OLE Project Seeks VALE Input

The OLE Project is preparing its Open Library Environment Requirements document and will soon make this available for comments from VALE. It is an important opportunity for the VALE community to see the accumulated document that reflects workflow and process modeling exercises conducted around the country. VALE members should reflect on this information and ask themselves (and one another) “does this capture the essence and the extent of the work we do?” OLE will look with interest at VALE’s commentary. Are all possible library activities represented? Is anything missing?

We need to understand that our current library system and our habits, customs and policies have strongly shaped the way we conduct the library operations of lending, reserves, acquisitions, cataloging, and periodicals management. It is important, as we review the forthcoming OLE documents, to try to separate ourselves from the constraints of our current ILS and, even more difficult, our habitual practices. Are the generic workflows, activities and processes all there?

More coming soon.

Kurt W. Wagner

William Paterson University



Sharon Yang

Rider University



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OLE Project Update

Post comments regarding this morning breakout session presented by Marianne Gaunt, Grace Agnew, and Christopher Sterback (Rutgers).

How is this project different from other similar projects and where are we now?

Marianne mentioned that RU is thinking about becoming a build partner on the Mellon project.

Grace reminded us that going Open Source (OS) does not save us money. Also, that you won’t necessarily get every customization in an OLS that you want. So why go OS?

  • The MARC format does not work well for digital resources. A lot of ILS were coded a long time ago and rely on the MARC format.
  • The concept of holdings is changing also — see plans for NJVid for example where 2+ schools may share the same resource.
  • What is a patron? It could be 2 universities collaborating on an online course. An ILS does not necessary support this and other types of patrons, its focus is on circulating books.
  • The ILS does not play well with other university information systems.
  • Financial terms are set by ILS vendors and we have little say in the fees that get charged.
  • Mergers with ILS vendors end up costing us more and requiring more of our time.
  • The OLE project is not excluding other libraries — say public libraries for example. The project is designed to support VALE.
  • The system will not be hardwired to support what Rutgers does.
  • OLE is a SOA architecture.
  • The OLE project is funded by Mellon to fit in with a larger higher education application environment — i.e., it recognizes that the library applications must exist with other higher ed applications.
  • OLE will support MARC but is not MARC. Students don’t like MARC, they don’t understand, let it go.

Chris Sterback reviewed some points about the project & workshops:

  • Project participants are very diverse, energetic and full of exciting ideas (14 universities)
  • Regional workshops are coming to an end. RU hosted 2 workshops at the end of last year. They were well attended.
  • Attendees brainstormed top 10 core processes. The models created during our regional workshops will be combined with models from the other workshops held around the world.
  • The OLE project design team will be meeting again in about 10 days.
  • There are many opportunities for participation. What should VALE do — data prep, ongoing workflow analysis, local communication, policy discussions. Does VALE need a webpage on OLE? A listserv?
  • At this point, Chris asked for input from the audience:
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