The Library laboratory

This session from Nils Pharo from the Faculty of Journalism, Library and Information Science at Oslo University College. Nils is not ‘hardcore technical’!

The Library laboratory is a project – website at – in Norwegian. It has been running for 4 years, funded by Nowegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority (ALM). Initialised by Thomas Brevik – about connecting people in Norway who had an interest in libraries and technology.

Library laboratory supports:

  • net-based meeting places
    • blog
    • wiki (including terminology explanations etc.)
  • physical meetings – annual workshops attended by people from across library sector (public, academic, specialist)
  • projects/prototype development
    • guidance
    • “micro-funding”


  • Established network of enthusiasts
  • Intitiated other projects financed by ALM (including ‘Pode‘)
  • Now buidling infrastructured to support existing projects
  • ‘Open Library’ provides a solution for merging data from system providers, librarians and library users

The ‘open library’ system is now up and running and being tested with data from the Oslo Public Library (Pode Project)

SWOT analysis of the library laboratory


  • Engaged a passionate group
  • Technological infrastructure


  • Small community scattered across many environments
  • Lack of resources to dedicate time to system development


  • National library invests in new union catalogue system – will require a rethink of how library data is managed – may be able to build on work already done for ‘open library’ – opportunity to work with National Library


  • Many library systems with different interests in Norway
  • Lack of identifiers – and each community/system has it’s own identifiers

Q: What are you lacking when it comes to identifiers?

A: e.g. no identifiers for authors; identifiers for records (different on each system). Current work at the National Library to improve authority identifers

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