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Bangor University went live with Ex-Libris Alma and Primo on 25 August, completing the implementation cycle for all of the 11 Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) Shared Library Management System (LMS) institutions.  The first to go live was Swansea University in June 2015. The period since then has been marked by intense and focussed work on the part of all of the WHELF implementation teams and Ex-Libris in order to migrate from 6 legacy systems to a single shared cloud hosted system.

The 9 universities of Wales (Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff  Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Swansea University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Wrexham Glyndŵr University), together with the NHS libraries in Wales and the National Library of Wales now share the same library management system and discovery interface. This provides a platform for building deeper and wider collaboration and for further work in opening up and sharing our collections for the benefit of all.

Sue Hodges, Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University and Chair of WHELF stated: “This is a remarkable achievement, which demonstrates the trust, commitment, vision and strength of collaboration within WHELF.  I would like to thank all of the WHELF institutions and Ex-Libris for their fantastic efforts and hard work in delivering the implementation and roll-out of the system on time and to extremely challenging deadlines. I look forward to further opportunities based on this ground-breaking shared platform”.

The WHELF Shared LMS has already delivered major benefits to the participating institutions, including a consortial discount, other cost benefits and a fully bilingual interface for staff and users.  Students and other users will benefit immensely from this type of next generation LMS which provides easier access to all resources for teaching, learning and research. All resources including library owned, open access, licensed and externally hosted resources can be accessed via a one-stop interface or search for both digital and print resources.  We also have a unique opportunity to work more closely with other Welsh libraries for the benefit of everyone including procuring shared content and sharing collections and services. Robert Bley, Managing Director of Ex Libris, UK stated “Ex Libris is excited to enter this new phase in our relationship with WHELF. With the implementation process completed as scheduled, we look forward to working with WHELF on the next phase of broadening and deepening collaboration opportunities within the consortium, for the benefit of students and researchers across Wales”.

The project will provide a model business case for the development of a shared LMS across a consortium of HEIs and a summary of the key requirements and issues to consider for implementing a shared system and the key benefits and impacts of doing so. WHELF is now actively working with Jisc on a benefits realisation study, which will report in 2017.  For the future WHELF is now committed to building on this initiative, enabling more benefits and to sharing its work with the wider community. ”

We will be celebrating the successful implementation of the WHELF Shared LMS at the ‘Celebrating Library Collaboration’ event to be held at the Senedd on 22nd September, hosted by Julie James AM and alongside colleagues from across the library sectors in Wales.