It’s been with great pleasure for me to come a long way across the planet, to join you in the big family, to celebrate the ongoing birth of our future platform, especially in the very special Chinese Lunar New Year. So Let me say Happy New Year to you once again! Happy the Rat Year!

The year of the Rat is a beginning of a new round of China Zodiac circle. Usually it means a brand new beginning. That’s what we hope for the FOLIO to bring us with: A New Beginning. 

This is my home town, Shanghai, a city always attracts Hollywood shooting Sci-fi movies, showing the post-mordern future society of our mankind. It is full of exciting things and opportunities. It is a perfect place to announce the final release of FOLIO I think.

This is Shanghai Library, the biggest city library in China, maybe the biggest of its kind around the world. The population of Shanghai city is 23 million. About a quarter had a reader’s card issued from my library. More than 3 million people visited my library and checked out nearly 30 million books every year. The peak circulation transaction number is 66 million in a year. But the circulation is not accomplished only by my library, we’ve got more than 250 libraries in a three-tier library system. We don’t belong to each other, but use only one integrated library system. We are a consortium.

The present Shanghai Library has opened to public in 1996. With the economic development, the budget of Shanghai Library has been increased from around 30 million USD in 1996 to 70 million USD last year. But the service capacity and key indicators have not been improved at the same time. We are not satisfied with the accessibility of our resources and the quality of our services, as well as the realization of the core values as a public library.

Our magnificent powerful Integrated Library System is Horizon, as you may know, it is from SirsiDynix. After running for more than two decades, when we set higher goals to serve more people and construct a new library building with 115,000 square meters, and expand our consortium to more than two thousand community libraries and service points, the Horizon system has no longer been able to meet our needs. At first, We decided to choose a safer way to upgrade our system to the Symphony, which is also from Sirsidynix, so as to have their services. But when the company notified us that they were no longer fulfilling the contract, returned the money and withdraw from China, I knew it was the darkest day in my career. 

Lucky enough we met FOLIO just in time.  We fell in love with FOLIO at the first sight. The open and sharing spirit of FOLIO perfectly matches the ideas of the Library. It is just what we are looking for for many years. Honestly, this step is a little bit bold, but we think it is worth to take the risk. I love the ideas which Sebastian Hammer stated in his speech “Library as a platform” at ELAG2016 conference that the FOLIO should be fully open sourced and act as an operation system for the library, and it will have an App Store for libraries to choose whatever applications they want to run.  He also pictured an amazing “by the community, with the community and for the community” vision of FOLIO.  These ideas are major breakthroughs in the library history I think. And we are very happy to see most of them have been realized in the next few years. 

We think the future shape of the library is a moving target. The service platform should be flexible enough to adapt all kinds of new technologies and requirements into the platform. From this point there is no such a platform better than FOLIO to accomplish the countless and agnostic requirements for libraries in the future.

But now we have to realize some key requirements:

  • It should be a multi tenant platform not only for Shanghai Library, but tens of branch libraries, which have their own sub branches, as a whole consortium.
  • It should support to 100 million circulation transaction in a year.
  • It should look after all kinds of activities by up to 15 million registered users.
  • It should provide collection management solutions for all kinds of culture heritage resources.
  • It should provide SaaS ecology with multiple extension modules (eg. SoLoMo services, Data Analytics, etc) by multiple local vendors.
  • It would help libraries to redefine itself in a new environment and re-engineering its workflow to meet new requirements.

We start our journey to investigate, learn and develop with FOLIO at the end of 2018. This slide lists most of the companies and institutions involved.

Now we have a team of more than 50 people, consists of librarian as PO and developers from 10 company partners. I put their names here but I won’t read them, just want to give them a recognition before you in this world wide community. So can you give them a round of applause? I am sure they can hear and be encouraged.

They are from those companies and institutions above.

By the end of 2020, we focus on the development of the Resource Access/Circulation module, the Collection Management/Inventory module and the System Management module. We also have partners working on the Acquisition/Order module and the Reading Promotion modules. 

We established the Shanghai FOLIO Alliance to joint efforts on the FOLIO implementation among Shanghai Central Library Consortium. The Alliance is under the supervision of the Shanghai Society of Libraries. It can prevent its member library to apply non FOLIO compatible module before FOLIO implementation. There are eight companies and 17 libraries as first members to join the Alliance.

The Chinese library community has been paying great attention to FOLIO from the beginning, and we also try to attract them into the FOLIO community, to popularize the concept of open source and expand our influence. 

We now have a loose national community led by CALIS (China Academic Library and Information System). We plan to upgrade to a semi-formal national alliance to advance the following community work:

  • Translating, including interfaces, documents and all kinds of materials when necessary
  • Chinese Natural Language Processing supporting, such as segmentation, sequencing…etc.
  • Local Knowledge Organization System supporting, like Chinese Library Classification, etc.
  • Developing and Maintaining the FOLIO Chinese version align with the international version, and maintaining local Knowledge Base.
  • Joining the development to contribute to new ideas such as data lake, linked data, machine learning, blockchain etc.
  • Module Compatibility Testing and Evaluating, and running a local App Store.
  • Issueing  Specifications and Best Practices, Outreaching and promotion, training, help implementing or migration, …etc.

We don’t want Chinese FOLIO application to be another information island. There would be no future if Chinese FOLIO community isolated from the international community. So we need a lot of help from you.

  • We need to know more about the whole architecture and backend technology.
  • We have to deal with local needs as a large central public library, such as massive concurrent processing, response performance, scalability, ease of use and user experiences.
  • We should provide multi-tenant environment to meet the different needs of different libraries in a large consortium.
  • We would encourage local teams to develop extensive modules to meet local needs
  • And we are going to establish Chinese application marketplace after you set up of FOLIO App Store

As the demands from China are so intense that the community decided to hire a PO who has the capability of bilingual, knowledgeable of software engineering and library business, to help us to communicate and coordinate with the international Community. After several months of recruiting, when we almost have no hope for such a panda position, Cate found one for us. The recruitment is  underway. It’s amazing.

We can’t wait for so many good ideas from FOLIO to come true, so we could make our contribution as much as possible.

As a small contribution to this conference, we made badges based on FOLIO’s logo and brought them to everyone here. So don’t forget to get one from my colleagues in the lobby (around the corner/by the door of the meeting room).

We are very appreciated for your efforts on developing FOLIO. We are very glad to see the growth of the  community. I truly understand the engagement of the community is the key for the success of FOLIO. I think It is far from enough by now. So we are very glad to be a part of it and to make contribution. There are 3000 public libraries and 1200 college libraries in China, which are eager to see a new library platform and waiting for FOLIO. We would like to invite you to hold a WolfCon or FOLIO Show in China in 2021 when the new Shanghai Library East Building has a grand opening. Let Shanghai library be your host.

Thank you very much.