Work has started to develop a shared library IT system across higher education institutions in Scotland and Wales.
This will aim to provide students with access to information hosted at institutions across the country - opening up a wealth of teaching and learning materials. There will also be cost saving opportunities.
The project has been made possible thanks to initial funding and support from the charity Jisc.
Mark Toole, director of information services at the University of Stirling, has been heavily involved in the project. He said: “In Scotland, current Government policy is encouraging universities to work together, often through grant bids, to maximise overall research outcomes and impact. So the development of this type of national IT service has a lot of support and goodwill behind it.
“We are grateful to Jisc for funding the initial investigations into this work and for supplying us with many tools that we can bring together and build on when we start to look at implementation, such as KnowledgeBase+. It is going to be challenging to ensure that we deliver a service that meets user needs, but the potential is there for a shared service to bring great benefits to all involved.”
Ben Showers, programme manager at Jisc, explains: “The collaboration on the development of library systems and services in Scotland and Wales has the potential to transform the experience of students and researchers who attend university in these countries. It is easy to imagine the possibilities - seamless access to a wide range of content and resources, through to innovative services built on top of this new infrastructure such as powerful recommendation engines and integration with teaching and learning systems.
“By collaborating on the essential infrastructure these universities are creating the resources and space that will enable them to develop the future services and systems that their students and researchers will need.”