Kuali OLE partners receive $882,000 Mellon Foundation grant

Indiana University has received an $882,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Kuali Open Library Environment, an open-source, community-based library software system created by a partnership of some of the nation’s leading university libraries.

Kuali OLE (pronounced Oh-LAY) is a library management system designed by and for research and academic libraries to oversee and provide access to their growing collections. These include vast amounts of print and licensed digital content, as well as an ever-increasing amount of local, “born digital” content. The OLE project was launched in 2009 with a $2.3 million grant from the Mellon Foundation and matching funds from the Kuali OLE founding partners. With this latest grant, IU has now received more than $4 million from Mellon for the OLE project.

“This latest investment in Kuali OLE by the Mellon Foundation demonstrates its strong support for our project and its unique capability to drive deep collaboration among our research library partners,” said Brenda L. Johnson, IU Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. “We are looking forward to delivering OLE 2.0 during this grant period and further growing our partnership community thanks to this generous gift.”

With this grant, the OLE team will work to expand the community of libraries partnering with the project, while also continuing to fine-tune software with an eye toward the version 2.0 release later this year. The University of Chicago and Lehigh University will be the first implementers of OLE in summer of 2014.

“The Kuali Foundation has always had as a core principle that we could reduce costs and increase system flexibility by applying a community development model and open source licensing to large administrative systems,” says Bruce Taggart, vice provost for library and technology services at Lehigh University and current OLE board co-chair. “With Kuali OLE, we are opening this opportunity to all libraries.”

“Collaboration is an essential means for universities to achieve new economic efficiencies in higher education, and OLE accelerates the rich tradition of leading university libraries as they serve students and faculty in an increasingly digital age,” said Brad Wheeler, Indiana University’s vice president for information technology and CIO and chair of the Kuali Foundation Board. “This Mellon investment in libraries follows the success of multiple collaborative investments in the Kuali Foundation for big software systems among colleges and universities.”

Kuali OLE was founded by a partnership of research libraries, led by Indiana University, and now includes the Bloomsbury Library Management System consortium, Lehigh University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova University. The partners have pooled resources and expertise with investments from the Mellon Foundation to develop this next-generation library system.


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