The benefits of sharing - Scottish Shared Library Service
“How would a shared library
management system improve services
The Benefits of Sharing
This proposed project seeks to contribute towards a
new vision for library systems by investigating the
“How would a shared library management system
improve services in Scotland?”
This will be achieved by a project team backed by
the Scottish Confederation of University and
Research Libraries (SCURL), and led by the
University of Edinburgh Library.
The Benefits of Sharing
There were several aspects to the questions being investigated:
Services – how do different groups of users benefit from shared content and
systems, and are there any complications introduced from such sharing?
Systems – how far can a shared system sensibly reach, do suitable solutions
exist that can be shared and that scale appropriately, and to what extent is a
local view of a shared system required or possible?
Content – how common are the current content holdings, licences and
cataloguing practises across the libraries in Scotland that would help or
hinder deeper sharing?
Each work package was led by a different member of the
WP1 – Looking ahead, Stuart Lewis, University of
Edinburgh. (Project Manager).
WP2 – Users. Angela Laurins, University of Edinburgh.
WP3 – Systems. Colin Watt, University of Edinburgh.
WP4 – Content. Colin Sinclair, University of Stirling.
A project board was appointed to oversee the project, made
up of members of SCURL, representatives nominated by the
JISC, project staff, and other relevant staff.
The Look ahead
• LMS Day at Stirling on 5th October 2012 - reps
from HE, FE and the NLS, considered what we
need from an LMS, what could be shared, what
the impact might be and what it would look like
to library staff and users.
• Strong support for a shared service in this area.
• Need for institutional senior management
• Do you want a shared LMS for Scotland?
• Do you think a shared LMS for Scotland would work?
• We asked everyone to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each
question. Voting was anonymous.
We got the following results:
• 29 people wanted a shared LMS for Scotland, 3
people didn’t, and one person didn’t vote on this
• 24 people thought a shared LMS for Scotland would
work, 9 people didn’t think it would work.
Key findings – User Services
• Improving the user experience by providing greater visibility
of, and the ability to, search across Scottish collections.
– A discovery layer or a union catalogue?
• Shared costs of support and development – a more stable
environment and would be able to collaborate on
developments that could not easily be achieved alone.
• Staff efficiencies through shared procurement and greater
– Principle well established in Scottish HE.
• Expand range of services offered by smaller institutions.
• Staff development and shared knowledge – the burden of
systems admin may be shared.
Key findings - Content
• Cost savings made by securing content through SHEDL.
• Increasing availability of e-content.
• Improved discovery and delivery of content.
• Managing content once for the whole sector, rather
than duplication of effort, sharing staff resource.
– Manage deals through KB+ for whole sector?
• Sharing of knowledge and expertise on metadata and
• More efficient records management.
• Exploitation of currently uncatalogued collections.
Key findings – Systems.
• Shared technical expertise and
knowledge, reduced duplication of effort.
• This shared expertise may make Open Source
a viable option.
• Greater financial clout with a shared
procurement, better deal possible.
• More influence with development partner as a
larger consortial entity
We collaborate already!
Examples of sharing in Scotland:
SCURL - SCOPNet
• A sharing model that works for all.
• Flexible – can we take on new members?
• All stakeholders represented equally.
• Decisions on which polices and work practices
can be standardised.
• Good communication and knowledge sharing
is the key to success.
SCURL – taking forward the
• SCURL “task and finish” group in 2013 to look at the issues in more
• What is our vision for the structure of the shared service?
• A survey of the gaps in e-content provision.
• Management buy-in – what is our business case?
• The structure of the sharing model and the policies to be reviewed.
• Politics around sharing our physical collections.
• Cataloguing standards? The Scottish Metadata Platform.
• Systems – all options should be considered, next gen systems from
commercial vendors and OS partners.
– What peripheral systems might also be impacted – Reading Lists, VLE
• What will it mean to the users?
What could possibly go wrong?
• Not all HEIs ready to make change at the same
– Steady development rather than ”big bang”?
• Loss of autonomy.
• Prohibitive costs or failure to reach agreement
on distribution of costs.
• Limitations of technology.
• “Sharing”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/micahtaylor/6036026737
• “LMS”: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/foxfield/lms_van_117870.htm
• “Comfort zone”. Across the Divide Expeditions.
No permission sought from any of the above!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.