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The aim of this wiki is to share news and views about aspects of the Open Library Environment (OLE) Project relevant to those of us in Australia.

The OLE Project is a 2008-09 initiative of a number of US university libraries, Libraries and Archives Canada and the National Library of Australia. The goal of the project is to define requirements for an open source library management system, based on a re-examined model of library operations.

For further information, contact Carmel McInerny, OLE Project representative in Australia.


A draft of the final report for the OLE Project is now available from the Project's website.

The report sets out the Project goals and scope, as well as steps beyond this planning phase in recruiting build partners for the next two to three years. A detailed appendix to the report contains the service reference model.

Comment is encouraged and can be forwarded via a link at the bottom of the webpage.

One of the OLE partners, Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research from Vanderbilt University, will be a keynote speaker at the VALA2010 Conference to be held in Melbourne in February next year. Marshall is also the person behind, as well as being the author of the annual survey into library automated systems, and of a number of important ALA Library Technology reports on open source ILS and next generation catalogues.

Following on from the OLE Project regional workshop held in Melbourne in November 08, a teleconference will be held 2pm Wednesday 22 April to update those interested on progress with the project and the National Library's perspective on the next build phase.

For details contact Carmel McInerny

  • by e-mail: cminerny at nla dot gov dot au or
  • phone +61 2 6262 1129.

For background reading you can check out recent posts on the OLE Project website including the YouTube recording of a recent webinar.

This is the title of a paper recently prepared by three attendees at the November 08 OLE Project workshop. It is intended to provide some thinking points and direction for the OLE Project in terms of the end-user (library patron) interface. The paper was well received by the OLE partner institutions, prompting further discussion about what a library services oriented framework should enable and how the design of a back-room system needs to assume end-user interfaces far and beyond a main library interface.

The authors are Dana McKay (User Experience Consultant, Swinburne University of Technology Library), Jan Lavelle (Senior Librarian, Systems Development, State Library of Tasmania) and Fiona Salisbury (Reference and Information Services Librarian, Borchardt Library, Latrobe University).

Comments on the paper can be sent to Dana ( or Carmel ( if they are to be forwarded to the OLE Project partners.

Warwick Cathro, Assistant Director-General Resource Sharing and Innovation, National Library of Australia, will discuss the OLE Project and open source initiatives of the NLA at this meeting of interested Horizon libraries at the University of Tasmania. The meeting begins today and will run over three days.

Your comments required

Do you work in (or manage) a special collections area in a library? Do you have some ideas on what how a library system should support your business processes?

Please read on and consider contributing to the OLE Project.


On 14 January 09 we held a workshop at the National Library of representatives from the Library's Special Collections Areas (Manuscripts, Pictures and Oral History). 

The aim of the workshop was to contribute to the requirements statements being assembled as part of the OLE Project and in particular to provide functional requirements for special collections in libraries. The Library has already produced relevant work in this area, both through internal discussion papers and public documents like the NLA Service Framework.

The agenda for the workshop is attached here.

Photographs are located on Flickr, with the tag oleproject.

List of business processes

The principal output of the workshop was a listing of the major business processes undertaken in special collections areas.

We arranged the processes under nine group headings for convenience: Acquisitions, Description, Control, Access - Rights & Permissions, Discovery, Reporting, Preservation and Digitisation & copy orders.

We then listed the processes we perform both in our current ILMS or by using other systems eg the Digital Collections Manager, paper based etc. The processes are a mix of some unique to archives, pictures and oral history and as well as those that are also performed by those dealing with print and electronic materials.

We also classified each of the processes according to the following indicators:

  • Core - a process that is an absolutely necessary part of any system, which all libraries perform
  • Significant - not a core process, but still important
  • Shift - a process that could be shifted to another unit/system outside the library system
  • Stop - a process we could stop doing completely.
Blue sky ideas

Although we didn't have time at the workshop to discuss ideas for a future library system, Linda Groom, NLA Pictures Librarian, has started the ball rolling by writing up some of her thoughts.

How to contribute

All the ideas gathered here will be forwarded to the OLE Project group for assimilation in the design discussion. The listing would be even more useful if it included comments and additions from staff in other libraries in Australia. If you are familiar with special collections material please consider reviewing and adding to the listing.

You can do this by adding a comment to this page or by sending an e-mail to cmcinerny at nla dot gov dot au


The December 2008 issue of Code4Lib Journal has an article by Dale Askey of Kansas State University titled We love open source software. No, you can't have our code.

In the context of redundancy and competitiveness he makes mention of the OLE Project and in particular questions its role in the context of existing open source ILS and sustainability.

He also raises other issues around the use of open source in libraries and what needs to be addressed to ensure more sharing of code to open source projects. The author's emphasis and examples are from US university libraries but nevertheless are also relevant to the Australian scene.

Eric Lease Morgan, who was recently in Australia for the Libraries Australia Forum, has posted a report on his blog of the recent OLE Project workshop held at the University of Chicago. He provides a summary of the day's activities documenting current work processes and concludes with an interesting comment re the importance of opportunities for more 'blue skying' in our changing environment.

Bernie Sloan continues the discussion with a post on 14/12/08 on NGC4LIB@LISTSERV.ND.EDU where he stresses the importance of designing systems with the end users' changing needs in mind. This was also an aspect of the Project discussed at the Melbourne workshop held in November.

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