August 26, 2020. Project ReShare announces the release of ReShare Returnables 1.0, the first production software to come out of the open source, collaborative community. The Returnables software represents the first step in ReShare's goal of creating a consortial resource sharing system that will enable sharing of the collective collection in all formats, regardless of integrated library system, and empowering library-driven and user centered workflows.
ReShare Returnables supports interlibrary loan of physical materials between members of a consortium. The software, built using the open source FOLIO platform, uses an app-based approach to resource sharing workflows. The apps that make up the 1.0 release include a member directory, queues to manage requesting and supplying workflows, and a bulk update tool. A shared inventory app allows ReShare libraries to pool their bibliographic metadata for discovery and fulfillment purposes. More information about the Returnables product and a video demonstration can be found at https://projectreshare.org/products/returnables.
"As libraries face increasing pressure to share resources, the release of ReShare Returnables 1.0 represents a huge step forward in transforming the library resource sharing marketplace," said ReShare Steering Committee Chair Jill Morris. "For many years, commercially available options have struggled to keep pace with libraries' and users' expectations. ReShare's open source nature empowers groups of libraries to innovate and collaborate toward building truly collective collections, with the ability to share our disparate holdings and materials in a cost-controlled, system-agnostic, and user-centric way."
Development of ReShare Returnables has been focused on standards compliance and interoperability. The software is the first consortial implementation of the ISO 18626 protocol for interlibrary loan transactions, and use of this standard positions the ReShare system for seamless communication with other protocol-compliant systems. ReShare Returnables also takes advantage of the NCIP and Z39.50 standards supported by many local library management systems to create local integrations and reduce duplicate workflows.
ReShare Returnables integrates with the VuFind discovery tool for an out-of-the-box consortial search experience for library users. ReShare users will also have the option to ingest metadata from the shared inventory into their existing commercial or local discovery environments, allowing them to offer users a single point of access for library and consortial requests.
"This is a tremendously exciting milestone," said Sebastian Hammer, co-founder of Index Data, the lead software developers on the project. "Project ReShare breaks new ground in so many different areas: in its modular architecture; in its strong commitment to open standards and breaking down boundaries between consortia and platforms; and, most importantly, in its nature as a community-owned good. I believe that Project ReShare should inspire other groups of libraries and vendors to innovate together. It has been a privilege to be a citizen in the community so far, and we can't wait to see what comes next."
With the 1.0 release completed, the ReShare development team will continue to work on Returnables functionality, with the goal of releasing versions 1.1 and 1.2 in October 2020 and January 2021, respectively. As a member of the Controlled Digital Lending Implementers (CDLI) group, ReShare has begun concurrent development of a minimal viable product to support controlled digital lending within the ReShare platform, expected in late fall 2020.
The ReShare Community is a group of libraries, consortia, information organizations and developers, with both commercial and non-commercial interests, who came together in 2018 to create Project ReShare – a new and open approach to library resource sharing. The ReShare Community has a bold vision for building a user-centered, app-based, community-owned resource sharing platform for libraries to set a new standard for how we connect library patrons to the resources and information they require.