The subject of this month’s episode is the Mellon funded Open Library Environment (OLE) Project which has been in operation since the middle of last year with the goal to define a next-generation technology environment based on a thoroughly re-examined model of library operations and connected to other enterprise technology systems. Leading to a design for a next-generation library system using Service Oriented Architecture.
Our first guest is Tim McGeary is of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, who is an active member of the project and gave an excellent presentation of it’s state at Code4lib 2009. As well as addressing how the individual components of a future library system will interact with each other, it is important to understand how they will interact and integrate with other enterprise systems delivering services elsewhere in the institution.
Our second guest, Andy Latham from Talis has been responsible for their system integration solution, Keystone, integrating library with external systems such as finance, student registry, portals, identity and CRM systems.
This mix of guests set a great background for the conversation to develop. On the one hand we have the clean-sheet approach from the OLE providing the benefit of being able to revisit the objectives and dependencies of a library system. On the other hand we have experience of many real integration projects, interfacing library business with non-library systems.
Gang members Marshall Breeding and Oren Beit-Arie, who has a background in this area with the Ex Libris URM strategy, joined the conversation, which initially focused on how great efficiencies could be introduced by fully integrating with systems such as finance and student registry. The obvious next question was what happens to library staff currently employed in areas which could be automated.
Tim gave us an update on the status of the current, design phase of the project and he and Marshall, who is also participating in it, speculated on where things will go in years two and three.
Another lively and interesting discussion, well worth a listen.