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Aleph Receives a First from Oxford


Robert Bley, Managing Director, Ex Libris UK

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford (previously known as Oxford University Library Services) recently expanded their suite of Ex Libris solutions by selecting the Aleph® integrated library system (ILS), replacing their GEAC Advance system. The Bodleian Libraries have worked in partnership with Ex Libris since 2007 and are running the Primo® discovery and delivery solution, the SFX® OpenURL link resolver, and the MetaLib® gateway and metasearch solution.

The efficient, sophisticated tools and workflow support provided by Aleph will enable the Bodleian Libraries to meet the rapidly changing needs of the university’s vast research community. Staff members will make full use of Aleph’s built-in tools to configure the system to support Oxford’s complex library organization, policies, and workflows. The flexibility to build a library system that corresponds to the university’s unique needs proved a major factor in its selection of Aleph.

“Following our research into a new ILS for the Bodleian Libraries, we concluded that only Aleph could deliver the robust functionality that we required, in conjunction with the sophistication to deal with the devolved federal structure of our collegiate library system,” Dr. Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, explained. “The proven ability of Ex Libris to deliver large projects on schedule and on budget was a further decisive factor for us. Having worked closely with Ex Libris for several years, we felt that our vision for the future is aligned with the Company’s long-term strategy,” Dr. Thomas added.

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford form the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. They include the principal university library—the Bodleian Library—which has been a library of legal deposit for 400 years; major research libraries; and libraries attached to faculties, departments, and other institutions of the university. The combined library collections number more than 11 million printed items, in addition to 30,000 e-journals and vast quantities of materials in other formats.

The Bodleian Libraries plan to fully integrate Aleph with Primo to deliver seamless access to the libraries’ extensive collections. The SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) one-stop search and delivery solution, powered by Primo, went live at Oxford in 2008 and has paved the way for exciting new projects such as the implementation of Aleph across the university’s many libraries. With this online integrated search service, users can access the library’s major information resources, regardless of type, format, or location, and receive enriched results quickly.

Dr. Thomas attributes SOLO’s success with library staff and end users to the sophisticated search technology and ease of use of Primo: “The Bodleian Libraries have vast and complex collections of e-resources and printed material. Thanks to Primo, SOLO brings all our collections together at the user’s fingertips and offers a completely new approach to browsing our resources. It is a powerful tool which makes our collections even more accessible to users worldwide.”

Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library (left), with Robert Bley of Ex Libris