UMass Amherst Libraries and the Five College Consortium announce the adoption of FOLIO, an open-source library services platform, which will begin operation throughout the Five College Libraries later this month.
UMass Amherst librarians, along with our Five College partners, are among the first set of early adopters—and adapters. The Five College Consortium worked with EBSCO, one of the largest providers of digital library content in the world, to develop and beta test the implementation and hosting services for FOLIO. Orchestrated by the Open Library Environment (OLE), FOLIO is a global library collaboration community focused on open solutions for libraries.
FOLIO, which stands for "the Future Of Libraries Is Open," is the result of a collaboration of libraries, developers, and vendors who have built a platform to support traditional resource management functionality, to be extended into other functions.
In the past, libraries like UMass Amherst made use of numerous non-integrated products to keep bibliographic data up to date throughout a network of systems and in shared catalogs such as the Five Colleges library catalog. UMass, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, Smith and Amherst colleges share both print and e-resources but purchase digital materials separately. To be shared across the consortium, an item's data had to be entered in multiple places, which was time-consuming and left room for error.
While users of the library's website and search engines won't notice much difference, FOLIO delivers a net improvement for the user by delivering more accurate results, and to the library staff user experience, allowing for ease in managing data and finances.
"Our investment in FOLIO aligns with our mission, values, and strategy, moving toward openness in research and discovery, and community-driven development and collective governance in libraries and consortia," says Sarah Hutton, interim Dean of Libraries for 2021-2022, during which time much of the FOLIO implementation work occurred. "We are honored to be part of a global community working to make information access more equitable by helping create an open, community-developed platform."
The migration to FOLIO has been made possible by dedicated staff who built this over four years and hundreds of hours, and due to the commitment from 5C library leadership. It's a developing product, so the Five College Libraries will reap additional benefits with features rolled out in subsequent releases.
"We developed wholly new functions specifically for library consortia in FOLIO," says Kat Berry, head of Information Resources Management. "So our work will benefit other library consortia all around the globe who can adopt features developed and tested by our team members."