Open source Library Simplified to host e-library

The technical platform for the joint municipal e-library, to be opened at the beginning of 2024, has been selected. The open source library platform Library Simplified was selected.  

The open source platform means that the source code can be freely developed using a variety of methods. Everything is based on openness, and the codebase of the e-library remains under the control of the e-library organisation. New York Public Library is the force behind Library Simplified, and the application was developed with the idea “by libraries, for libraries”. A dedicated version will be developed for the needs of the Finnish e-library using Library Simplified.  

The platform selection process was long and challenging and consisted of both pilot experiments and workshops with library employees. In addition, a lot of background work and investigations have been carried out. User perspective, the possibilities of libraries to have their say and the retention of ownership by the e-library itself all carried much weight. Long-term plans, i.e. the development of e-library, were also emphasised. Developing e-library is easier when the platform is not dependent on other operators.  

The other option for the joint e-library platform would have been a market solution, i.e. purchasing a finished or nearly finished product from the market for use by e-library. The good thing about this would have been that e-library would probably have been more ready for use right at the beginning of 2024, when it is opened for the use of clients. However, the open-source solution is supported by the fact that the operational preconditions of e-library will not be compromised if a piece of technology becomes unavailable or the company behind it goes bankrupt. The development of e-library is also more agile with the open-source solution.  

“The next step is the competitive tendering. Library Simplified on its own does not make an e-library, but one or several existing platforms are also planned to be linked to it. In this way, e-library will meet the requirements set for it in the investigation phase. This is the basis for the competitive tendering process,” says Project Specialist Joona Kutilainen-Pennanen, who is in charge of technology in the e-library project.  

The joint e-library must be built within this year. The schedule is tight but feasible. Everyone is hoping for a smooth competitive tendering process, so that there is as much time as possible for the development work itself.  

One major change in using e-library will be that people will no longer log in to it with their library card, but with their library user credentials. The new library user credentials will form a strong authentication method. Strong authentication will ensure that no client has multiple user credentials and that the place of residence of clients can be confirmed. The use of the joint e-library requires that the client’s own municipality of residence has joined e-library.  

You can become a client of the joint municipal e-library by obtaining e-library user credentials online or by visiting your local library, if your municipality of residence has joined e-library. The date when obtaining e-library user credentials becomes possible will be announced separately at the end of 2023.