Curious about FOLIO?

Chalmers Library is planning to migrate to a brand new, actually not yet existing, library services platform called FOLIO. Partnering with EBSCO, we will be the earliest adopter, going live with the first version in 2019. Here I will try to outline the foundations of FOLIO, no previous knowledge required.

A new library system built from scratch

Photo of thinking woman with FOLIO pen behind the ear.
We want a potent library system that meets our requirements today and can adapt to future needs.

The philosophy behind FOLIO is to build what libraries need, with a modern and flexible infrastructure and a well-thought-out design for a good user experience. Well, of course, that is what every library system company would say, but in this case librarians are involved from start to end. And there is no company who owns the system.

One basic idea is the concept of ”apps”, i.e. pieces of functionality. None of these apps should be too large and each could easily be replaced by another app if needed. The technique behind this is called micro services and the intention is that selected apps will serve as one system.

FOLIO will be handling both print and electronic resources and related library tasks. In the core setup, there will be apps for knowledgebase(s) including link resolver activation, licenses and other workflows for e-resources, as well as metadata management and circulation of print books.

Screenshot of FOLIO apps

Later on, anyone who wishes can extend their installation of FOLIO with additional functionality or replace parts of the system with apps they would rather use. For example, a consortium may prefer a more extensive app to handle finances than a small library who prefers simplicity. Or you may feel the need to build an app to integrate with your home grown inter library loan system or institutional repository.

The user interface is a for librarians only. There will be no OPAC among the core apps, instead the user has to find the material in a discovery system who will call FOLIO to display loan status, make requests etc. EBSCO discovery system (EDS) as well as some open source discovery systems are currently working with FOLIO integration.

Who is developing FOLIO?

FOLIO is an acronym for The Future of Libraries is Open. It may sound a bit fishy, but the basic idea is that the source code is open for anyone to use and to build upon. Also, anyone can install FOLIO locally, free of charge.

FOLIO is being developed as a collaboration within the non-profit open source promoting organization Open Library Foundation (OLF). In OLF, The Open Library Environment (OLE) coordinates the work together with EBSCO information services, the Danish software development company Index Data and several other teams.

Computer screen showing web meeting text
Librarians work together with product owners at online meetings. There are Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for metadata management, accessibility, reporting, and many more.

As a community driven project, engaged librarians are working in together with product owners to determine which functionality the apps should encompass, how the workflows should behave and to test the user experience. The work is completely transparent and anyone can join.

However, the tempo would not be this high without the involvement of commercial companies who are investing heavily with dedicated teams of developers. EBSCO, ByWater, SirsiDynix, Index Data and others are planning to sell hosted environments and support services as well as endeavouring to integrate with existing library systems components. To make FOLIO a success is of course vital for these companies.

Further on, the idea is that a flora of libraries and companies will make and offer new apps with extended functionality. It’s up to the developer to decide weather the app should be free of charge or not.

Is any library using FOLIO?

No, not yet. But Chalmers Library is intending to go live with FOLIO as the very first library, soon, really soon.

So why on earth are we planning to leave established library systems to embark on this project? Well, that’s another blog post…

Want to learn more? – the starting point.

The FOLIO wiki – The node for the special interest groups and, well, essentially everything. For example, have a look at some app ideas or The Codex vision which is currently being discussed within the community. Go to the bottom of the page to learn how to join a SIG.

FOLIO UX – demos of the design work and vision.

FOLIO demo site – the latest stable version. Login with diku_admin / admin

At Open Library Forum on You Tube you will find several presentations. For example, this recent roadmap update which also covers the basics about FOLIO and shows how features are prioritized.

Previous blog posts about FOLIO

/Marie Widigson & the FOLIO team at Chalmers

A year closer to FOLIO

As the winter holidays draw close, so does the end of Chalmers’ first year of working hands-on as EBSCO’s beta partner within the FOLIO project. We started off 2018 with a workshop where my colleagues at Chalmers and I, together with Theodor, our FOLIO implementation consultant from EBSCO, first started discussing our hopes and goals for FOLIO and the future. While the spring that followed was primarily dedicated to going from Summon to EDS and to exploring and setting up our FOLIO alpha environment, and summer introduced us (and other “early implementers” of FOLIO) to the wonderful world of feature ranking for development, the autumn semester saw us focusing more intensely on future data flows between systems, circulation functionality in FOLIO, and e-resource management.

Sharing bibliographic metadata

For the past months, we’ve put a lot of work into planning and preparing the flow of bibliographic metadata between Swedish union catalog LIBRIS, FOLIO, other metadata sources, and EDS. One thing that we knew early on is that, from now on, we want to do all our print cataloging in LIBRIS. Using LIBRIS to its fullest lets us take advantage of other libraries’ cataloging and subject expertise, while sharing our own expertise with the rest of the LIBRIS community and to the world – and we are of course looking forward to exploring the possibilities created by LIBRIS’ transition to linked data together with the fact FOLIO is not based on the MARC format. We also knew that we do not want to duplicate data, that we want to automate the data flows between the systems as much as possible, and that we need to differentiate between data used for circulation and data used for discovery.


Looking at a patron record in Chalmers’ FOLIO environment before a meeting with LIBRIS. The hat behind the coffee cup was purchased in Durham, NC, where I attended a FOLIO conference in May. Read more about the conference in this blog post.

One of the exciting activities that was born from this was a hackathon where some of our own developers, our FOLIO implementation consultant, my systems librarian colleague Siska, and I, worked together to create an OAI-PMH client that would automate the flow of metadata between LIBRIS and FOLIO, and convert the incoming data from the format provided by LIBRIS to the FOLIO Inventory format. We found that the hackathon format has suited us especially well in this project.  First of all, the developers get direct real-time input on what the tool they’re building needs to do from the end-users (librarians, in this case). Secondly, it’s a great opportunity for systems librarians who do not have a background in programming to pick up some of the knowledge, practical experience, vocabulary and confidence needed to understand, talk about and work with our systems and data on a deeper level.


Systems librarians, electronic resource librarians and developers hard at work at our first hackathon, held in spring, where we built an interim solution for displaying Terms of use (as we we lost that service going from Summon to EDS).

What we (need FOLIO to) do

We have also spent countless hours trying to figure out what it actually is that we need from FOLIO: which functionality is necessary, which workflows have to be supported, what makes an interface easy to work with. As the library set to implement FOLIO first, we have a great opportunity to make our voice heard and contribute with our knowledge and vision. In this, we’ve had assistance from several people from EBSCO and the FOLIO community, who’ve walked us through existing and planned FOLIO functionality in order to help us understand how it supports our current and desired workflows. In November, we welcomed three product owners from FOLIO with whom we had great discussions about circulation, acquisitions and ERM.

Our feedback, both to the FOLIO community when reviewing planned features and to ourselves when looking at our own current workflows, has often boiled down to one thing: make it simpler. This owes in part to the modest size of our library, in part to philosophy.

A few weeks later, we had a visit from one of the American EBSCO implementation consultants who helped us get started writing manual tests based on our own workflows. That is something we look forward to sinking our teeth further into this coming spring. Writing and carrying out these tests will, besides letting us find bugs and gaps for the FOLIO developers to fix, provide an opportunity for us at Chalmers to try out our workflows in FOLIO and to get acquainted with the system before we go live.20181219_141722So there we are. From that first workshop in January where we were just starting to figure out our part in the FOLIO project and the potential FOLIO holds for us, through a fairly harmonious implementation of EDS, great encounters and conversations with the FOLIO community, countless discussions of our feature requirements, and some interesting discoveries made while cleaning our catalog data, we have had an intense, challenging and exciting year.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

/Lisa Sjögren & the FOLIO team at Chalmers


2013 från ett systemutvecklarperspektiv

En liten summering av året 2013 på Chalmers bibliotek ur ett systemutvecklarperskpektiv.  Vi hann med en hel del förra året

Ny webb

Vår nya webb var både det största och viktigaste vi gjorde under 2013. Men den har vi pratat och skrivit en hel del om redan så det får vara bra så.

Nya sökdatorer

En lösning för sökdatorer har tagits fram i sammarbete med Chalmers IT-Service. Målet var att försöka använda så mycket standardprodukter som möjligt, vilket i vårt fall innebär hårdvara från Dell (Optiplex 9010 AIO) och Windows 7 installerat med Altiris. Den stora fördelen med denna lösning är att sökdatorerna inte är några främmande fåglar, vi kan dra nytta av av den befintliga kunskapen och infrastrukturen som finns för att hantera Windows-datorer. Tyvärr hann vi inte riktigt i mål innan jul och sökdatorerna befinner sig fortfarande i test.terminal-liten


Några veckor ägnades åt utveckling inom bibliometeri-området. Resultatet av av vårt arbete blev en mer automatiserad process för att matcha publikationer i vår publikationsdatabas mot Web of Science, verktyg för att höja datakvaliten i vår bibliometeridatabas samt ett par små steg mot att få in bibliometridata i Chalmers beslutsstödsystem.

Skapa Orcids åt anställda

Tillsammans med Chalmers IT-Service som har hand om de centrala systemen utvecklade vi en lösning för att underlätta för anställda och studenter att skaffa sig ett Orcid som är associerat med Chalmers. Den skapade identiteten lagras även i Chalmers centrala persondatabas så det är tillgängligt för de övriga systemen.

ADFS-inloggning i EZproxy

En ny version av EZproxy gjorde det möjligt för oss att på ett enkelt sätt utnyttja Chalmers Single-Sign-On system, ADFS – Active Directory Federation Services, för att autenticera våra användare i proxy-servern för digitala resurser. Den gamla autenticeringsmetoden med personnummer och lånekort finns fortfarande kvar.

Vi passade även på att förnya utseendet på proxy-sidorna så de går mer i linje med vår webb. Precis som på vår webb använder vi oss av ramverket Bootstrap för att sköta layout och göra sidan responsiv.


ADFS-inloggning till grupprumsbokningen

Grupprumsbokningarna ligger i systemet MRBS. Tidigare så använde systemet en egen databas för autenticering som baserades på lånekort och personnummer. Med ADFS autenticering så kom vi bort från behovet av en extra databas samt att studenterna kan logga in sitt vanliga datorkonto.

Webbapplikation för fjärrlån

Under hösten påbörjades arbetet med ett webbaserat verktyg för att hantera fjärrlån. Systemet är byggt med samma webbpubliceringsverkytg, Umbraco,  som används på vår webb.

Nytt projektrum

I mitten av hösten började vi planera och bygga om ett nytt projektrum. Vi tog det djärva beslutet att lägga ner fasta arbetsplatser. Det saknas fortfarande lite möbler och framförallt whiteboardtavlor men det är på väg. Inom en snar framtid har vi lokaler för att att köra två 6-8 personers projekt parallellt.


Inga fler inlägg.