WHELF meeting minutes summary

WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) meeting July 15th 2014: summary of minutes

WHELF met via videoconference between Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Wrexham.

Present: Aled Gruffydd Jones (Chair), NLW; Emma Adamson, Cardiff Metropolitan; Judith Agus, RWCMD; Ann Cross, University of South Wales; Ann Davies, OU; Alison Harding, UWTSD: Carmarthen & Lampeter; Julie Hart, Aberystwyth; Anne Harvey, UWTSD: Swansea,; Mark Hughes, Swansea; Paul Jeorrett, Glyndŵr; Mark Lester, Uof W; Janet Peters, Cardiff; Rachael Whitfield, WHELF Development Officer.

Along with regular standing WHELF agenda items (i.e. the WHELF Action Plan, updates from WHELF sub-groups, information sharing via members’ attendance at conferences, meetings and Sconul groups) WHELF discussed the following topics:

Consultation on the 2014-2020 Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme

WHELF has drafted a response to this Welsh Government consultation. A few additions/amendments to the draft document were suggested by the group including working to resolve IP (Intellectual Property) issues when universities and SMEs or other commercial organisations wish to work in partnership and developing a single research repository themed around Celtic connections. The information regarding the WHELF Shared LMS project should also be elaborated on to mention that it could potentially be a model for other countries. The potential for WHELF to collaborate with CONUL on the programme was also raised, the WHELF Development Officer will contact CONUL to raise awareness that WHELF is responding to this consultation and invite a member of CONUL to attend a future WHELF meeting.

The WHELF Archives &Special Collections sub-group have also been contacted to ask for their response on the Priority Axis 3 Natural and Cultural Resources Heritage.

The final draft response will be circulated to WHELF Reps for agreement prior to submission on 30th July 2014.

WHELF Survey of access schemes in Wales

As part of the WHELF Action Plan, a survey had been prepared and circulated to WHELF members. There had been 8 respondents and the feedback very useful. Ways to use the results were discussed including preparing a report for the WHELF blog and publicising the results in this year’s annual report.

Rationalising the range of schemes on offer was discussed including whether the schemes should be condensed into a WHELF access scheme to replace or reduce the number of schemes available and a small working group of WHELF Reps and will now meet to discuss the various existing schemes and map to see where the gaps are, particularly in terms of reciprocal borrowing.

Retirement of Judith Agus

This was the last meeting for Judith Agus (Librarian, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) as she will be retiring at the end of the summer. We bid farewell and many thanks to Judith for her support of WHELF over the years and wished her well in her retirement.

Date of next meeting

9th & 10th October 2014 at Gregynog


The main WHELF meeting was followed by a meeting of the WHELF Shared LMS Steering Group with an update from Gareth Owen (WHELF Shared LMS Project Manager). The participating consortium institutions are:

  • Aberystwyth University
  • Bangor University
  • Cardiff University (and NHS Libraries in Wales)
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Library of Wales
  • Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
  • Swansea University
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Wales Trinity St David

The WHELF Shared LMS project is entering the final stage of the tender process, with the top 3 ranking suppliers from the ITT stage to be evaluated through reference site visits and supplier presentations over the course of the summer. The supplier ranking in first place on completion of this stage of the tender process will be recommended to the WHELF Shared LMS Working Group to be awarded the contract.

The WHELF Shared LMS project was established to procure, as part of a consortium of institutions including all higher education institutions in Wales, the National Library of Wales and the NHS libraries in Wales, a cloud hosted next generation library management system.

It is anticipated that the WHELF Shared LMS will bring benefits to participating institutions. These benefits are financial and non-financial.


  1. The project is expected to deliver cost savings, through:
  • Sharing the cost of the EU procurement (e.g. programme manager post is funded by a grant from Welsh Government and contributions from all consortium partners)
  • Suppliers have indicated that there will be a discount for buying a system as part of a consortium
  • Reduced hardware costs through operating a cloud hosted system
  • Long-term potential to share collection development and services


  1. The project is expected to deliver improved user experience, through:
  • Potential to search across collections of participating institutions in Wales from a single point of entry
  • Fewer system outages from using a more resilient cloud-hosted system
  • Improved workflows leading to service improvements
  • Enabling opportunities for further collaboration through use of the shared system, which could include
    • reciprocal arrangements for borrowing and licence management
    • shared management information and real-time analytics leading to improved service delivery

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