FOLIO is launched at the Five College Libraries Consortium: UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst Libraries and the Five College Consortium announce the launch of FOLIOan open-source platform for library services that will go live at Five College Libraries later this month.

UMass Amherst librarians, along with our Five College Partners, are among the early adopters—and adaptors. The Five College Consortium collaborated EBSCOone of the world’s largest providers of digital library content, to develop and beta test the implementation and hosting services for FOLIO. Orchestrated by the Open Library Environment (OLE), FOLIO is a global library community focused on open solutions for libraries.

FOLIO, which stands for “The Future Of Libraries Is Open,” is the result of a collaboration between libraries, developers, and vendors who have built a platform to support traditional resource management functions, to be extended to other functions.

Historically, libraries such as UMass Amherst have used numerous non-integrated products to keep bibliographic data current across a network of systems and in shared catalogs such as the Five Colleges Library Catalog. UMass, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, Smith and Amherst Colleges share both print and electronic resources but purchase digital materials separately. To share them across the consortium, an item’s data had to be entered in multiple places, which was time-consuming and left room for error.

While users of the library’s website and search engines will not notice much of a difference, FOLIO offers a net improvement for the user by providing more accurate results, and for the library staff’s user experience by allowing for easy management of records and finances.

“Our investment in FOLIO is consistent with our mission, values ​​and strategy and moves us in the direction of openness in research and discovery, and community-led development and collective governance in libraries and consortia,” says Sarah Hutton, acting dean of libraries for 2021-2022, where much of the FOLIO implementation work took place. “We are honored to be part of a global community working to make access to information more equitable by helping create an open, community-developed platform.”

The migration to FOLIO was made possible by a dedicated staff building this over four years and hundreds of hours and the dedication of the 5C library leadership. As an evolving product, the Five College Libraries will benefit from additional benefits from features introduced in later versions.

“We developed entirely new functions in FOLIO specifically for library consortia,” says Kat Berry, Head of Information Resources Management. “So our work will benefit other library consortia around the world, which can adopt features developed and tested by our team members.”

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