OhioLINK announces the consortium has received funding through the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) for its 117 members to replace its shared Integrated Library System (ILS). An ILS is the backbone of library operations and used to manage circulation, acquisitions, and cataloging, as well as to generate the underlying data that drives library business decisions and reporting. OhioLINK will be able to leverage cooperative purchasing power and shared technical expertise using capital funds to cover the cost of the software and the migration process for its member institutions.
“Serving students’ higher education needs with systems and resources that will help them succeed and participate in Ohio’s knowledge economy requires big thinking,” said ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner. “Given OhioLINK’s history of success in tackling these sorts of statewide challenges, we know that they will find efficiencies of scale for a much better and more cost-effective solution than if each institution was left to address its ILS system on its own.”
The new ILS will improve the security and stability of the software on which libraries rely for day-to-day operations, provide functional improvements that reflect the tremendous shift in collections to online electronic resources, and support libraries’ expanded roles in teaching and learning.
“This ILS migration will allow OhioLINK to collaborate with an already strong and tight-knit community that understands how to work together for the success of all of our libraries,” said OhioLINK Executive Director Amy Pawlowski. “We look forward to working with our libraries’ leadership and staff to support the evolving needs of Ohio’s 800,000+ higher education students and 50,000 faculty members.”
Ken Burhanna, dean of Kent State University Libraries and chair of OhioLINK’s Library Advisory Council, will work closely with Pawlowski and OhioLINK staff to lead planning and implementation teams of deans, directors, and senior librarians from OhioLINK’s public, private, and two-year institutions.
Burhanna said, “This enterprise-level software will be critical to OhioLINK libraries’ ability to serve the students of Ohio over the next few decades. With this in mind, I look forward to a process that not only addresses current needs, but also anticipates future needs.”
OhioLINK library deans and directors have been considering the ILS marketplace for quite some time. In 2018, OhioLINK worked with Ithaka S+R and its membership to envision the “next-generation” ILS. The resulting 2020 white paper outlined four expectations for new ILS software. It would need to 1) be user- focused; 2) enable deeper collaboration for sharing print and electronic library resources; 3) offer better campus integration to support teaching and learning; and 4) facilitate business intelligence for data analysis and decision-making.
Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium. OhioLINK provides shared digital resources that support research, teaching, and learning through 117 libraries at 88 institutions of higher education and the State Library of Ohio. In addition, OhioLINK manages collaborative efforts aimed at reducing the cost of higher education for students. OhioLINK is a member of the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) within the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Learn more at OhioLINK.edu.