» Project Scope

This scope document is in the early stages of development and will be revised and extended over time. Because it is important that the full library community have input into this project, we are sharing the document now, with the understanding that some elements may change as result of further discussion.  In this first draft of the scope document there are at least a few areas where the growing community is still struggling with the language used to express important concepts.  At a minimum specific sections still needing discussion are noted in italics.

OLE Vision, Principles, and Scope Statements

1. OLE Vision

The Online Library Environment (OLE) project envisions a flexible, adaptable, and community-developed software framework for managing libraries that support research, teaching, and higher learning. (For the purposes of this document, the term “libraries” is restricted to libraries within higher education institutions, and libraries charged with national or federal responsibilities.)

1.1. The OLE framework seeks to improve how Integrated Library System (ILS) software serves the mission of libraries. [The community is struggling with the language to express how OLE Project will replace the ILS but not be the same as the ILS.  The community recognizes OLE Project design document must meet the business needs of the library.  OLE Project will provide a functional design document that goes beyond encompassing traditional functions performed by current Integrated Library Systems.  It has proven difficult to convey the community's sense here.  We hope the larger community can engage and help frame this message.] OLE supports library core business processes, but transforms those processes to power new service and resource delivery modalities that are tied to evolving research and teaching practices. The framework provides services to customers in a manner that integrates naturally with their research, teaching or learning contexts and that is ergonomic and capable of adapting to evolving research and learning communities.

1.2. OLE software development and governance are community-based to provide for the sustainment, extension and integration of the framework in the academic, and research environment. OLE raises ILS software to the enterprise level and becomes a component of the developing cyberinfrastructure that seeks to expand research and learning capacities and opportunities. [The community is struggling with how to position the discussion of enterprise level software.  We recognize that the library enterprise sees the ILS as an enterprise application.  We also recognize the library's parent institution may or may not recognize the ILS as an enterprise application with significant interoperability concerns.]

1.3. OLE complements human interactions, reducing repetitive clerical and administrative tasks, and freeing staff to deliver higher value support to scholars and learners. OLE provides scalable support for customers and information assets, so that high levels of service can be provided, with low incremental cost, to an expanding clientele working in a growing universe of content-rich resources and services.

2. OLE Principles

Principles that guide development are necessary to achieve the OLE framework vision. They are:

2.1. Supports a wide range of resources, accessed by a wide range of customers, in a variety of contexts, and provides structures for extending and adding new types of resources, customers and contexts.

2.2. Designed, built, owned, and governed by and for the library community on an open source licensing basis; sustained by the community with the assistance of a thriving, open source vendor marketplace; evolving over time through transparent processes that enable and respond to input and innovation from the community.

2.3. Developed using the methods of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and implemented with Web Services to be a modular and technology-neutral framework that ensures the interoperability of library business systems and accommodates a diversity of solutions without the risks posed by single source providers. Capable of customization to support local needs.

2.4. Designed to adapt to and integrate with other enterprise systems such as research support, student information, human resources, identity management, fiscal control, and repository and content management.

2.5. Provides a modular application infrastructure that integrates with new and existing academic and research technologies and business processes for improved efficiency and effectiveness of the institution, and which meets current and future business needs of the community.

2.6. Creates a reliable and robust framework for the identification, documentation, innovation, development, maintenance, and review of software necessary to furthering the operation and mission of libraries.

3. Project Scope

3.1. Business Processes

The design of a reference implementation that supports the basic functionality of legacy ILS products is within the Project scope. Examples of basic ILS functionality are appended.  However, OLE supports functions that are beyond the existing ILS core. We expect the Project’s functional scope to expand and evolve in step with emerging business practices, service requirements, and content offerings of libraries.  Thus OLE broadens the current notion of the ILS, to incorporate functions that either directly support or integrate with systems that manage intellectual property and rights, build and maintain content repositories, link content with learning management technologies, facilitate customer authentication and authorization, and integrate with institution-wide financial services.

3.2. Architecture and Data Models

3.2.1. The systems architecture of OLE is in scope; out of scope is any particular technology that may be used to implement OLE.

3.2.2. Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) will be used to achieve OLE’s community development model and potential integration with other enterprise services.

3.2.3. Service contract specifications that enable development by a large community without restriction to original developers are in scope.

3.2.4. The data models and possibly standards that are implied by SOA are in scope. 2.4 The replication of functionality that is mature and interoperable, such as data repositories or authentication/authorization systems, is out of scope.

3.3. Integration and interoperability

3.3.1. Designing capacities to migrate legacy library data is in scope.

3.3.2. Developing a schematic framework that enables OLE to integrate and interoperate with campus, institutional, or national systems with respect to a range of enterprise functions is also in scope. These include customer and personnel records, identity management systems, registrar data, courseware applications, and procurement systems, or depending on local circumstances, commercial systems that facilitate library functions such as resources sharing.

3.3.3. The project will encompass support for consortial applications of the OLE software as well as the means of facilitating inter-institutional cooperative programs and integration with external data services such as OCLC, Rapid Article Delivery Service, book and subscription agents and other commercial services.

3.4. Data Governance and Security

3.4.1. The Project will develop a generalized, extensible concept of a resource which represents the variety of entities, physical and virtual, managed by the library.

3.4.2. Within scope is the development of the logical requirements that privilege interactions based on group or individual roles and responsibilities.

3.4.3. Project OLE will support the business logic necessary for interoperability.

3.4.4. The management of security relationships among systems to ensure system stability and data integrity is within scope.

3.4.5. The scope of data governance and security extends to the protection of individual privacy.4.6 Project OLE will support federated authentication/authorization technology.

3.5. Discovery & User Experience

3.5.1. The OLE framework supports user and administrative interfaces of various types.

3.5.2. Reference implementation will conform to community developed specification for interoperability.

3.5.3. OLE services supporting discovery and the user experience will be configurable to accommodate community, disciplinary, and format-specific taxonomies are in scope.

4. Appendix. List of Basic ILS Functions

4.1. Ordering and tracking of new acquisitions, physical and electronic, along with management of IP such as contract and license maintenance.

4.2. Classification and description of holdings.

4.3. Maintenance and quality control of bibliographic data, including data integration with local and external data sources, the latter would include data to facilitate resource sharing activities or participation in union catalogs or bibliographic utilities.

4.4. Physical processing and shelf-preparation of materials.

4.5. Accounting of funds.

4.6. Circulation of items and control of inventories and other assets, for example physical and electronic media, equipment, humans, physical spaces.

4.7. the creation and management of patron records.

4.8. the creation and management of event-driven data for analysis and decision support.


2 comments for “Project Scope”

  1. [...] library staff gathered together to watch the first OLE Project webcast. The webcast discussed their scope, goals, and accomplishments to date. The project is still in its early stages but intends to design [...]

    Posted by Professional Development - OLE Project webcast | October 1, 2008, 4:01 pm
  2. Suggestion:
    “1.1 The OLE framework seeks to improve how Integrated Library System (ILS) software serves the mission of libraries.”
    How about “The OLE framework seeks to provide an alternative to traditional Integrated Library System (ILS) software and how it serves the mission of libraries.”
    In other words, we’re not looking to make it better; we’re looking to replace it.

    Posted by Oleg Kreymer | October 2, 2008, 3:01 pm

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