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Architectural Approaches to the Next Generation Library: a Case Study in Connecting Librarians and Architects at Griffith University

Staff from Griffith University’s Library Technology Services (LTS) and IT Architecture and Solutions (ITAS) will share experiences from a 2016 collaboration to comprehensively document and assess the Library’s ‘as is’ IT architecture. The presentation will cover the roles of the two teams, the rationale for conducting this activity, how we scoped the work to be undertaken, the processes used and the deliverables. We will also discuss the benefits of undertaking this work, and how the outputs from it are already being used to better plan future library system replacements, upgrades and enhancements.

Abstract
At Griffith University, a complex ecosystem of library applications has developed. Applications were selected at different times for their fitness-for-purpose for specific library functions rather than alignment with an overall architectural strategy. Complex data flows between local systems and third party providers are integral to library services but not always well-documented.

Library Technology Services (LTS) is increasingly aware of the value of documenting architectural components and integrations. We participate in enterprise-level assessments, sit on Griffith’s Solution Architecture Board (SAB), and submit solution architectures to SAB for discussion and approval. In 2016 we asked IT Architecture and Security to partner with us to document and assess our ‘as is’ library IT architecture.

There have been many benefits, both tangible and intangible. One deliverable (an application communication diagram) will help us improve services by de-duplicating processes and improving interfaces between systems. Another deliverable (an application maturity assessment) supports the better prioritisation of upgrades and replacement based on business and technical fit. A less tangible benefit is the high level of trust that senior stakeholders have in the information that has been produced through this neutral and systematic analysis. This helps us communicate internally (including making business cases) and with external stakeholders like vendors. LTS’s raised awareness of architecture terminology and methods means we can better engage with IT governance when we need approval for our own future architectural changes.

This presentation aligns with the Connecting Minds theme by providing a case study from two areas that may not traditionally work closely together. It addresses The Next Generation Library and Technology Innovation & Service Management sub-themes. It is relevant to library technology specialists with responsibility for project business case development (including internal funding bids) and continuous improvement, as well as architects interested in adopting a similar model of engagement with internal clients.