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* Fixes security warnings.

Co-Authored-by: Peter Weber <>

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Copyright (C) 2018-2021 RERO, Copyright (C) 2018-2021 UCLouvain

Table of Content

  1. What is RERO ILS?
  2. Who’s going to run RERO ILS, in which context?
  3. What does RERO ILS?
  4. How to install RERO ILS?
  5. How to contribute to RERO ILS?
  6. The RERO ILS ecosystem

What is RERO ILS?

RERO ILS is an ILS developed by RERO. ILS stands for Integrated Library Service, which can be translated into “a software that helps libraries to do their daily tasks”, such as enriching library collections through the acquisition of documents (books, ebooks, articles, pictures, movies, games, video games, music, music score, and so on), describing them to facilitate their identification and their retrieval through the search feature of the catalog, and of course, providing them to readers, usually called patrons.

RERO is a Swiss network of libraries, which is undergoing a major restructuring, in the framework of the rero21 project. For this project, RERO needs to replace the old proprietary ILS software that is in use and to redirect its effort mainly towards public, school and heritage libraries. Based on its 30 years experience running a library network and all the scripts and side processes that had to be developed around the commercial product, the centrale (the team of librarians and developers that maintain the network at its central office) is developing an open source ILS, to be able to address all the future needs of its partners and customers.

Using the same legacy commercial ILS and interested by the project for its own needs, the libraries of UCLouvain, UNamur and U.Saint-Louis Brussels are contributing to the development of RERO ILS, and are well integrated into the RERO SCRUM processes.

RERO ILS is based on a development framework for information systems such as library management (ILS), institutional repositories, digital libraries and research data management. This framework, developed at CERN is called Invenio.

Who’s going to run RERO ILS, in which context?

RERO ILS is a free software, which means that you are free to copy, modify and distribute it, as long as you respect the AGPLv3 license.

RERO ILS allows a team of library professionals and IT people to provide an ILS as a Service to several library networks through a unique instance (installation) of the software. This is what we call the consortial model feature. Each network, or organisation as we named it, is isolated from the others, but they all share a union catalog, which helps patrons discover documents and allows librarian to share cataloguing effort. Inside an organisation, libraries share most resources and parameters, without preventing specific configurations or restricting the edition of some resources to a single library.

RERO ILS is very much adapted to the needs of the RERO centrale and its partners and customers, both present and future. RERO provides its ILS as a service to every interested library or organisation. But the software can be deployed by other institutions, in different contexts as well, if they can afford the required effort on configuration or development. It could be run for a standalone library in an instance with only one organisation with a single library, but RERO ILS is not designed for that use case. It’s powerful, thus complex.

What does RERO ILS?


RERO ILS is still under heavy development, but it already provides a public interface for visitors and patrons. This interface mainly includes searching features within the catalog, along with a set of other patron-oriented functionalities. It has multiple views, the union catalog view, with all the documents of all the organisations, and a view for each organisation with all the documents belonging to one of its libraries. Patrons are able to place requests on desired items, check their profile, see the list of borrowed items and so on.

Librarians use a professional interface, in which they perform their daily tasks:

  • Administering organisations, libraries, circulation policies.
  • Managing users: patrons, but also librarians and system librarians.
  • Performing circulation tasks, such as checkins, checkouts, renewals, managing requests.
  • Managing patron fees (overdue, subscriptions).
  • Searching for documents, describing documents, linking authorities to documents, importing metadata in MARC format, adding items to documents.
  • Setting serials patterns, receiving issues.
  • Managing acquisition budgets, vendor information, orders and invoices.


The first major release of RERO ILS (v1.0.0) is planned for the end of 2020, and to be live in production in the first half of 2021, with the minimal features needed to run real world networks. Then, the development of RERO ILS will go on to reach full ILS functions, but it will never ends, as long as a software can always be improved and adapted to the need of its users.

How to install RERO ILS?

The installation process is described in a specific file.

For a development environment you can check another documentation.

Check the ecosystem section.

How to contribute to RERO ILS?

You can test the latest release on

If you have questions, you can ask the development team on Gitter.

You can also open an issue.

You can help translating the software on Weblate.

To contribute to the code itself, please check the contributing recommandations.

In case of security issue, please contact the e-mail address provided in the security policy.

The RERO ILS ecosystem

Three GitHub repositories for RERO ILS

The rero-ils GitHub project contains the main projet for RERO ILS, basically providing the backend. To work on the frontend of the project, you also need rero-ils-ui, which is based on ng-core.


The MEF (Multilingual Entity File), provides authorities (or entities) to RERO ILS, in two languages (for now, but others are planned): French and German. This is used to link documents to controlled descriptions of authors and subjects. MEF aggregates several authority files, such as IdRef, BnF, GND and RERO. These authority files are then aligned through VIAF, thus providing multilingual authorities. As of May 2020, only physical persons records have been included in MEF, the other entity types are in preparation.

As a result, in order to run RERO ILS, you need to either use our public MEF server, or run your own.


RERO ILS customers make use of 3rd-party ebook commercial platforms. A dedicated server has been set up for harvesting ebook metadata from those platforms, convert them to RERO ILS's own data model. RERO ILS harvests our ebooks server, importing the metadata into the union catalog, assigning each ebook to the corresponding subscribing libraries.

This server is not publicly accessible. The source code is available on GitHub: rero-ebooks.

You need to prevent your RERO ILS instance to harvest RERO's ebooks server, but you can run your own ebooks server.