WHELF is pleased to announce the publication of “Evaluating the benefits of the WHELF consortial approach to a library management system”.

Funded by Jisc, Cambridge Econometrics was commissioned by the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) to carry out an independent evaluation of the project to procure and implement a shared library management system across the 9 universities in Wales, together with the National Library of Wales and the libraries of the NHS in Wales.  This report provides an authoritative and independent framework for identifying and reporting the benefits achieved.

The report is supplemented with three excellent case studies from Cardiff University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the National Library of Wales.

Emma Adamson, Chair of WHELF and Director of Learning Services at the University of South Wales welcomed the report and case studies:

‘The benefits of sharing, as revealed by the Cambridge Econometrics report into the WHELF Wales-wide LMS implementation of the Ex Libris Alma and Primo systems, clearly and independently evidences the significant value and gains that are achieved through collaboration: whether these be economic, increasing innovation or developing more effective and efficient ways of working together.

On behalf of WHELF we thank JISC, Cambridge Econometrics and Ex Libris for their support in assisting with the commission of this important study on the benefits of sharing. I would also like to thank all 600 Library staff and colleagues, from across WHELF institutions, who contributed to the Wales-wide LMS implementation. They have worked collaboratively to help us truly realise the benefits of sharing the collections of WHELF: for the benefit of learners and researchers everywhere.’

The report and case studies highlight the range of benefits achieved by WHELF including:

  • lower supplier costs – £226,000 achieved in 2015-17
  • lower procurement costs- £55, 000 achieved
  • a high quality and high specification system for all participating institutions
  • a fully bilingual front and back-end interface enabling staff and users to access the system in both official languages of Wales
  • shared expertise to develop functionality, training and enhancements
  • better integration with other IT systems
  • greater flexibility of interfaces through the provision of a cloud based system
  • up to date reporting and analytics tools to streamline workflows
  • a common platform on which to deliver more benefits, including through consistent cataloguing standards and reciprocal borrowing

Chris Keene, Head of Library and Scholarly Futures at Jisc, commented:  “Jisc was pleased to support the independent report into the WHELF shared LMS – a project which Jisc supported at its outset through a feasibility study in 2012.  This benefits report not only demonstrates the clear value that can be achieved through collaborating but also provides a legacy, through the methodology employed, for other library services to adopt”

Graham Hay of Cambridge Econometrics stated that “quantitative approaches to evaluating the impact of implementing a LMS under a collaborative approach are relatively underdeveloped. By providing a structured framework for identifying the impacts of migrating to a new LMS through a consortial approach and a feasible method for quantifying them, this report is a novel addition to the existing research in this domain. The approach presented in the report provides a set of tools and frameworks that HE institutions can customise to suit their circumstance.’ Furthermore, the approach can be refined as more and better information becomes available over time, thereby allowing it to evolve and remain applicable in future.”

The report can be accessed here

Contact details:

WHELF: Gareth Owen, Programme Manager Shared LMS, oweng12@cardiff.ac.uk, Tel: 02922510189

Jisc: Chris Keene, Head of Library and Scholarly Futures, chris.keene@jisc.ac.uk, 0203 006 6047

Cambridge Econometrics: Graham Hay, Associate Director, CE, gh@camecon.com, Tel: 01223 533100