Higher Education Library Technology Briefing Papers Briefing papers available to all – under a very open (CC0) license - so feel free to share
"I just want to say how perfect these are for our librarian audience. Perfect length, perfect tone, and perfect amount of technical info". Jim Lynch, Techsoupglobal.org
The use and potential for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in academic libraries
Library consultant Ken Chad was in discussion with Ruth Pickering, co-founder and chief strategy and business development officer at Yewno. This was is an opportunity to meet with a key industry leader to talk about the strategic issues. What are the problems that AI can address and for whom? What about issues like bias? What new opportunities can AI bring to libraries? The dialogue took place on 8th December, 2021 and lasted for 35 minutes. A recording of the webinar is available on the ‘Artificial Intelligence page of HELibTech
Open library systems – a new perspective**. Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology [HELibTech] Briefing Paper No. 7, May 2022.
In the last decade or so open source software became a defining factor in how librarians perceived ‘open’ library systems. Open source library systems such as Koha gained market share were often seen in terms of a ‘battle’ with the more common proprietary solutions. With the rise of cloud computing, software ‘platforms’ have come to dominate. Because the solution is hosted in the cloud, rather than implemented on local servers, the underlying technology becomes of less concern. These platforms, including Library Services Platforms (LSPs) typically embrace open source components and combine them with proprietary solutions. The value of a ‘platform’, as opposed to a software ‘product’ comes not only from its own features, but from its ability to connect to external solutions, data, and processes. To do this it needs to be ‘open’ in terms of data and the ability to integrate, via (typically open) application programming Interfaces (APIs), with other products which may be developed by customers or provided by other independent software vendors (ISVs). This, open interoperability, perspective is now a more fruitful way to consider open library systems.
Aggregate and amplify -enhancing the value and use of theses and dissertations. Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology [HELibTech] Briefing Paper No. 6, July 2020
Theses and dissertations (TDs) form a core part of the research outputs of an academic institution. However, they do not usually get the same attention as journal published research. Universities are doing more to make this category of research outputs more easily discoverable to a growing global community of scholars. In this way they increase visibility for the institution and individual by amplifying the reach to the wider scholarly community. The paper looks at the value to the author, the institution and the global research community. It analyses the particular value that TD specific aggregations offer in terms of enhancing discovery, text and data mining, making historical works more discoverable through digitisation and preservation. It addresses the contentious issue of embargoes and open access. The paper presents the case for an aggregated, amplified, global and digitised approach to TDs.
The rise of library centric reading list systems. By Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) Briefing Paper no.5 . July 2018
The last five years have seen a sizable increase in the number of universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand deploying library centric reading lists solutions. A notable change in the last year or so is that library resource list solutions are beginning to be adopted in the US. The paper suggests that reading/resource list systems will have a major impact on the global library technology market just as library ‘discovery services’ did over a decade ago.
The paper analyses the impact of reading list solutions on students, academics/faculty, the library and the library supply chain. It looks to future developments including the more extensive use of analytics and the increasing role of reading lists in pedagogical ‘scaffolding’.
The student consumer and the rise of e-textbook platforms By Ken Chad. HELIbTech briefing paper No. 4. 28th March 2018
A recent report for the Society of College, National & University Libraries (Sconul) listed ‘students as customers’ as one of the five top 'transformational’ trends that will impact libraries over the next ten years. These student consumers are not all happy and one reason is the rising cost of textbooks and the lack of availability from libraries. The briefing paper looks at the textbook market and moves to digital and more interactive learning. It analyses new approaches to textbook provision including Open Textbooks and the rise of e-textbook platforms.
The student consumer and the rise of e-textbook platforms. By Ken Chad.Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper (No. 4). March 2018.
A 2017 report for the Society of College, National & University Libraries (Sconul) listed ‘students as customers’ as one of the five top ‘transformational’ trends that will impact libraries over the next ten years. These student consumers are not all happy and one reason is the rising cost of textbooks and the lack of availability from libraries. The briefing paper looks at the textbook market and the moves to digital and more interactive learning resources. It analyses new approaches to textbook publication including Open Textbooks and institutional initiatives and new ways libraries are delivering e-textbooks to students. It concludes with an analysis of the potential disruptive impact of new user focused e-textbook platforms
The new role of the library in teaching and learning outcomes. By Ken Chad & Helen Anderson. HELIbTech briefing paper No. 3. 20 June 2017
Students in many countries, especially the US and UK are concerned that the growing cost of higher education is not delivering good value. Excellence in teaching and a focus on measurement and assessment of learning outcomes have become entrenched in higher education policy and the strategies of academic institutions. In the UK this trend has crystallised in a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) introduced by government in 2017.
As a result library leaders around the world will need to become more strategic in articulating value propositions based around a more holistic view of library/learning resources.The value of data analytics will be a key driving force. Data from reading list systems and digital textbook platforms combined with information from other institutional systems will allow powerful insights to emerge. Such analytics will be invaluable to institutions, publishers and intermediaries as they look at new ways to deliver content.
All this suggests a trend for library technology and educational technology to merge. There looks to be the beginning of shift away from a narrow conception of *library* systems, the *library* supply chain and *library data*. Conventional integrated library systems (ILS) and even the new generation of library services platforms (LSPs) remain wedded to an outdated view of library learning resources and will have to change significantly or be integrated or subsumed into a new generation of learning services platforms.
Teaching and learning outcomes, the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) a new world for libraries, publishers and intermediaries.
Presentation at UKSG Conference . April 2018
A focus on measurement and assessment of teaching and learning outcomes has become entrenched in policy and the strategies of academic institutions. In the UK this trend has crystallised in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Librarians are increasingly managing course specific resources that up to now had been the province of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or digital textbook platforms. This session looks at the impacts on content and licensing, e-textbooks and the potential merging of library and educational technology.
Rethinking the Library Services Platform. By Ken Chad HELIbTech briefing paper No. 2.
(Also available in German Überdenken des Konzeptes “Library Services Platform“
The second in the series of HELibTech briefing papers challenges the current definition of a library services platform (LSP) and suggests ways in which library systems might develop. While a new generation of library systems has emerged there remains a very significant lack of interoperability between the various components that make up the wider library technology ‘ecosystem’. So, although we talk of library services platforms, libraries and library system vendors have not yet fully realised a platform-based, interoperable library ecosystem. Cloud computing could help break this paradigm as it is doing with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Gartner, an information technology market research and advisory firm, suggests that the ERP suite is being deconstructed into what they characterise as a ‘postmodern ERP.’ Gartner suggests that the result will be a more loosely coupled environment with much of the functionality sourced as Cloud services or via business process outsourcers. Will we see the same trend in library technology?
A more open library technology ecosystem, possibly making better use of open source components, would eliminate the restrictions of a closed and monolithic suite of services from a single vendor. Solutions are moving to the Cloud but aren’t yet really platforms. It is possible that such a platform-based ecosystem model will be the “next generation” in library automation. The promise for libraries is a more flexible and cost effective solution and for users a much improved user experience.
Suzanne Enright, Registrar at the University of Westminster, London commented:
“It is always important to see library technology trends in a wider context, not least that of the wider corporate ecosystem and the HELibTech briefing papers are really helpful in navigating our complex landscape. This briefing paper provides interesting new insights into the challenging area of library related technology, where the demands of our users aren’t always matched by the market providers. The need for interoperability is in constant flux in the increasingly complex world of technology-enhanced learning and research”.
Library management system to library services platform. Resource management for libraries: a new perspective. Ken Chad HELibTech Briefing Paper August 2015
This briefing paper contrasts the library resource management landscape now with the situation in 2008 when the Jisc/Sconul LMS study recommended that the time was not right for libraries to purchase a new library system. In the intervening period a new generation of 'library services platforms' (LSPs) has emerged and the pace of procurement has quickened. Ken analyses the current landscape and looks at the strategic issues around the changing nature of library collections, shared services, workflows and analytics. The paper is made available under a CC-0 license to enable easy re-use.