The Landscape

Our review of the landscape is split in to five parts, which successively zoom in on library system before concluding with the overarching user perspective.

Throughout the study you will find selected references to key literature (deliberately not exhaustive) and illustrative ‘capsules’ that cross-reference our case studies and JISC projects.

The Change Challenge

The landscape review raises serious challenges for libraries and their systems. This toolkit contains two views of the ‘Change Challenge’ – a thought piece by Ken Chad on the battle of the library ecosystem and a compilation of views from UK HE library service directors, listing 30 challenges regarding the effectiveness of library systems?


A serious practical challenge arises in detailed specification of a Library Service Platform that has utility when it comes to integration within the institution and with external services, whether shared within the sector or global.

Our checklist of over 150 headline elements is categorised to assist such analysis. It is presented from three perspectives:

Real libraries 

However we recognise that many change challenges are too complex to be represented by ticks and crosses in a checklist or simple statements of “Satisfied” (or not) in an RFP response. We look to the experiences of the JISC pathfinder projects and problem area Case Studies from our collaboration group of academic libraries.

These studies seek to apply a range of ‘methods’ designed to facilitate thinking and discussion about the problem space – whether that is within the library team, with other institutional services or with vendors.

Tool Box

The methods illustrated in the Case Studies are introduced for your own use in the Methods Tool Box. Its contents will not solve your problems, but one or two of the methods may bring the clarity and support the analysis that makes the difference.

Navigating these resources

This web resource is designed to be navigated in a number of ways – from the links in this introduction or by taking the journey set out on the home page.

The resources are also heavily cross-referenced so you can navigate intuitively between landscape and example and between case study and method. The following diagram indicates these links.

Visual representation of site linkages