Ex Libris Group: Delivering a Unified Digital Experience for Higher Education

Eric Hines, President
In the rapidly changing research and learning environments, institutional libraries are touching new paradigms to meet the evolving needs of users with improved and innovative services. “With the digital transformation of libraries, new services are emerging as the focus shifts to a greater online presence and as physical spaces become available,” begins Eric Hines, President, Ex Libris North America. “These include Google-like discovery solutions and rich, customized mobile applications as well as 3D printing and rapid prototyping, video production, website design, and many others.” Founded as an internal project at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980, to develop a new Library Management System, Ex Libris is making it easier for libraries to discover and manage their print, electronic, and digital resources in an effective and efficient manner. The company assists libraries by ensuring that knowledge is discoverable and accessible and can be cost effectively delivered to students, researchers, and faculty in a proactive way. With the majority of students preferring apps over portals, the future of student engagement is apps. “Effective use of mobile technology gives students access to what they want and when they want it, driving engagement and enhancing student experience,” delineates Hines.

When Ex Libris acquired campusM, a SaaS platform, “we saw an opportunity to increase the delivery of important services across mobile devices,” illustrates Hines. campusM offers a mobile application, which provides a one stop shop to review courses, check out books, navigate the campus, engage in classroom polling, and other activities. The platform offers true native apps, including most device functionality such as GPS, offline working, and cameras. It has the ability to draw on analytics for the wide range of interactions students make with their mobile devices. “Using data from attendance in lectures, in-class engagement and use of learning facilities such as the Learning Management Solution and the library, an institution can build a picture of a student as an individual learner,” says Hines. The use of analytics ensures that universities are investing in the right resources to support and supplement faculty in their course design and delivery.

Ex Libris has expanded their mobile campus solution all over the world. For instance, one of their clients, Imperial College London, a public research university, wanted to replace the student portal with a digital communications platform, which can provide personalized timetables, targeted contents, and push notifications across desktops and mobiles. The campusM platform provided them with a mobile app, which can deliver content to both mobile and desktop channels, replacing the desktop-only student portal. The new mobile app allowed the users to access vital information such as campus maps, library accounts, and course timetables using their registered email addresses.

Being a staunch believer of constant innovation, the company moved towards next-generation integrated library systems with the introduction of Alma in 2009. The popular library management solution features a monthly release schedule, continuously providing updates and enhancements to customers. In 2015, Ex Libris launched Leganto—a resource list solution linking the library to the needs of instructors—and also acquired oMbiel, a leading UK-based SaaS Platform provider of mobile and portal solutions for higher education.

Effective use of mobile technology gives students access to what they want and when they want it, driving engagement and enhancing student experience

The company aims at expanding their library service products within larger universities of the world. Commenting on the plans for the days to come, Hines said, “We will accomplish this by leveraging advanced cloud and mobile technologies with user-friendly interfaces that deliver personalized experiences.”

Ex Libris Group

Chicago, IL

Eric Hines, President

Global provider offering SaaS implementations for the management and discovery of library materials, as well as mobile campus services for driving student engagement and success.