Oxford Brookes University

Automate workflows and create new possibilities for library services

Students working in the library at Oxford Brookes University

"We needed a system that would stretch us as well as be pushed by us."

Tamsin Rothery
Former Digital Infrastructure Manager, Oxford Brookes University

The hardware and software at Oxford Brookes University library could no longer be upgraded. Staff realized this meant a major change was needed if they were to continue to meet the expectations of a changing academic environment and the objectives set out by the university. “We were looking to shed some of the restrictions of local hosting by moving to a hosted SaaS [Software as a Service] system, where the new supplier would take the maintenance work required, allowing us to focus on service delivery and development,” said Tamsin Rothery, former Digital Infrastructure Manager. And so, in 2018, library staff selected WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) as their new fully integrated library platform. 

With the main campus library open 24 hours a day, seven days a week during semester time, staff cannot always be available throughout the day and night. However, the move to WMS allowed them to deliver on the need for high-quality digital services with a more flexible system, which is intuitive and easier for students to use. It also means that they can manage open content via integrated workflows, leading to seamless discovery and fulfilment for their students.

“WMS is helping provide open-access materials in a number of ways, and with the Unpaywall integration, millions of open-access records are now seeping into our discovery. I particularly like the direct link to PDFs, which is something our users appreciate.” 

Tamsin Rothery, Former Digital Infrastructure Manager

It was important that students could access all their account details in one place, including their loans, ILL requests, and fees. Before WMS, for a student to pay a fine or any other fee, they had to visit the library in person, and a staff member had to mediate the process and clear the fine, which is not practical for a 24-hour library. So, the university paved the way for the integration of online payments in WMS. Kate Alderson-Smith, former Customer Services Team Leader, explained how this has helped. “With the integration between WMS and WPM Education, our online payment system, staff are now able to offer many more services, as it has freed up some of their time. The system is intuitive, launching with no instructions, and students are used to this online payment functionality.” 

Through this and other automated workflows, staff now have time to pursue other possibilities around data analysis and work on other projects like the library website.

Using both WorldShare Reports and EZproxy® data logs, library staff have been able to start discussions around their collections and services with the data to back it up. This has provided them with the opportunity to drill down into the individual item data and how this can help them in supporting an enhanced student experience. Additionally, they have been working with data analysts and the university’s Data Warehouse to identify key metrics and develop a learning analytics process to help with understanding student engagement levels and understanding the role of the library in this.


  • Oxford, United Kingdom

Library at a glance

  • Supports one of the UK’s top modern universities, ranked the top young university for the fourth year in a row by the QS Top 50 Under 50 World University Rankings
  • Situated over four sites, the library supports more than 16,600 students from around the world and 2,800 staff
  • Houses substantial Special Collections at the main library, Headington Library, covering areas such as food and drink, art and architecture, and publishing and literary prizes

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