Friday, August 7, 2009

The Future of Libraries and Their Systems

Library Journal has an article on a report recently released by the Open Library Environment Project, which “Sketches a Flexible Future for Library Software”:

The plans cover the range of current library software components, including the functions currently performed by existing integrated library system (ILS) options as well as electronic resource management (ERM) systems.

Moreover, the project document also includes plans for integration with other systems, such as those that govern student and user identity management and human resources functions. It heavily emphases Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) to support connections with disparate components and data sources. As the document says, "OLE places the library's business in context within the fabric of the institution and the research process, rather than keeping it a separate, siloed operation."

From the report web site:

project planners produced an OLE design framework that embeds libraries directly in the key processes of scholarship generation, knowledge management, teaching and learning by utilizing existing enterprise systems where appropriate and by delivering new services built on connections between the library’s business systems and other technology systems.

When I saw the words “knowledge management,” I expected to find a broader vision for future library services—specifically ones that would extend the types of information management services delivered through archives and records management programs. But the report focuses on rather traditional library resources and services, albeit in an enhanced electronic environment.