How to look at library software implementations through a new lens – and see something UNEXPECTED!

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Library Services Centre


Billingham, L. & Teow, P.L. (2016, July). How to look at library software implementations through a new lens – and see something UNEXPECTED! Paper presented at the ALIA WA Symposium, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Available here.


This paper reports on the first stages of implementation of OCLC WorldShare next-generation library management system, plus eReserve e-reading management system in Edith Cowan University (ECU) Library, Perth, Western Australia.

In 2015, ECU Library was given the budget to purchase these two systems. Implementation has started, and will finish in late 2016. This provided the opportunity to use Actor-Network Theory (ANT) to assess the successes and trajectories of these projects. This paper is the start of a larger assessment of the project using

All four ANT stages. It will report on the combined implementations of a new next - generation library management system, plus e - reading management system - using the first three ANT stages (the fourth being mobilisation):

  • Problemisation: Where Library Executive decided that our current LMS and e-reading management system do not support our future vision for system delivery, and that ECU needs to purchase new systems. This was promoted to IT Service Centre (ITSC) Executive, and ECU Executive, as well as the other Library staff.

  • Interessement: Once announcement was made. This is where Library Executive enlisted help from Library staff, ITSC Executive, and ECU Executive to assist in choosing a supplier for the new systems.

  • Enrolment: Where roles in the implementation teams are identified, assigned and accepted.

Overall, we believe ANT is a useful tool for analysing the project success, as it focuses on efficiency of actors translation (e.g. project participants). As stated by Lee and Hassard (1999), an effective project is one in which network translations result in actor convergence around stable goals – goals that are, from ANT’s perspective, held stable by the actor-network.

Further research includes following the project through to its conclusion at the end of 2016, for a fuller analysis to be conducted, including how well the project objective was achieved, and any positive and negative factors highlighted by ANT. This could be maintenance of the network through changes in personnel, and further convergence and sense-making by the project teams to focus on the project vision.

Access Rights



Article Location