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Decision support models and a DSS for European academic and public libraries


The project involves libraries and 2 library systems developers in different countries in the investigation of needs and requirements for decision support and in the development and testing of a protoype system for libraries.

DECIDE has two main goals:

- to define a comprehensive set of decision-making support requirements, approaches and methodologies which can be adapted to match a wide range of current and future needs in academic and public libraries of the EU;
- to develop and trial a decision support system (DSS) prototype for use with automated library management systems from different manufacturers.
Impact and expected results:

The main impact lies in the promotion of the availability of decision support tools in libraries by providing a prototype system with DSS capability. DECIDE will advance research into requirements in this area.

The main results are:

clarification of the relationships and differences between quality assurance, performance evaluation and resource allocation strategies and the circumstances in which they are needed;
tested PC-based DSS independent of any one library system;
definition of potential standard models of DSS-related data collection, extraction, interpretation and presentation for use in a wide range of EU countries.


The most important deliverables are the definition of the DSS models and standards and the fully tested DSS prototype, with user interface.

Certain specifications, test evaluations, plans, technical documentation and project reports will be classified as restricted. In the public domain will be:

Prototype specification for DSS;
User interface specification;
Final report.
Technical approach:

The work will be undertaken in four main phases:

- a research phase which will develop baseline requirements and assess the use made of DSS, management information systems, quality assurance methods and performance indicators in European libraries;
- specification and development of the prototype, undertaken jointly by two library system suppliers in different EU countries;
- field-testing in real-time decision making and management environments across a range of EU libraries;
- finalisation of the protoype and definition of standard models of data collection, extraction, interpretation and presentation for DSS.

The project has eleven workpackages:

User requirements from research on current performance measurement, quality management, finance and resource management, data collection and other aspects relating to decision making;
Technical research for design;
Data extraction from library systems - including structures and procedures for the prototype;
Data extraction from other sources for non-library input;
DSS system design;
Design of DSS user interfaces;
Language user interfaces: Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English;
Support and training programme, with monitoring and evaluation, for the field trials;
Field trial of prototype 1 with resultant modifications based on operational responses;
Field trial of prototype 2, as amended from prototype 1;
Final documentation.

Key issues:

The main technical issues are:

establishing the range of decision making requirements needed;
specification of the prototype DSS - architecture, standards, interface, data extraction and transfer methods;
definition of standard or compatible models of data collection.

Seminars, scheduled at various project points, will be publicly accessible, as will the reports arising from them.


Carpenter Davies Associates
2B Fitzgerald Road
SW14 8HA London
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

United Kingdom
Stichting Stadsbibliotheek 's-Hertogenbosch
Univ. Alcala de Henares
University of Bristol
United Kingdom

BS8 1TH Bristol