About BLMS

About BLMS and OLE at SOAS

The traditional LMS model in which most functions are managed within the Library on a suite of locally-controlled systems is being challenged by new initiatives such as shared bibliographic data (e.g. OCLC WorldCat, shared resource discovery systems (e.g. Primo Central, Zetoc, Jisc Discovery), union catalogues (e.g. Copac, SUNCAT), federated catalogues (e.g. Archives Hub), shared resource-management (e.g. Knowledge Base +). What is the scope of a 21stC LMS? How much must remain locally-controlled, how much can be shared, how much can simply be accessed from other online systems?

Sharing in this sense goes beyond the hosting and support of the systems, leading to increased opportunities for interoperability between libraries in an environment where there is already a high-level of interaction e.g. through inter-library loans, visitor schemes and extended borrowing rights, in many cases mediated by national and local agreements such as SCONUL Access, RLUK, University of London, M25 consortium. Significant sharing of materials is also becoming a major factor, through initiatives such as EthOS (for theses), the UKRR (for serials) and (potentially) a Research Reserve for monographs.

Against this background of technological and organisational change, the Libraries of the five Bloomsbury Colleges and Senate House Libraries  formed a consortium in 2012 to investigate the feasibility of operating LMS as a shared-service.

This major project followed a vision to deliver a new set of services based on open source systems i.e. Kuali Open Library Environment with a VuFind Discovery top layer. The service model will be expandable and extensible to other partners.

OLE was configured by SOAS as the lead institution, and was implemented in a phased rollout during 2014/15, going live in April 2015.

VuFind had been in operation at Birkbeck since 2012, was implemented at SOAS in October 2014 and was used (for a time) at Senate House. Users have welcomed the friendliness and ease of the interface, whilst libraries have welcomed the speed and ease of developing it to suit needs.

More information

If you would like more information, please contact

John Robinson
Director of Library & Information Services
SOAS, University of London
j.robinson@soas.ac.uk