Open Library Environment Project (OLE) ALA session

I attended this session on Saturday morning. For those not familiar with OLE it is a project to build an open ILS using service oriented architecture and business modelling. The presenters were Robert H. McDonald (Indiana Univ.), Carlen Ruschoff (Univ. of Maryland), Beth Forrest-Warner (Univ. of Kansas), and John Little (Duke Univ.). The project is just finishing its planning phase and its draft document can be accessed at their website While the end product hopes to be an open source ILS right now the project is formed as a community source entity – like an open source but with members that have made committments and thus formed a community dedicated to the project, unlike an open source where one main player hopes others will join in and form a community. It seems to me that the community source approach ensures something will come out of the project. Some of the basic concepts are that instead of having an ILS that has to get files of data downloaded from other systems on your campus – feeds from HR or the registrar or from Banner – it would just connect live to that data and read it, use it, confirm it and then provide the service you need the data for. This would make campus systems less redundant and have operations work in real time. It does use kuali as middleware and so those interested might want to check out The timetable for development is 30 months from now to having a product. Partners are still being sought and an advantage to partnering is having a say in the development schedule. Partners do have to commit money, time, some expertise, and make a committment to operate some part of the system. Right now the monetary cost per year at 7 partners would be $185K/yr but more partners would lower the cost for all.

One thought on “Open Library Environment Project (OLE) ALA session

  1. It’s worth noting that there are other open-source ILSes that are built upon SOA and have adopted a community source model. One such is Evergreen, which is already coded and adopted at many institutions. It’s good for the OLE folks to build on work that’s already done and out there.

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