Brocade Library Services

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Brocade Library Services
Original author(s)University of Antwerp
Developer(s)University of Antwerp, CiBLiS
Initial release1 January 2000; 21 years ago (2000-01-01)
Stable release
4.40 / January 2019; 2 years ago (2019-01)
Written inPython, MUMPS
Operating systemServer: Linux - Client: Operating system independent (web application)
Available inDutch, French, English, … see Features
TypeLibrary and Information science software
LicenceProprietary Commercial software

Brocade Library Services is a web-based library information management System developed by the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) in 1998. Since 2000 the development has been in cooperation with the governmental ICT Agency Cipal Schaubroeck.

Brocade Library Services is designed as a web-based application, sold via a cloud license model. The system is multilingual and uses open source components


The development of Brocade Library Services started at University of Antwerp Library in 1998. The University of Antwerp started using Brocade on 1 January 2000. From 2000 onwards the UAntwerp has been developing the product in co-operation with the governmental ICT Agency Cipal Schaubroeck. The Brocade software uses a central software repository and counts 1 to 2 new releases per year.


Brocade Library Services offers library and archival institutions a complete suite of applications allowing them to:

The networked topology of the application lets libraries work together, share information, share catalogues, while still keeping their own identity and independency when it comes to typical local functions such as acquisition and circulation.

Web based[edit]

Brocade Library Services is a completely web-based application, available anywhere, anyplace and anytime (where an internet connection is available) using standard browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and Chrome. Brocade does not require installation of specific clients on the user’s desktop. Installation of software on local PC’s is kept to a strict minimum: a PDF reader and an application called Localweb which caters for ticket printing and provides basic circulation operations when the network fails.

As the Brocade server is hosted and managed centrally, software updates and system upgrades do not require interaction from the local library staff. Brocade Library Services uses a central software repository from which bug fixes can easily be installed overnight to all Brocade systems. All new releases are also installed centrally from this repository.

Whenever possible Brocade integrates with standard system components often available in the open source community, thus allowing easy integration with other internet based services and applications.


The application is developed with a multilingual approach in mind and can be made available in different languages using built-in translation tables.

Menu driven[edit]

Brocade works via easy-to-use and user-friendly menu structures and navigation toolbars. Pages are presented to the user as simple and easy-to-follow web forms. Pages and menus can be fully customized, according to each library’s needs and preferences.


Brocade Library Services offers a suite of applications tailored to the needs of libraries, documentation centers and archival institutions.


Library materials such as (old) books, periodicals, journal articles, dissertations, audiovisual materials etc. can be described in the catalogue according to international standards such as ISBD and AACR2. Records can be imported/exported according to MARC21 or MODS standards.

Archival materials are added to the database using ISAD(G) guidelines.

Materials held within special collections (manuscripts, photos, letters, …) can be described using the so-called object module, in which these materials are described using specifically tailored metadata schemes.

Authority Control and Thesaurus management[edit]

Brocade Library Services uses authority control for the input of entities such as personal names, corporate names (institutions, organizations), subject classification (UDC, DDC), thesaurus terms, geographical names (cities, countries) etc. The authority control for archival descriptions is based on the ISAAR standard.

Circulation and patron management[edit]

Library materials can be circulated to patrons using the circulation module. This module also caters for the loan, renewal and return of library materials. Librarians can use Brocade for sending overdue notices (by surface mail, e-mail or SMS) and calculate fines. For each library in the network the circulation module can be configured in a different way so that even in complex library networks the module behaves according to local policies. Brocade uses the SIP2 protocol to communicate with self-service circulation terminals.

Acquisition and subscription control[edit]

Within the acquisition module libraries can manage their funds and suppliers, place orders for books and periodicals and manage the subscriptions (predict the arrival of individual volumes and issues based on prediction and frequency patterns).

Electronic Resource Management (ERM)[edit]

More and more books and journals are published electronically: libraries do no longer hold the material in their physical form, but sign license agreements with publishers and agencies for the distribution of electronic resources to their users. The ERM module helps libraries to manage their license agreements and the electronic content covered by these.

Public catalogue[edit]

End users can search the catalogue (OPAC – Online Public Access Catalogue) to find both physical and electronic materials held by the library. The catalogue can be offered in different ways (simple search, advanced search, browsing, facets) and it is possible to create separate specialized catalogues for specific collections such as dissertations, e-resources, audiovisual materials, …). Brocade Library Services can easily integrate with discovery tools such as Aquabrowser.

Institutional repository[edit]

Brocade Library Services can be used to establish an institutional repository of scholarly publications (journal articles, book chapters, books, reviews, proceedings). It can integrate with applications such as DSpace for the publication of the repository on the web and for harvesting data through the use of the OAI-PMH protocol.


Brocade offers a MyLibrary application: using a personal userid and password library end users can access this application to check their loans, renew the loan, enter stack requests, order documents from other libraries, place hold on documents, review their alerting profile and change their personal settings.

Digital platform[edit]

Libraries that have scanned (part of their) book collections – especially books from the hand press period – can use the so-called digital platform to let their users discover and navigate digitized materials.

Archival descriptions[edit]

Archival records can be described according to international standards such as ISAD(G) and ISAAR(CPF). Brocade supports EAD and EAC formats for exchange of ISAD records and ISAAR authorities. Last but not least: individual items such as manuscripts, letters, photographs, audiovisual materials, legal documents, logbooks, ... can be described separately using different metadata schemes. Items can be linked to archival descriptions and can be exported in Dublin Core. You can also use the item description module to describe heritage collections independently from archival descriptions.

Helpdesk and Infodesk[edit]

The helpdesk module streamlines the communication between the Brocade support team and library management. The infodesk streamlines the communication between end users and the library. Both desks operate in the same way: users can submit questions using a submission form or by sending an e-mail. The messages are received by Brocade and stored in the helpdesk application. From there helpdesk executives can manage the requests (solve the problem immediately or submit the question to a colleague). Each sender is kept up-to-date on the status of his request by e-mails generated by the system.


Target customers for Brocade are libraries (public libraries, academic and education libraries, special libraries), museums, documentation centres and archival organisations.

The Brocade system has been implemented in various libraries in Belgium, The Netherlands and South Africa. In South Africa, Brocade Library Services is branded as SLIMS (SITA Library Information Management System) and is implemented in partnership with SITA (the South African State Information Technology Agency). The “installed base” of Brocade includes (situation January 2017):

Anet library network (Belgium) hosted by the UAntwerp[edit]

Academic libraries

Special libraries of the city of Antwerp

Other special libraries

  • Bibliotheek Museum Schone Kunsten – Antwerpen
  • Stedelijke Erfoedbibliotheek en Stadsarchief Mechelen
  • Bibliotheek Orde van Advocaten – Antwerpen
  • Theologisch en Pastoraal Centrum – Antwerpen
  • Iedereen Leest / Focuspunt Jeugdliteratuur
  • Koninklijke Apothekersvereniging van Antwerpen
  • International Peace Information Service
  • Abdij Tongerlo
  • RoSa vzw
  • Vlaams Architectuurinstituut

Libraries hosted by Cipal Schaubroeck[edit]

National ministries and departments

  • Union Catalogue of the Belgian Federal Libraries (Belgian Ministries)
  • Federal Department “ Personnel and Organisation”
  • Court of First Instance Ghent
  • Library of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (Quetelet fund)
  • Library School of Ghent

Public libraries in Flanders : 47 Belgian municipalities use Brocade (located in the Province of Antwerp and Limburg)

Provincial libraries – Belgium

  • Provincial Library System of the Province of Antwerp
  • Antwerp Provincial Library Services
    • Provincial Safety Institute PVI Antwerp
    • Provincial Recreation Centre Zilvermeer
    • Provincial Documentation Centre Atlas (DocAtlas)

Libraries in the Netherlands

  • Bibliocenter – Public Libraries Weert region
  • Karmac – libraries Waterland, Buren, Bibliobussen

Libraries in South-Africa hosted by SITA[edit]

Brocade Library Services is the market leading Library Management System in South Africa. Numerous Public libraries, Provincial Library Services and Education Libraries are automated using Brocade in the whole country: in Eastern Cape Province, Kwazulu Natal Province, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga Province, Northern Cape Province, North-West Province, Western Cape Province and Free State Province.

Technical specifications[edit]

Programming language (primarily)[edit]



External links[edit]