University of Bournemouth

Through a face to face meeting and a follow up telephone conference, a use case was developed with the Bournemouth University. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Bournemouth wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

The use case meeting with Bournemouth University (BU) Library was held in two parts. Firstly at an ice-bound Bournemouth on 20th December 2010, attended by David Kay and Regina Ferguson from the project and David Ball from Bournemouth University, the remainder of the BU team absent due to closure of the University by snow. It was followed up by a telephone conference on 23rd February 2011 attended by David Kay from the project and David Ball, Chris Spencer and Stella Welsh from BU.

The discussions, revolved around Discovery to Delivery linked to moving to e-only, but had many dimensions, all highlighting BU’s commitment to providing the library resource needs of the University community in the most cost effective and efficient way whilst utilising the small library staff group to best effect.

BU Library’s strategy has always been to adopt a pragmatic approach to all procurement activity, questioning all work flow processes; utilising supplier systems and working with suppliers to establish best practice. At the same time BU Library has established good communication links with both the academic and student communities to ensure developments are in line with expectations.

Such a pragmatic approach sometimes conflicts with traditional library risk aversion. However, provided the process is founded on the strategic aims of the institution, is guided by feedback from the community and complies with all regulatory requirements, it ensures efficient and effective delivery of services with a very small staff structure: BU provides a quality service at just 62% of the SCONUL mean expenditure per FTE student.

BU Library spends 74% of its resources budget on e-resources and so it would seem a logical step to procure an ERM. BU Library has been considering ERM systems for some time and has been involved in the beta testing of one commercial product. If the ERM was relatively inexpensive, could be integrated easily into the Library Management System and other key business systems, a business case could be successfully submitted.

However, in the current economic climate where investment needs to demonstrate significant ongoing savings (especially in staff budgets) there remains a concern over the likely return on investment given that the BU Library staff structure is already small as a result of previously introduced work flow efficiencies. The ERM needs to be future proofed, be able to manage all life cycle aspects of current formats and types of e-resources and be of a flexible design to handle future formats and procurement models and ensure we don’t face the current scenario of monolithic systems with limited integration capacity repeated in the future.

BU Library remains committed to the idea of shared services that will help minimise duplication of effort across institutions and ultimately share the cost and effort in developing the services in areas and workflows common to the sector.

We especially look forward to investigating the possibilities of replacing the commercial LMS with an open-source, shared-service alternative.