Scaling Up a Collaborative Consortial Institutional Repository

PALNI and PALCI Partner to Remove Barriers to Hyku Adoption with IMLS Grant Award


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded $248,050 to the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) in partnership with The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI) for Hyku for Consortia: Removing Barriers to Adoption as part of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. IMLS received 172 applications requesting more than $47 million in funding and selected 39 applicants to receive awards during this grant cycle. With this award, the partners will increase the flexibility, accessibility, and usability of Hyku, the multi-tenant repository platform system.  

Repositories are a critical piece of library infrastructure, enabling access to many types of digital materials created by an institution’s students, faculty, staff, and researchers. Libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and other organizations also use repositories to provide access to digitized special collections.

In the face of continued budgetary pressures, libraries are seeking cost-saving approaches to their work. Those unable to deploy Institutional Repository (IR) services on their own due to costs or other constraints are increasingly looking to consortia to serve this role. This project specifically seeks to develop Hyku to support the repository needs of library groups by increasing affordability and flexibility. 

PALNI Executive Director Kirsten Leonard notes, “This grant will provide the foundational support for PALNI and PALCI to remove remaining barriers to more widespread deployment of the repository software. Together with input from our new consortia project participants from VIVA and LOUIS, we will create business modeling and a toolkit to support other consortia to provide this service for their members, potentially reaching thousands of libraries.” 

This project will extend work completed under the previous PALNI/PALCI IMLS grant, which resulted in the establishment of Hyku Commons, a production-level, low-cost, multi-tenant repository service shared by the supported institutions of PALNI and PALCI.  This new round of funding will further improve Hyku by directly addressing needs articulated by stakeholders in a scalable, multi-tenant environment.

The project will kick off with a user study and gap assessment to further define existing barriers and software requirements needed to support the adoption of the service. PALNI and PALCI will employ Notch8, an open-source software development firm and long-time contributor to the Hyku project, to deliver enhancements and changes prioritized in the early phases. Rob Kaufman, Notch8’s Founding Partner and current Product Owner for Hyku, sees this as an extraordinary opportunity to increase visibility and adoption of Hyku. “Hyku for Consortia has been one of the key projects in the community, expanding the functionality of Hyku in ways that really matter to the users. Notch8 is excited to continue this partnership into this game-changing new phase.”  

The project will also expand its partnership to include consortial partners LOUIS and VIVA, who will pilot the service and offer feedback critical to ensuring widespread adoption. A Consortial Institutional Repository Toolkit will provide guidelines, documentation, and other materials to support the development of similar collaborative repository services in other consortia.

Jill Morris, Executive Director of PALCI, is excited at the opportunity to drive strategic innovation of community-owned infrastructure. “This project builds on the strengths of consortia and stretches our relationships to leverage our respective strengths. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with PALNI to explore new solutions, business models, and collaborative approaches to building and sustaining our library infrastructure.

Anne Osterman, Director of VIVA, said, “We are delighted to be piloting and supporting this important project as it develops scalable options for groups of libraries.The creation of a truly community-led, open, sustainable, and multi-tenant repository service meets needs long articulated by academic libraries and the consortia that serve them.” 

Teri Oaks Gallaway, Executive Director of LOUIS, expressed her interest in the grant, “One of our strategic goals as a consortium is to explore opportunities with other libraries, consortia, and vendors for the development of an open-source library services platform. This project is a perfect example of how we can pool our collective knowledge and resources to improve upon and expand the reach of a needed tool like Hyku. We are excited to be a part of this opportunity with our partners and colleagues and look forward to supporting the development of this project.”

“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”

Updates for the project will be made available at https://www.hykuforconsortia.org/.


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, Inc. (PALNI): 

PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its twenty-three supported institutions. Over time, the library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have adjusted the organization’s strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape has changed. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas, including strategic planning, reference, information fluency, outreach, data management, and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal. www.palni.edu

About The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI):

The PALCI organization was originally founded as the ‘Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.,” and was formed in 1996 as a grassroots federation of 35 academic libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, PALCI is known as Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation, with membership consisting of 74 academic and research libraries, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and New York. PALCI’s mission is to enable cost-effective and sustainable access to information resources and services for academic libraries in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. PALCI Members serve over 800,000 students, faculty, and staff at member institutions, through a variety of programs, including the highly-regarded EZBorrow resource sharing service. PALCI also serves as the home for the Affordable Learning PA program, creating a community of practice for open textbooks and related educational resources. http://palci.org

About LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network

LOUIS is a consortium of public and private college and university libraries in the state of Louisiana. This partnership was formed in 1992 by the library deans and directors at these institutions, in order to create a cost-effective collaboration among the institutions for the procurement of library technology and resources. We are currently forty-seven members strong.

About VIVA

VIVA is the academic library consortium serving 71 nonprofit higher education institutions in Virginia, including 39 state assisted colleges and universities, 31 independent private, nonprofit institutions, and The Library of Virginia. VIVA’s mission is to provide, in an equitable, cooperative, and cost‐effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for Virginia’s academic libraries serving the nonprofit higher education community. 

About Notch8:

Founded in San Diego, CA in 2007 by Rob Kaufman, Notch8 is a Ruby on Rails-based web consultancy with additional expertise in React and React Native mobile applications. Today we are a team of 18 developers and technical experts located across three time zones. Since 2016, we have been active with digital repository solutions, primarily through our involvement with the Samvera Community. We are Samvera Partners and both in and out of the Samvera framework, we have contributed to more than 20 projects in the digital repository space. 

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