After much research and deliberation, the Caltech Library is excited to announce we will adopt the FOLIO Library Services Platform (LSP) for use starting in the fall 2021 term. The open-source FOLIO platform will be hosted by EBSCO Information Services, the leading provider of discovery services, databases, and other information resources and services for libraries worldwide. EBSCO contributes substantially to the technical development of FOLIO software and offers FOLIO hosting and data management services.
The Library's LSP Evaluation Team strongly supported FOLIO, which stands for the Future of Libraries Is Open, as our new platform. "FOLIO is the product of an open-source community that includes both vendors and libraries. Open-source software development is a natural fit for the Caltech spirit of innovation and open, reproducible science." A contributing factor to the Library's decision was the fact that "the FOLIO project is powered by libraries whose adoption of the system means they are extremely invested in solving problems with its day-to-day operations."
Users will have unified access to the Library's print and digital collections (e-books, e-journals, databases) through the newly designed Discovery Service from EBSCO. The Library will be engaging with the Caltech community during the configuration and testing of this new service.
University Librarian Kara Whatley was instrumental in the decision to move to a new LSP. She explains, "I think being new to the Caltech Library allowed me to ask questions and consider the answers with a fresh perspective. So, soon after I joined Caltech as University Librarian, I realized that we had some challenges with our current information access systems. I asked a team of staff from across the Library to create a list of ‘blue sky' requirements for an integrated library system (ILS) or a library services platform (LSP) to meet the needs of our users and our staff. Armed with that list of requirements, the team then began a careful review of offerings in this arena. It soon became clear to the team and to me that FOLIO via EBSCO would be the best fit for users, our staff workflows, and our Library culture."
A Library Services Platform is much more than a traditional library catalog. FOLIO will allow the Library to integrate management of and access to both physical and licensed collections for the first time. There is also potential for more integrated access to other library collections of research outputs (such as CaltechAUTHORS and CaltechDATA) and Caltech Archives and Special Collections. Stephen Davison, Head of Digital Library Development, points out, "Two aspects of FOLIO are particularly attractive. It's an open source project, and the software is highly modular. This gives us a wide range of integration possibilities in the future, with other products and platform providers, and with software we develop ourselves."
The Library already has a solid relationship with EBSCO and thinks highly of the support they've offered through the years we've worked with them. Several of EBSCO's support staff are now involved with FOLIO's development and implementation so, as Kara Whatley explains, we're in good hands. "We've worked with EBSCO for a number of years, relying on tools such as Full Text Finder and EDS to power our discovery services, and I could not be more excited about deepening our partnership with them by adopting FOLIO."
The LSP Evaluation Team was unanimous in choosing FOLIO as a good fit for the Library, noting advantages such as its e-resource management and its ability to integrate with applications. The Team's comprehensive report states, "We believe that adoption of FOLIO will provide us with the potential to achieve efficient integration of our various Library services, as well as providing us with the ability to be creative to the degree that is appropriate for our size and standing. The hosting and other services provided by EBSCO bring us all the benefits of a closed vendor-built system, without being locked in."
About Caltech Library
The Caltech Library partners with faculty, students, and staff across the Institute in the creation, dissemination, and discovery of knowledge. To advance the Institute's mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education, the Library catalyzes information discovery and sharing while functioning as a center for scholarship and innovation. The Caltech Library provides students, faculty, and staff with access to collections and repositories, research and instruction support, publication services, and preservation of data and archival materials: www.library.caltech.edu.
FOLIO is a collaborative effort among libraries, vendors, developers and consortia that leverages open-source technology and a community-based effort to redefine library services and innovate based on library futures. By building on what libraries need and by leveraging library expertise as well as vendor capacity and velocity, FOLIO is designed to move libraries forward, build on the services they provide and redefine the role libraries play within their institution. FOLIO also levels the playing field and makes open-source technology available to all institutions regardless of size or staffing. FOLIO brings vendors together to innovate and host services for customers and introduces open source as a service to libraries. To sign up to participate or receive more information, go to www.folio.org.
About EBSCO Information Services
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is the preeminent provider of online research content and search technologies serving academic, school and public libraries; healthcare and medical institutions; corporations; and government agencies around the world. From research, acquisition management, subscription services and discovery to clinical decision support and patient care, learning, and research and development, EBSCO provides institutions with access to content and resources to serve the information and workflow needs of their users and organizations. EBSCO Information Services is a division of EBSCO Industries, Inc., a family-owned company since 1944. For more information, visit the EBSCO website at www.ebsco.com.