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Adoption of Japan’s First Open Source Library System in a Research Institute

Start of Joint Development of Next-generation Library System

National Institute for Materials Science

The Scientific Information Office of the NIMS and the Next-generation Library Systems, LLC. agreed to begin joint development of a next-generation library system which is suitable for practical use with a specialized library and provides advanced features.

Abstract

The Scientific Information Office (Director: Mikiko Tanifuji) of the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda) and the Next-generation Library Systems, LLC. (Limited Liability Company; Representative: Kazuo Nishino) agreed to begin joint development of a next-generation library system which is suitable for practical use with a specialized library and provides advanced features. The open source software Enju,1) which is applicable to international standard formats, was adopted under this agreement. By customizing Enju, (i) while continuing to focus the necessary library management functions, (ii) electronic documentary resources, including e-journals, e-books, and e-handbooks, and scientific information available on the internet will be controlled in an integrated manner, and (iii) a federated next-generation system will be developed in an electronic research environment including an institutional repository by self-archiving. The target for startup of the system is January 2011.

NIMS operates a dedicated materials science library, centering on a collection of approximately 70,000 volumes from its predecessor organizations, the National Research Institute for Metals and the National Institute for Research in Inorganic Metals, approximately 700 titles of e-journals, and 1000 e-books, e-handbooks, etc. With the progressive introduction of a wide range of e-journals and e-books, the majority of new acquisitions are in electronic form. As NIMS is also digitizing its research results, comprehensive document management applicable to both digitized scientific information resources and print editions, an easy-to-use environment, and efficient operation which does not increase personnel costs are urgent issues.
In addition, in order to provide stress-free library services for non-Japanese researchers, who now account for almost 20% of the NIMS staff, and visiting researchers who are accustomed to world-standard library functions, a more sophisticated software package with international capabilities has become necessary.

Annual price increases for electronic journals, databases, and infrastructure improvements, which are the main items in a library budget, represent a large increase in cost burden for libraries which are under pressure to reduce operating costs, and make it difficult to maintain quality and modernize the infrastructure of the research environment.
To address these issues, NIMS adopted the open source library management system Enju and is carrying out joint development of a next-generation library system in cooperation with the Next-generation Library Systems. Adoption of open source software aims not only at holding down the cost of system investment, but also implementing a next-generation system with is easy to use for both library users (researchers) and the library staff by joint design of the system by researchers and librarians. The results of this joint development will also be applicable to other institutions facing similar problems.

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