IMPLEMENTING A NEW CLOUD COMPUTING LIBRARY MANAGEMENT SERVICE: A Symbiotic Approach

By Dula, Michael; Jacobsen, Lynne et al. | Computers in Libraries, January/February 2012 | Go to article overview

IMPLEMENTING A NEW CLOUD COMPUTING LIBRARY MANAGEMENT SERVICE: A Symbiotic Approach


Dula, Michael, Jacobsen, Lynne, Ferguson, Tyler, Ross, Rob, Computers in Libraries


Our experience with WMS has been more positive than we expected - and we expected a lot. Our patrons are happier, and we are saving time and money.

his is the story of how Pepperdine University migrated its library management functions to the cloud using what is now known as OCLC's WorIdShare Management Services (WMS). The story of implementing this new service is told from two vantage points: that of the library and that of the service provider.

Authors Michael Dula and Lynne Jacobsen of Pepperdine University Libraries and Tyler Ferguson and Rob Ross of OCLC were the principle collaborators for this pilot project, which took place between June and December 2010. In this article, the authors outline the stages of adopting and deploying WMS. The process described and the advice shared, however, apply to the adoption of other systems as well.

Background

Pepperdine University is an independent university enrolling approximately 7,700 students in five colleges and schools. Pepperdine has six branch libraries, as well as a number of small libraries at international programs. Michael and Lynne are, respectively, director for digital initiatives and technology strategy and associate university librarian for information resources, collections, and scholarly communication.

OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing the rate of rise for library costs. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorIdCat, the world's largest online database for discovery of library resources. Rob and Tyler are, respectively, director of implementation programs and senior implementation program manager at OCLC.

WMS is the first web-scale, cooperative set of library management services. The aim was to move core services such as circulation, acquisitions, cataloging, and discovery to the network or the cloud. By doing so, the goal was to allow libraries to share hardware, services, and data, as opposed to traditional library management systems that offer individual libraries hosted, but siloed, hardware, software, and data storage. Because WMS is built on a common, open, and extensible software platform, libraries and third-party vendors can create and use applications that extend the utility and efficiency of core library functions. Finally, because WMS offers massively aggregated data, libraries reap benefits from the combined wisdom of their community members.

Reporting on Our Experience

PEPPERDINE: Why WMS? At the outset of what became the WMS project, Pepperdine was running Ex Libris Ltd.'s Voyager as our integrated library system (ILS) on an internally managed Sun server. We were a couple of releases behind and facing the familiar, but al ways somewhat daunting, prospect of scheduling a system upgrade during the next available holiday break. This would have involved several days of system downtime, the installation of new client software on library computers at every branch location, the reconnection of the discovery interface, and a lot of crossed fingers. We had periodically considered other system options, but none had appeared to us to offer an adequate return on investment for the trouble of migrating. When OCLC approached us with the possibility of joining a pilot program for the development of a new system, we quickly jumped onboard.

There were three main reasons driving our adoption of WMS:

1· The technology. We were already moving into outsourced hosting as a library and as a university. Within the OCLC product family, we were already running hosted CONTENTdm for managing digital collections and ILLiad for interlibrary loan without a hitch, and we had successfully rolled out WorldCat Local (WCL) as our discovery platform the year before. We wanted to get out of the server management business. Our goal was to manage information, not technology. …

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