Publication Details

Byrne, K., Lafferty, S., McKenzie, C. & McLean, E. 2015, 'Have you met ROS? The value of cross library collaboration in project management and delivery', ALIA Information Online 2015 : at the edge, ALIA, Australia, pp. 1-15.


The mark of a valuable collaboration is that neither party can successfully achieve the outcome without the other. Cross-library or cross- organisation collaboration allows libraries to respond to complex new opportunities and challenges. Bringing together diverse knowledge and skills sets, collaborations can deliver projects more effectively by drawing on existing knowledge assets. In September 2013 UNSW Library launched a new system, known as ROS, to manage information about the research outputs produced at UNSW. Based on Symplectic's Elements software, this system represented not only a technical change but also a significant cultural change as workflows shifted from centralised administration to academic and research staff taking responsibility for managing their own research output records. In addition to the work expected as a part of a major technical implementation, the rollout of this system involved communication and support for up to 15,000 users, demanding skills that no single team at UNSW Library could provide on its own. UNSW Library is a large organisation with approximately 150 staff working across a range of specialised fields. The implementation of ROS required active collaboration between two large departments - Digital Library Services and Information Services - bringing together technical and project management teams with the client facing outreach librarians. The team of outreach librarians forms a key communication mechanism between UNSW researchers and the Library. The librarians use these relationships to both promote library services and gather knowledge about faculty needs to influence service delivery and development. The combination of technical and client focussed teams in the implementation not only drew upon the skills of both but has strengthened connections and built long term workflows across the Library. The pathway to launching this system, and the prolonged implementation that followed, tested the limitations of all involved and highlighted the contributions different parts of UNSW Library could make. The subsequent Stage 2 implementation formalised this collaboration at the project team level following on from the success of the initial implementation. This paper will demonstrate the value creative cross-library collaboration can bring to project delivery through an exploration of UNSW Library's experiences with the ROS implementation. Those experiences, in connection with relevant literature, will be used to form a model for incorporating collaboration in project delivery that can be applied by other libraries faced with complex projects. It will also demonstrate how organisations can build upon existing library skills and knowledge assets to successfully achieve strategic goals that may provide a new focus for libraries.