Library Technology Guides

Documents, Databases, News, and Commentary

Library Technology Guides provides comprehensive and objective information surrounding the many different types of technology products and services used by libraries. It covers the organizations that develop and support library-oriented software and systems. The site offers extensive databases and document repositories to assist libraries as they consider new systems and is an essential resource for professionals in the field to stay current with new developments and trends. Relevant news items are posted daily on Twitter:

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2022 Library Systems Report: An industry disrupted

2022 Library Systems Report: An industry disrupted

Events of the last year have reshaped the library technology industry. Previous rounds of acquisitions pale in comparison to the acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate, which has propelled the leading library technology provider into the broader commercial sector of scholarly communications. This deal signals that the gap in size among vendors is widening, as ProQuest businesses Ex Libris and Innovative Interfaces also join Clarivate. The emergence of such a large business at the top of the industry has accelerated consolidation among mid-level players that aim to increase scale and efficiency to remain competitive. This was a banner year for consolidation of midsize competitors, with more acquisitions than any prior year. These deals raise concerns about weakened competition, but they may also enable new industry dynamics that will spark innovation and synergy within the broader research and education landscape. Small companies with visions for innovation often lack the resources to deliver, which larger companies can provide. Increased investor and stockholder involvement, however, translates into pressure to maximize profits and growth. The way these competing dynamics play out has important implications for libraries.

(American Libraries, May 2022)

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Discoverability of Library Collections

Discoverability of Library Collections

Libraries want their collections to be easily accessed by their communities. They provide catalogs or discovery services through their websites to enable efficient ways to search, request, or download materials. It's also important to enable convenient access to library materials to those that begin from Google or other popular web destinations. Multiple technologies and services help their patrons find and access items in a library's collection. Library catalogs have long been the primary tool for search and access of library collections, and continually strive to be more effective and easier to use. For most libraries, the online catalog provides comprehensive coverage of all items in the collection, including owned and licensed materials. Online catalogs have evolved to become easier to use and to address all aspects of library collections, including print, electronic, and digital materials. Libraries also benefit from additional pathways to their collections. The concept of discoverability considers other ways to access library materials other than the traditional catalogs and discovery services.

(Library Technology Newsletter, April 2022)

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Library Perceptions 2022: Results of the 15th International Survey of Library Automation

Library Perceptions 2022: Results of the 15th International Survey of Library Automation

The International Survey of Library Automation provides a unique opportunity for libraries to evaluate their core technology systems, their associated vendors, and to offer their views on relevant topics and trends. This fifteenth edition of the survey received 2,790 responses. The 43,049 cumulative responses received since 2007 document important and interesting trends related to key technology products and vendors.

The technology needs of libraries very according to their type and size. The survey segments responses to better assess each product within relevant groups. Each annual survey provides a snapshot of the perceived capabilities of each product, and to develop ongoing trendlines of performance.

Notable Observations
The decline of legacy products among academic libraries accelerates, with 17% considering plans to migrate. Reasonably high satisfaction rankings for both Voyager and Aleph, strong loyalty scores, and migration intentions favoring Alma suggest most may stay within the Ex Libris camp. Interest in FOLIO continues to increase, suggesting that FOLIO may be Alma’s main competitor in the next phase of migrations. Academic libraries considering migration continue to mention WMS as a candidate, but at a lower level than Alma or FOLIO. Survey data suggests that the transition from the remaining libraries to library services platforms will continue, with an interesting mix of selections divided among Alma, FOLIO, and WMS, as well as some moving to open source combinations such as Koha and Corel.
In the public library sector where traditional ILS products prevail, responses indicate a lower level of interest in changing to new systems (6%), with no prevailing indicators of migration targets. Libraries interested in migration mention a variety of replacement candidates, including Koha (13), Polaris (8), Symphony (6); Apollo (7), Atriuum (6), Evergreen (3), OCLC Wise (3), and VERSO (1). The absence of alternatives perceived as substantially better than the prevailing ILS products suppresses the churn of migrations, compared to the academic sector that has seen well-defined migration patterns toward library services platforms.
Libraries using modern web-based products have little interest in changing systems. Biblionix Apollo received high satisfaction scores and very few libraries using it are considering alternatives (2.7%). Even through their satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma (4.3%) and OCLC WorldShare Management Services (9.7%) expressed little interest in changing systems. Only 2.8% of libraries using Koha with support from ByWater Solutions indicated plans to change. No libraries using Atriuum from Book Systems reported plans to migrate.
Open source products are a routine option in all library sectors. Both major open source ILS products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, though a bit uneven depending on support arrangements. OPALS used mostly in school and very small academic libraries, earns superlative scores. Implementations of the FOLIO library services platform are underway and interest in new implementations continues to increase with 86 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates. Narrative comments suggested that many libraries avoid open source products due to a perception that they would need more staff with technical skills.
Most academic libraries have implemented an index-based discovery service. New survey questions this year show little perceived differentiation among these products in their effectiveness for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members. The comprehensiveness of coverage was also perceived as similar; A slightly higher portion of academic libraries perceived that OCLC WorldShare Management Services gave more objective results without bias to content providers. Only a small number of responses indicated awareness of the Open Discovery Initiative or that they used it in selecting their discovery service.

The satisfaction ratings and narrative comments gauge library reactions surrounding the broader events in the industry, such as consolidation, open source initiatives, and the decline of legacy products. Earlier years of the survey reflect the negative impact the private equity acquisitions on SirsiDynix and Innovative. More recently we can see that libraries reacted mostly positively to major consolidations such as ProQuest acquiring Ex Libris and Innovative from their previous private equity owners. Future surveys may reveal the impact of Clarivate’s acquisition of ProQuest.

Survey responses give a glimpse into ongoing migration trends. Academic libraries are shifting away from integrated library systems to library services platforms, with Ex Libris Alma leading the pack, followed by OCLC WorldShare Management Services. FOLIO is now poised to enter this competition, with survey results showing strong interest, though there are still too few implementations to gauge satisfaction. Public libraries show substantially different patterns, with higher interest in migrating, but with less pronounced preferences for replacement products.

(Library Technology Guides, March 30, 2021)

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EBSCO Information Services Launches New Search Service

EBSCO launched a new search service designed as a starting point for research, emphasizing convenient access to open access materials. EBSCO Essentials is available to anyone regardless of affiliation. It provides a search tool for the general public that guides them to the full text of authoritative resources published as open access. The service also serves as a channel toward library-provided resources. Search results also list citations for resources restricted to subscribers. To gain access to these restricted resources, visitors can search for and connect through their library, using their library-assigned sign-in credentials.

(Library Technology Newsletter, March 2022)

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OverDrive launches Patron Engagement Tools

OverDrive, a major provider of digital media services for libraries, has launched OverDrive Hub, a set of tools designed to provide new channels of communication with library patrons, along with additional analytics to measure use and engagement.

(Library Technology Newsletter, March 2022)

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Open Systems in the age of Library Services Platforms: Meeting expectations for interoperability and extensibility

Open systems allow organizations to gain access to data and to create new functionality beyond what is directly delivered in an application. Libraries expect their systems to come with robust functionality accessed via the built-in user interfaces. Beyond these user interfaces, most organizations also need to move data in and out of their applications through automated scripts or through real-time interactions with other systems. Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are the technical mechanism expected in modern software applications to enable interoperability, access to data, and to support the creation of scripts or modules to perform related functions.

(Library Technology Guides, March 2022)

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Looking Toward the Next Phase of Library Systems

Looking Toward the Next Phase of Library Systems

Libraries have benefited from technology systems for more than half a century. Computerized systems were developed to automate circulation, cataloging, serials, and other library activities in the mid-to-late 1970s, with some earlier precursors. Since that time, library systems have continuously evolved, driven by the advances in technology architectures, changes in the operational priorities of libraries, and the business environment. These factors will continue to shape future generations of library systems.

(Computers in Libraries, March 2022)

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ProQuest merges into Clarivate: an update on business integration

The acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate rattled the library industry, in a bold move that further deepens consolidation. This $5.3 billion transaction brings ProQuest under the umbrella of Clarivate, a major force in the scholarly communications and intellectual property business sectors. Though not a primary publisher, Clarivate offers key content and analytics products including Web of Science, ScholarOne, Publons, InCites analytics, and Endnote. Clarivate competes with Elsevier and Digital Science as a workflow and analytics provider in the scholarly communications business ecosystem. By acquiring ProQuest, Clarivate extends its product strategy to include core library technologies as well as a major portfolio of database and content products. This acquisition moves ProQuest into the ranks of publicly traded companies. The merger was pitched to investors as saving $100 million in operational expenses across the two companies. Libraries naturally have an interest in seeing how these savings are accomplished.

(Library Technology Newsletter, February 2022)

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Soutron Global merges Businesses

Soutron Global, a company that specializes in technology products and services for corporate, law, and other special libraries, entered into a new business arrangement. This transaction combined two related companies, Soutron Limited, based in the United Kingdom and Soutron Global, based in the United States. Bloom Equity Partners gains majority ownership of the company through a new investment. Soutron Global founder Tony Saadat will hold a minority ownership stake in the combined company which he will lead as Chief Executive Officer.

(Library Technology Newsletter, February 2022)

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Caveat and Credit

Library Technology Guides was created and is edited by Marshall Breeding. He is solely responsible for all content on this site, and for any errors it may contain. Please notify him if you find any errors or omissions.

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