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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 03 JUN 1998

Project Number and Title
3062 - Decision support models and a DSS for European academic and public libraries
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ IV Theme 18 bis January 1995 March 1998
management information systems; decision support system; performance measurement/indicators; library management

blue bullet Additional information is available from the DECIDE web site . (

Models and tools to support decision-making in libraries (Theme 18 bis)
Project description
The project involved 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 had 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.
Technical approach
The work was undertaken in four main phases:
  • a research phase which developed baseline requirements and assessed 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. An iterative rapid prototyping methodology was followed, instead of the original plan of detailed user specification and subsequent development.
  • 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 had eleven technical 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 were:
  • 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.
Impact and expected results
The main impact lay in the promotion of the availability of decision support tools in libraries by providing a prototype system with DSS capability. DECIDE advanced 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 are:
  • Report on DSS in libraries;
  • Synthesis of performance measures and indicators;
  • Evaluation methodology;
  • Final report.
Seminars were held and the reports of results are available, as are the other public documents, from the contact below and from .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Carpenter Davies Associates UK - LONDON SW14 8HA UK
Title, First Name, Name Mr. R. DAVIES Address: 2B Fitzgerald Road
Tel: +44 181 876 3121 Fax: +44 181 876 3121
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Datapoint NL P
University Bristol University Library UK P
Universidad Alcala de Henares ES P
Stichting Stadsbibliotheek's-Hertogenbosch NL P
Contrast NL P

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