library Christopher J. Mackie NELINET Annual Conference Devens, MA,  1 June 2009
  2. 2. Keep in mind… • The views presented here are my own, not necessarily  those of my colleagues or of The Andrew W. Mellon  Foundation • The conclusions reached here reflect my own  knowledge and educated guesses based on  information gleaned from the public press and  conversations with your peers and colleagues: others  might reach different conclusions on the same data • All of the projects and approaches described here  succeed or fail based on the wisdom and effort of their  participants: “Your Mileage May Vary” 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 2
  3. 3. Mellon’s RIT Program • 50+ OSS/CSS Projects since 2000 • Scholarly Tools:  – Sophie, VUE, Zotero, Decapod • Museum, Performing Arts Projects:  – FluidEngage, ProjectAudience, CollectionSpace • Administrative Cyberinfrastructure:  – Kuali Financials, Kuali Coeus, Kuali Student, etc., etc.  • Scholarly Cyberinfrastructure:  – Bamboo, Open Annotation, OLE, OpenCast, Sakai, SEASR • Middleware for Cyberinfrastructure: – Fluid, ESB, uPortal 1 June 2009 Mackie, CI and the LAC 3
  4. 4. RIT “Original Synergy” (6/2009) 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 4
  5. 5. RIT Software Usage 10‐30m users/daily; 300m+ users peak 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 5
  6. 6. Community Source Software • Collaboration among institutions to design, build,  govern(, and operate) software addressing  shared needs/concerns • Cost amortization; risk reduction; stability  enhancement • Examples: Sakai, uPortal, Kuali, OpenCast, SEASR,  Bamboo, others—and OLE (more about OLE  later) • Healthy, competitive vendor market ensures  access by institutions lacking IT resources – IBM, Sun, Oracle – rSmart, Unicon 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 6
  7. 7. Sustainability • Metrics: – Great: improves ROI, productivity, reduces risk, etc., for org and  constituents – Good: improves ROI, reduces risk, etc., for scope of project – Bad: Inflates direct or hidden costs, increases risk, destabilizes other  sustaining activities • Examples: – Great: Consortial provision of ILS dramatically reduces TCO‐per‐ institution by leveraging open source vendor markets – Good: Consortial provision of ILS smoothes economic spikes, allows  institutions to assure more consistent services despite budget  volatility – Bad: Consortial provision of ILS mimics “vendor lock‐in” model,  creating same hidden costs as individual provision, plus costs of  collaboration 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 7
  8. 8. Project OLE (Open Library Env’t) • Objective: Next‐generation ILS & global CoP for a Web 2+ world • Eliminate traditional/digital library dichotomy; integral electronic  resources, collaboration, consortial support • “Enterprise” tech: extend library more deeply into teaching &  research missions • Weaving academic libraries together into a single, seamless Web of  knowledge • 120+ institutions participated in worldwide design effort, including  many RUs, LACs, state, & national libraries – Consortia well‐represented, including VALE, others • Build to begin 12/2009; first deliverables expected 12/2010 – Seeking build‐partners now, including consortial partners – No in‐house tech capacity required, to participate or deploy 1 June 2009 Mackie, CI and the LAC 8
  9. 9. OLE and CriticalMASS • Mission – Good: serves existing needs of libraries for ILS – Great: Supports next‐gen OPACs, finding aids to full extent of their capabilities – Great: “Enterprise” approach allows library to reach deeper into teaching/research  missions • Agility – Good: Open standards, open source means improved ability to respond – Great: CoP provides intel, best‐practices to perceive, prioritize, respond • Sovereignty – Good: Healthy vendor ecosystem means fair value for money – Great: IP ownership vested in Mission‐aligned entity – Great: “You can fire the vendor without firing the software” • Sustainability – Good/Great: Costs, risks amortized over all participants – Good: Wider choice of business models means closer fit to needs – Great: CSS should allow easier, smoother adaptation to economic changes 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 9
  10. 10. For More Information… • Project OLE: http://www.oleproject.org/ • Other Community Source Projects – www.kuali.org (admin and financial services) – www.sakaiproject.org (learning mgt & research collaboration) – www.ja‐sig.org/uportal (portal software) – www.opencastproject.org (campus audio/videocasting) – www.seasr.org (rich‐media scholarly analysis) – www.projectbamboo.org (Arts & Hum scholarly support) – http://www.openannotation.org/ (scholarly annotation) • Me – c j m @ m e l l o n . o r g – http://rit.mellon.org – Christopher J. Mackie Associate Program Officer, Research in IT The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 6/1/2009 Doing More with Less..., Mackie ‐ NELINET 10

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