Magazine article American Libraries

Early Adopters Climb onto OCLC's Web-Scale Management Cloud

Magazine article American Libraries

Early Adopters Climb onto OCLC's Web-Scale Management Cloud

Article excerpt

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, are the first in line to go live with OCLC's much-hyped Web-scale Management Services (WMS) (AL, June/July 2009, p. 38), which moved from pilot phase to production in July with the release of acquisitions and circulations components to around 30 early adopters.

UTC was adhering to an ambitious timeline that would make it the first institution to go live with the product on August 30; Pepperdine is slated to come in second with a projected go - live date of October 11.

Calling WMS "the future of the ILS," UTC's Jason Griffey, project lead for his university's WMS migration, told American Libraries that "using a centralized database of bibliographic records like WorldCat means that you simplify pretty much every other aspect of back - office procedures."

Workflow wonderland

OCLC describes its Web-scale Management Services as moving acquisitions, circulation, and patron management into the cloud, putting those functions alongside WorldCat Local; the aim is to make workflows more efficient by automating critical back-office operations and reducing software support costs.

Michael Dula, director of digital initiatives at Pepperdine, said the move to WMS fits within "our overall technology strategy of moving functionality to externally hosted systems." With so much computing going on in the cloud, Pepperdine felt it made sense to "manage information, not servers," Dula told AL, asserting that the change "to a web-based system with a modern interface is huge."

Noting the benefits of the change to WMS for back-end users, Griffey explained that "moving an item from acquisitions to circulation is a 2 - or 3 - button - click process." And leveraging networked information sharing made possible by the cloud infrastructure has more advantages than just processing books in - hand. For example, WMS keeps universal, up-to-date information about vendors, so that libraries don't spend their own staff time maintaining vendor lists. "We will be able to access (and contribute to) a central vendor database," Dula noted.

"People have been talking about [a central vendor database] for 15 years," OCLC Executive Director for Networked Library Services Andrew Pace told AL, adding, "It's hard to estimate, but this improvement alone could save about one - quarter of an FTE's time in some libraries. …

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