Heriot-Watt Information Services Leads Scottish Library Systems Procurement

Heriot-Watt University Information Services participates actively in relevant professional groups in Scotland and across the UK. The Scottish Confederation of University & Research Libraries (SCURL) has collaboratively procured electronic journals and books for many years, bringing negotiating expertise and economies of scale when dealing with publishers. This has enabled Scottish HEIs like Heriot-Watt to develop much richer online collections than any could afford individually.

Traditional library management systems such as Ex-Libris Voyager, currently used by HWU in Scotland and Malaysia, were designed primarily to manage the acquisition, cataloguing and circulation of physical books. In 2013-14 Information Services made 7 book loans per FTE student, compared with 130 online journal article downloads and 51 E-book section requests. Like other Scottish universities, we require a modern Library Management Platform which brings together all our resources on a single system, making them more manageable and accessible for all. Following investigatory work in 2013-2014, led by the Directors of IS at Stirling and HWU, SCURL is now working with the Scottish universities’ purchasing agency, APUC, to procure a common Library Management Platform for our sector.

Iain Young, Head of Resource & Facility Services in IS, chairs the SCURL working group managing this procurement and HWU is the primary vanguard institution. The tender process has begun and a ranked framework of selected products will be in place by December 2015. HWU will adopt the most suitable Library Management Platform from the framework and bring this into worldwide service for A/Y 2016-17. The new system will allow us to change the way in which many of our services are delivered and an internal project has begun to pave the way for this. We’ll update you on progress with this key enhancement throughout the coming year.

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