Kuali OLE at the University of Chicago Library


Last updated October 17, 2014.

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Case Study on Open Source Selection and Application

Frances McNamara, Director Integrated Library Systems and Administrative and Desktop Systems
Stuart Miller, Library Systems Analyst
Tod Olson, Systems Librarian
University of Chicago Library


This case study documents the processes at the University of Chicago Library (Library) that ultimately resulted in the decision to replace the Library’s proprietary systems – SirsiDynix’s Horizon, Innovative Interfaces’ Millennium Acquisitions and Serials Solution’s AquaBrowser – with the open source VuFind user interface and Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment).


This study is based on internal documentation and interviews with Library staff, complemented by links to documents available online.


This study will seek to highlight the successes, failures and lessons learned during the replacement project.

Research Limitation

The Library is not moving its new systems into production until July 2014. Final determination of success depends on the Library’s planned goal of shutting down its legacy systems by January 2015.

Practical Implications

Other academic libraries considering open source systems may find the University of Chicago Library’s experience of interest.


The Library will be one of the two first adopters of Kuali OLE. This study may help other institutions evaluate and plan for similar system migrations.

In addition to this web format, the case study is available as an ePub and a PDF file.