I had a fascinating day at the Jisc HIKE project workshop last Tuesday organised by Dave Patten, Graham Stone and colleagues from Huddersfield University. I was asked to talk about KB+ alongside presentations on Intota by Jane Burke from Serials Solutions and on the JISC HIKE project from Graham and Dave. A write up from the day will be available on the JISC HIKE project blog so please keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in library services platforms and future developments in this area.
From a KB+ point of view it was interesting to hear from staff working in libraries about the need for greater integration with other systems. I am pleased to say the KB+ team are already working with institutions to gain a good understanding of their requirements in terms of integration and data sharing between systems.
Libraries were keen to hear how KB+ fits into common library workflows. KB+ already has recently released support for a ‘renewals’ workflow, and we are interested to get feedback on how well this works for libraries, and what other common workflows need to be supported.
In Jane’s presentation she noted the shift in libraries collections from print to electronic and how libraries are dealing with more and more electronic resources. Managing the information about these resources is essential and with Intota they have begun developing a knowledge base from scratch building on their experience. KB+ has also had the opportunity to build a knowledge base from scratch and is learning from this process. The data model for the Knowledge base, and the data in the Knowledge base are both subject to continual review and improvement as we work with institutions to ensure KB+ meets their requirements.
It will be interesting to see as the systems develop the potential for integration. Encouragingly Intota will be working with common standards such as KBART which is also a key principle of KB+
Another key principle to KB+ is the notion of do the work once and share. Learning more out about services such as Intota and being open and sharing the title lists we have worked on I think is important in helping us find a way in with systems can integrate to the benefit of our customers. The concept of community collaboration has been at the heart of KB+ from the very start. At the recent KB+ meeting in London, we presented a vision for how KB+ would support collaboration, and got feedback from attendees on what features they saw as important in this area. The KB+ development team are now assessing different approaches to supporting collaboration and are also working closely with the GOKb project to understand how such collaboration might work at a global level
I think libraries are facing interesting times with new products such as library platform services, discovery tools and even KB+ entering the market and we hope our collaborative approach will help make it a less bumpy ride.
The development of library workflows and associated support (such as alerts) is a priority task for KB+ developments in Autumn 2012. In order to ensure grounded input from the start, we’ve established a task group running from June to September, with volunteer members from the library teams at Birmingham, Cambridge, Kings and Salford. Other institutions are helping with parallel reports and user interface task groups.
The workflow group has agreed a simple five-step work plan.
Step 1 – Agree what we mean by ‘workflow’ and which types of workflow support will make KB+ most useful to library operations. We listed seven types of activities ranging from coordinating publisher updates and supporting renewals decisions (both really important) to task-based messaging within the local library team (not a priority – email does that pretty well for now).
Step 2 – Meet up to detail the important workflows that will make a difference from Autumn 2012 onwards. The Cambridge team kindly hosted 9 of us on 27 June, when we focused on publisher updates and decision support around new deals and renewals. We covered approximately 75 square feet of white board space in 4 hours (sounds impressive), generating just 5 iPhone photos (all that work for 5 low quality snaps) … and a mass of important thinking. We found an old fashioned ‘swim lane’ diagram (once it was explained to us by @owenstephens) to be a good way of systematizing workflow actions and ideas as a shared service design – each column in the diagram relates to a key actor in the envisaged process. From this annotated photo of our efforts, you can see that the write up in Step 4 will be essential to bring this to life!
Step 3 – Compare our ideas with GOKb partners. KB+ is collaborating with the Mellon Foundation funded GOKb (http://gokb.org/post/25021222983/gobkpressrelease) project involving four US Higher Eds from the Kuali OLE consortium (Chicago, Duke, North Carolina State and Penn). We want to leverage their efforts with data beyond the UK deals and also share ideas about optimal workflows between local library, above-campus and vendor functions. We’ll also look at the Kuali Rice community source software that they are using to enable workflows. We have two meetings in July and August.
Step 4 – Draft and mutually agree a report. As emphasized by the KB+ Community Group, this report needs to be an accessible document that sets out the workflow priorities for KB+ development from the perspective of how they will fit with real library operations and key local systems (such as Link Resolvers). It will also provide the ‘Use Case’ requirements to inform the development team. The final report will be reviewed by the group in early September.
Step 5 – Use the report as the basis for a library update meeting in the autumn. Our group is suggesting that the report should form a good basis for a UK community update meeting for managers and practitioners to discuss how KB+ will fit and enhance their practices and lessen their local workload.