Formerly known as The United Kingdom Office for Library and Information Networking, UKOLN was a centre of expertise in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information, education and cultural heritage communities. UKOLN was based at the University of Bath and was funded by the JISC as well as project funding from JISC and the European Union, until 31 July 2013 when funding ceased.
UKOLN was established in 1989, although the organisation traces its roots back to 1977 with the foundation, by the British Library, of the Centre for Catalogue Research. Between 1994 and 2000, the Director of UKOLN was Lorcan Dempsey.
In May 2013 an article published in the Times Higher Education announced that "16 of its 24 University of Bath-based staff [were made] redundant after the cessation of a £622,000 annual grant from the higher education technology body Jisc".
Although UKOLN continued after 31 July 2013 it was significantly reduced in size and was no longer working in many of the areas which were responsible for its visibility in national and international arenas. UKOLN's Director departed without replacement in late 2013. The remaining UKOLN staff are to be made redundant in July 2015, marking the closure of UKOLN after 26 years.
UKOLN's main work traditionally included:
- influencing policy and informing practice
- promoting community-building and consensus making by actively raising awareness
- advancing knowledge through research and development
- building innovative systems and services based on Web technologies
- acting as an agent for knowledge transfer.
Its specialist areas included metadata and interoperability. It also published the Ariadne (Web magazine), targeted principally at information science professionals in academia, archives, libraries and museums. UKOLN also organised many events, including the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop.
- UKOLN Diaspora site
- UKOLN Annual Report 1995-6 contains a brief history of UKOLN
- Ukoln hit by job losses as Jisc removes funding, Chris Parr, Times Higher Education, 9 May 2013.
- UKOLN Diaspora history
- Farewell to Liz Lyon