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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur May 31, 2013

The Nuts and Bolts of Migration to Open Source ILS: Experiences and Recommendations from Librarians

Vandana Singh
From the journal Libri


Interest in migrating to open source software integrated library systems (OSS ILS) is continually growing in libraries. Along with this interest, a lack of empirical research and evidence to compare ILS options brings a lot of anxiety to interested librarians. In this research, 20 librarians who have worked in libraries that migrated to open source ILS or are in the process of migrating were interviewed. The interviews focused on how the implementation and migration process is successfully completed. A lifecycle model of the OSS ILS migration process includes the following steps: testing the OSS ILS, preparing the data for migration, customizing and installing the system, and finally maintaining and updating the system. Throughout these steps, libraries train their staff members in technical support or rely on OSS ILS vendors to varying degrees to deal with problems as they arise. In this paper, the results from the interviews are generalized and presented to help librarians who want to research and/or adopt open source ILS. Librarians can find additional information at an online information portal created from this research at This study is limited in that it cannot generalize the experiences of all libraries and presents results and conclusions from individual institutions. One of this paper’s unique contributions is a detailed assessment of how libraries understand and cope with the continuing challenges of OSS ILS even after migration.

Published Online: 2013-05-31
Published in Print: 2013-06

© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.