Name of presenters:

Ken Chad and Sebastian Hammer

About the presenters:

Ken Chad, Director; Ken Chad Consulting Ltd


LinkedIn profile:

ORCID ID: Research Gate profile:

Ken gained his Masters from the Information Science Department at City  University in London. He is also an alumnus of the Warwick University Business Innovation and Growth Programme. He worked as a librarian for a number of years and has over 20 years experience in the software business working in support, project management, implementation, sales and marketing.  His customers included a wide range of national, academic, research, college, public, corporate libraries in the UK and throughout the world. Prior to setting up his consulting business he was Executive Director and Board member at Talis and its (not-for-profit) parent BLCMP which was one of the UK’s oldest software businesses.

Ken set up his consulting business in 2007 to help make libraries more effective. His consulting activities include help with strategy, innovation, improving the user experience, reviewing/auditing library IT infrastructure and systems and the procurement of new and replacement systems. His work also encompasses ebooks, resource management and discovery, open and linked data, Open Access, repositories, archives and research data management. In addition he provides market intelligence and horizon scanning services for and about the information and library technology sector. His clients include businesses, individual libraries in all sectors as well as national bodies such as the Society of College, National and University Librarians (SCONUL)[1] and Jisc[2]. He is one of a small number of approved consultants on Jisc’s consulting framework for both scholarly communications and research management systems.

Ken has published papers and presented at major conferences around the world. He is a member (MCLIP) of CILIP, ALA and a main committee member of UKSG which “exists to connect the knowledge community and encourage the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication”. He set up and manages a number of free, open community resources including Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech), Local Government Library Technology (LGLibTech) and Open Specifications for Library Systems (LibTechRFP).

Sebastian Hammer, Founder and President of Index Data
Sebastian studied Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Copenhagen and has worked in library technology for 25 years, starting in a government agency, then in a private company. He founded Index Data in 1994 and cultivated its growth into a worldwide player respected for its work in standards-based solutions and for its commitment to Open  Source Software. He designed many of Index Data’s core systems, and is the senior liaison on key projects, as well as setting strategic direction for the company.  Direct contacts include national libraries and other government agencies, commercial companies, and universities throughout the US and Europe.  He occasionally speaks on the role that technology plays in the industry and is recognized as a seasoned expert in the field.
Intended audience:

Librarians, developers and technologists looking to reach beyond conventional library systems to help construct a genuine platform approach.


Are library systems doomed to remain behind the curve? As more and more business solutions move to cloud based ecosystems, library systems still seem lodged in the past. In functional terms, OSS library systems like Koha mimic many existing legacy proprietary approaches associated with monolithic, Integrated Library Systems. Thus, OSS collaborations to date have not yet realized their transformative potential.

At the same time, commercial library solutions have begun moving to what consultant Marshall Breeding termed ‘library services platforms (LSP), but vendors have not yet fully realised a true platform-based, interoperable library ecosystem. These early efforts in reality retain all of the traits of the monolithic systems of the past.

One key problem of these systems is that they do not work well with other systems, including library administrations systems from other vendors, or external systems that the library needs to interoperate with: Think financial systems, content vendors, etc. The resulting issues in the libraries range from librarians needlessly re-keying data from one system to another, to impeding collaboration between libraries.

A project is currently underway to develop a new open source library platform.

It is unlikely that any one application on its own could support all of the multi faceted functions that a library needs. Instead we need much better interoperability between a wide range of applications from a variety of developers and suppliers. One of the project goals is to allow mixing and matching of modules: For example, combining a reporting module and an acquisition module developed by different groups or vendors. Another goal is to keep the barriers to entry as low as possible for developer participation, including supporting many programming languages and platforms. The software includes library management services, and a platform to support integrating services across different vendors and different platforms.

The presenters will discuss the challenges faced, and how the new project seeks to address these issues.

[1] SCONUL represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland as well as national libraries and many of the UK’s colleges of higher education

[2] Jisc is UK higher, further education and skills sectors’ not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions.