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Open Source Systems and Shared Services: The BLMS Experience – A Case Study

Innovation in Libraries and Information Services

ISBN: 978-1-78560-731-8, eISBN: 978-1-78560-730-1

Publication date: 8 December 2016



This is a case study on the opportunities provided by Open Source library systems and the experience of delivering these systems through a shared service.


This chapter derives from desk research, interviews, and direct involvement in the project. The format is a case study, setting out a detailed timeline of events with information that can be applied in other settings.


This chapter presents reflections on the value and limitations of collaboration amongst libraries and librarians on an innovative approach to library systems and technologies. It also presents reflections on lessons learned from the processes and detailed discussion of the success factors for shared services and the reasons why such initiatives may not result in the outcomes predicted at the start.

Practical implications

Libraries and IT services considering Open Source and shared service approaches to provision will find material in this study useful when planning their projects.

Social implications

The nature of collaboration and collaborative working is studied and observations made about the way that outcomes cannot always be predicted or controlled. In a genuine collaboration, the outcome is determined by the interactions between the partners and is unique to the specifics of that collaboration.


The case study derives from interviews, written material and direct observation not generally in the public domain, providing a strong insider’s view of the activity.



Robinson, J. (2016), "Open Source Systems and Shared Services: The BLMS Experience – A Case Study", Innovation in Libraries and Information Services (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 35), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 135-225.



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