Following an extensive procurement process, GALILEO has selected EBSCO FOLIO and ReShare supported by EBSCO Information Services for the shared system supporting the 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Archives to replace its current Ex Libris Alma implementation. This announcement marks the only large-scale implementation of Alma to migrate to another platform. It further reinforces the momentum gained by EBSCO FOLIO in the last year, following its selection by the Library of Congress and the MOBIUS consortium.
The award, valued at $10,331,841 for a ten-year term, was awarded on March 15, 2023 to EBSCO Information Services. Ex Libris ranked second place in the evaluation process with its proposal for Alma. Following the initial award, the other providers are allowed a week to file protests to the decision. This opportunity to contest the award has since expired.
The proposal from EBSCO Information Services included EBSCO FOLIO, comprised of multiple components, both open source and proprietary:
- FOLIO modules: core infrastructure, circulation, cataloging, acquisitions
- Hosting and support services from EBSCO
- Locate: patron catalog and account services
- EBSCO Knowledge Base: electronic resource holdings
- EBSCO ERM: electronic resource management
- ReShare: capabilities for consortial borrowing
- Panorama Analytics: full package providing analytics across multiple sources and systems)
- GobiPlus: advanced features for the GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO for selection and ordering of library materials)
- BiblioGraph: a service based on linked data that facilitates discovery of library resources through Google and other internet search engines. GALILEO will be able to leverage BiblioGraph to help syndicate their holdings to the Open Web.
- ReShare: resource sharing functionality for the consortium
The budget analysis factored into the scoring all one-time migration and implementation costs plus funding for an additional position needed within GALILEO anticipated for the support of an open source solution.
Procurement process and scoring
The general description of the procurement process:
“Description: Purpose of Procurement Pursuant to the State Purchasing Act (Official Code of Georgia Annotated 50-5-50 et seq.), this electronic Request for Proposals (eRFP) is being issued to establish a contract with a qualified supplier who will provide Library Services Platform to the The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (the State Entity) as further described in this eRFP. The USG libraries have had a long history of cooperation and collaboration. The statewide virtual library, GALILEO, launched in 1995, is an internationally recognized model for innovation and collaboration which extends beyond the USG libraries. GALILEO provides a set of common electronic resources as well as those purchased on an individual library basis, providing opportunities for increased access while significantly lowering costs. GIL (GALILEO Interconnected Libraries) will require discovery services, including a knowledgebase and link resolver, to be integrated with the ILS. All GALILEO libraries have access to the EBSCO EDS knowledgebase, and most USG institutions currently use EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) for discovery, either with the default EBSCO interface or the in-house designed GALILEO portal. This RFP will be a award. It is anticipated to be awarded Spring 2023. 47200-eRFP-000000307-2022 RFP Open Agency Contract Information Technology state 2022 NIGP Codes: 20859Library Information Management and Library Catalog Database Software, Microcomputer95638Library Services, (Not Otherwise Classified)”
Georgia Procurement Registry Award Document
According to the award document, EBSCO's proposal received better scores on costs and the one from Ex Libris was better in technical functionality. Out of a possible 650 technical points awarded through the RFP for technical functionality, there was only a 16 point difference (2.5%) between the EBSCO proposal and that from Ex Libris.
GALILEO (GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online) was established in 1995 as a statewide initiative to share resources and reduce costs for its member libraries. (vision document)
GIL, or GALILEO Interconnected Libraries, is a program of GALILEO, providing a shared resource management environment to the University System of Georgia members. GALILEO provides many other services to institutions in Georgia, including access to over 100 databases.
The following metrics describe the scale of GIL:
- 27 institutions (26 USG plus Archives)
- 68 campuses/instructional sites
- 11,404,237 bibliographic records
- 13,531,972 holdings records
- 16,370,788 item records
- 1,328,524 GALILEO purchased e-resources (titles)
- 7,228,535 Institution purchased e-resources (titles)
- During FY20, the USG had a total of 228,697 Circulation charges and roughly 13,750 GIL Express charges (in-consortia material sharing)
Its members include:
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
- Albany State University
- Atlanta Metropolitan State College
- Augusta University
- Clayton State University
- College of Coastal Georgia
- Columbus State University
- Dalton State College
- East Georgia State College
- Fort Valley State University
- Georgia Archives
- Georgia College and State University
- Georgia Gwinnett College
- Georgia Highlands College
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Georgia Southwestern State University
- Georgia State University
- Gordon State College
- Kennesaw State University
- Middle Georgia State University
- Savannah State University
- South Georgia State College
- University of Georgia
- University of North Georgia
- University of West Georgia
- Valdosta State University
GALILEO Automation History
One of the main objectives of GALILEO involves providing shared systems to strengthen collaboration among its members, with more efficiency and lower cost. The initial foray into this strategy was through the implementation of a shared integrated library system for the University System of Georgia.
GIL selected Voyager from Endeavor Information Systems in 2000 as the automation system shared across all the members of the University System of Georgia. At the time, this project was one of the most ambitious efforts to provide a statewide shared automation environment.
GALILEO selected Ex Libris Alma in July 2015 to replace its Voyager ILS. All of its members were using Alma in production by May 26th, 2017. At that time most GIL institutions were using EBSCO Discovery Service as their primary search service. Ex Libris Primo was used primarily as the catalog interface for the collections managed within Alma.
In 2018 GALILEO subscribed to OpenAthens from EBSCO Information Services as its single sign-on and federated authentication environment.
Most of the members of the University System of Georgia use EBSCO Discovery Service as their primary search interface. The Primo interface associated with their Alma implementation was used primarily for access to local collections and not for article search. The new environment will enable library users to continue to use EBSCO Discovery Service, but also providing catalog and patron functions, avoiding the need for dual patron interfaces.
GALILEO and Open Source
GALILEO has previously demonstrated interest in open source solutions. In October 2021 GALILEO issued a Request for Information exploring the viability of open source solutions for an organization of its scale. (See: RFI information on Georgia Procurement Registry This RFI investigated whether there were open source options that would be competitive in a full RFP procurement process and to provide insights on ways to structure a RFP to not exclude open source options.
GALILEO joined Project ReShare in September 2021. Project ReShare is a community-based open source initiative to create resource sharing networks based on open source software build on FOLIO infrastructure.
Though not directly connected, the Georgia Public Library Service developed the Evergreen integrated library system and uses it for PINES, a large scale system that automates 51 public libraries in 146 counties in Georgia, spanning over 300 individual branches and facilities. Evergreen was developed as open source software and has been implemented by over 70 libraries and consortia in addition to PINES, spanning over 1,900 library branches. PINES demonstrates a strong commitment at the state level to invest in large-scale initiatives based on open source software to facilitate resource sharing and lower costs for libraries. GPLS and GALILEO are both units of the USG, along with the Georgia Archives. Together, all three comprise the USG Division of Libraries and Archives.
Impact on the University System of Georgia
The 27 member libraries of GALILEO Interconnected Libraries will migrate from Ex Libris Alma to EBSCO FOLIO. The migration process will be mitigated somewhat since the libraries are already using EBSCO Discovery Service and other services from EBSCO Information Services.
GIL has been using Alma as its production environment for less than six years, a remarkably short tenure. The average term of use of a system exceeds a decade. In most cases, libraries do not achieve the full efficiency of a new library management environment until a year or two following its implementation. The combined campus libraries of the University System of Georgia employ over 1,000 FTE employees. A large portion of these individuals use the current Alma library services platform and will need to be trained to use EBSCO FOLIO. Library patrons will need to adapt to the search services that will be delivered through the new FOLIO Locate module and EBSCO Discovery Service that currently rely on Ex Libris Primo.
The scoring chart published on the RFP award document indicated that EBSCO FOLIO scored lower than Alma for technical functionality. It is expected that functionality in EBSCO FOLIO will continue to improve, and that by the time that it is fully installed, the relative capabilities for the products may be more equivalent. The cost scoring shows that the new system will result in some financial savings.
The Technical College System of Georgia Libraries, representing 22 two-year colleges, implemented Alma in 2019 and are not part of the new EBSCO FOLIO project. ARL member Emory University is a private university not part of GIL. Emory University Library shares a remote storage facility with Georgia Tech.
A boost for EBSCO Information Services
The selection of EBSCO FOLIO and ReShare by GALILEO helps accelerate the momentum of its adoption. It comes on the heels of the announcement that the Library of Congress has contracted for EBSCO to develop FOLIO for its Library Collections Access Platform in a long-term contract valued at $25 million. The MOBIUS consortium, comprised of most of the academic libraries in Missouri, announced its selection of EBSCO FOLIO and ReShare in August 2022.
An interruption for the momentum of Alma
Alma has had a decade-long winning streak for large academic libraries and consortia. Both Alma and OCLC WorldShare Management Services were library services platforms launched in 2012. Since that time Alma has gained a substantially larger market share, especially among the larger projects. Many of the largest library consortia, national and statewide networks, and large academic libraries have implemented Ex Libris Alma since its launch. Alma remains a formidable competitor. Now that FOLIO has reached a level of functionality considered sufficient for large libraries, it joins as a full contender in the library services platform competition for academic libraries.