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Workflows across Systems: Innovation



Building interoperability into our systems requires partnering and collaboration — working together across stakeholder groups to develop useful approaches. What are the best ways to innovate? Are there better ways of exchanging data and information? What’s required to build those?  How can partners work together to engineer systems that operate with integrity and protect data privacy? How can we avoid duplication of efforts across a community as broad as ours? This webinar will look at the possibilities for innovations in interoperability between both internal and externally-facing information systems, identifying both the challenges and also the opportunities for creative solutions and new priorities. 

Confirmed participants in this Roundtable include:

  • Scott Bernier, Senior Vice President, Marketing, EBSCO;
  • Peter Murray, Open Source Community Advocate, Index Data;
  • Rachel Vacek, Head of Design and Discovery, University of Michigan;
  • Janetta Waterhouse, Director of Technical Services and Library Systems. University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York;
  • Josh Weisman, Vice President, Development, ExLibris. 

Event Sessions

Roundtable Discussion


Rachel Vacek

Head of Design and Discovery
University of Michigan Library

Jan Waterhouse

Director of Technical Services & Library Systems
University at Albany

Moderated by Todd Carpenter, the day's discussion touched on the following:

  1. The pandemic continues to require adaptations of existing practices and systems. What impact has your organization felt from the pandemic or shifts in demands made of systems or exposed vulnerabilities in workflows? Are you seeing behavioral changes or changes in the expectations of users, clients, administrators? What trends that you may have seen?
  2. Working remotely, trying to adapt, driving towards greater interoperability, such shifts require collaboration between individuals and between teams in terms of problem-solving or identifying solutions. Can you talk a bit about what shifts you’ve seen and what that may have meant for your organization?
  3. Libraries have different degrees of autonomy in determining what system customizations they would find useful and in the available internal capabilities and resources for handling those kinds of customizations for themselves. What does that imply for innovation at the institutional level? What strains are being placed on the institution when we talk about innovation and integration of systems?  Is open source a solution for everyone?
  4. Systems currently use increasingly sophisticated APIs to exchange information. What are the challenges for libraries in that context? Is there a need for content providers to provide greater support for use of APIs to individual institutions or to the broader information community? Do providers need to work towards a better balance between those customers looking for off-the-shelf software/services that deploy seamlessly and easily with the needs of customers who want more?
  5. What about less-well established content environments? Where do institutional repositories fit in this discussion? What might be needed to more deeply integrate those hosting platforms and make them more recognizable and useful? 
  6. What is the potential for empowering users in this environment? What type of work might libraries and providers be doing to support researchers?
  7. What approaches might institutions, consortia, content and service providers adopt in finding the partners or the expertise that they really need? What are the stumbling blocks or the barriers to building greater system interoperability? 
  8. What steps could the community be taking to create a better workflow and a better user experience?

Additional Information

NISO assumes organizations register as a group. The model assumes that an unlimited number of staff will be watching the live broadcast in a single location, but also includes access to an archived recording of the event for those who may have timing conflicts. 

NISO understands that, during the current pandemic, staff at a number of organizations may be practicing safe social distancing or working remotely. To accommodate those workers, we are allowing registrants to share the sign-on instructions with all colleagues so that they may join the broadcast directly. 

Registrants receive sign-on instructions via email on the Friday prior to the virtual event. If you have not received your instructions by the day before an event, please contact NISO headquarters for assistance via email ( 

Registrants for an event may cancel participation and receive a refund (less $35.00) if the notice of cancellation is received at NISO HQ ( one full week prior to the event date. If received less than 7 days before, no refund will be provided. 

Links to the archived recording of the broadcast are distributed to registrants 24-48 hours following the close of the live event. Access to that recording is intended for internal use of fellow staff at the registrant’s organization or institution. Speaker presentations are posted to the NISO event page.

Broadcast Platform

NISO uses the Zoom platform for purposes of broadcasting our live events. Zoom provides apps for a variety of computing devices (tablets, laptops, etc.) To view the broadcast, you will need a device that supports the Zoom app. Attendees may also choose to listen just to audio on their phones. Sign-on credentials include the necessary dial-in numbers, if that is your preference. Once notified of their availability, recordings may be downloaded from the Zoom platform to your machine for local viewing.