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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Library Perceptions 2023: Results of the sixteenth International Survey of Library Automation
|Interest continues to build for open source products, especially FOLIO and Koha. The migration intentions given by libraries using legacy products mention FOLIO more than other products. Libraries using Sierra seem especially interest in open source options, with 48 mentioning FOLIO as a consideration and 22 mentioning Koha. Open source products are a routine option for public and school libraries as well. Both Koha and Evergreen show increasing levels of satisfaction, though some support providers receive higher scores than others. OPALS used mostly in school and very small academic libraries, earns superlative scores.|
|About 6 percent of academic libraries signal interest in migrating to a new system, mostly from those remaining on legacy ILS products, but also from those that have been using a library service platform for a decade that are reviewing options. Academic libraries showed increasing interest in migrating from 2007 through 2014, with steadily declining interest since. The launch of Alma and WorldShare Management Services in 2011 sparked great interest, which peaked in 2015. After that year the percent of academic libraries considering migrating diminished as large portions of these libraries had moved to a library services platform and were well occupied in implementing and optimizing those new installations.|
|The satisfaction scores given to Alma are moderate, consistent with those given by large and complex libraries. Only a handful of libraries indicate interest in changing to another product. Of libraries considering migrating from legacy products, Alma continues to be listed as a migration candidate, though even more mentioned FOLIO this year. Alma receives higher marks for its functionality for the management of electronic resources than for print. Since academic libraries generally spend most of their collection budgets on electronic resources, weaker capabilities for managing print does not seem to detract substantially from the overall satisfaction levels for Alma.|
|Implementations of the FOLIO are underway and interest in new implementations continues to increase with 102 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.|
|The portion of public libraries considering system replacement has declined steadily since the first year of the survey. The high interest among public libraries in migration during the early years of the survey was driven by the industry turmoil. Since about 2015, public library interest in migrations has steadily declined, possibly due to the lack of compelling alternatives. This year only 4 percent of public libraries expressed interest in changing systems. The proprietary and open source ILS products used by public libraries are mature and increasingly less differentiated.|
|Academic libraries showed increasing interest in migrating from 2007 through 2014, with steadily declining interest since. The launch of Alma and WorldShare Management Services in 2011 sparked great interest, which peaked in 2015. Academic libraries considering migrating diminished since most have moved to library services platforms. About 6 percent of academic libraries continue to show interest in migrating, mostly from those remaining on legacy ILS products and those that have been using a library service platform for a decade that are reviewing options. Both public and academic libraries stated less interest in changing systems in 2021, due to the disruptions of the pandemic.|
No library management product can be expected to work well for all libraries. Public, academic, school, and special libraries each have distinctive characteristics relative to the types of material in their collections and in the services they provide. The type, size, and overall complexity are important factors when considering the technology products and services best suited for any given library. Accordingly this survey segments responses into categories determined by library type and collection size to assess each product within relevant peer groups. Each annual survey provides a snapshot of the perceived capabilities of each product, and uses results from previous years to identify trends regarding the satisfaction and performance of the products their vendors.
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, for example, reflected the negative impact the private equity acquisitions on SirsiDynix and Innovative. More recently survey responses inferred that libraries reacted mostly positively to ProQuest acquiring Ex Libris and Innovative from their previous private equity owners. This year's survey results give early indications on whether library satisfaction of the products of Ex Libris and Innovative are different under the ownership of Clarivate.
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 has fully entered the competition, with survey results showing strong interest, though there are still too few implementations to gauge satisfaction. Public libraries show substantially different patterns, with lower levels of interest in migrating to new systems.
Several themes pervade all editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Presenting results without regard to size categories would give misleading impressions. Products designed for small libraries would not be successful among larger and more complex institutions, despite superlative ratings by the small libraries that use them.
In the current environment, the capabilities of the product and the quality of services from the vendor matter more than license models. Conventional integrated library systems prevail in public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also gave excellent marks to proprietary ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal notable patterns regarding library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are not rated as highly for managing print resources than legacy ILS products.
(Library Technology Guides, May 5, 2023)
GALILEO selects EBSCO FOLIO with support from EBSCO Information Services
Following an extensive procurement process, GALILEO has selected EBSCO FOLIOopens new tab and ReShare supported by EBSCO Information Servicesopens new tab for the shared system supporting the 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Archives to replace its current Ex Libris Alma implementation. This announcement marks the only large-scale implementation of Alma to migrate to another platform. It further reinforces the momentum gained by EBSCO FOLIO in the last year, following its selection by the Library of Congress and the MOBIUS consortium.
(Library Technology Newsletter, April 2023)
Follett Corporation History: the evolution and devolution of a family business
A detailed history of the Follett Corporation covering events from the antecedent businesses, though its expansion through the creation of multiple subsidiaries to address new areas of business, and its ultimate demise through the divestiture of its primary businesses. The underlying businesses continue under the ownership of new investment groups.
(Library Technology Newsletter, January 2023)
Baker & Taylor services disrupted by ransomware attack
Baker & Taylor, a major distributor of books and other content to libraries experienced a ransomware attack on about August 22, 2022, disrupting its services, including the Title Source 360 ecommerce system that libraries use to place orders for material and the EDI services used for automated transactions with library systems. The Axis 360 ebook service was not impacted. The outage of Title Source 360 was restored on the morning of September 7, ending a 17-day outage.
(Library Technology Newsletter, August 2022)
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, May 2022)
OCLC sues Clarivate over MetaDoor and its use of WorldCat records
OCLC filed a lawsuit against Clarivate and its subsidiaries demanding that Ex Libris cease promoting MetaDoor in a way that causes its member libraries to violate policies and contracts related to records in WorldCat. The complaint, filed on June 13, 2022, claims that Ex Libris is prompting OCLC members to share collection data that includes WorldCat records to MetaDoor in a way that violates OCLC policies and the terms of subscription contracts. OCLC asserts that MetaDoor takes unfair advantage of its long history of building WorldCat as a near-comprehensive bibliographic database. Further, OCLC states that Ex Libris offering MetaDoor as a free service is an anticompetitive strategy that endangers its very existence. This article presents the basic statements related to the complaint without opinion or commentary.
(Library Technology Newsletter, Jun 2022)
Disruption in the library bibliographic services arena
Bibliographic services represent a critical component of the library information ecosystem. Since the earlies phases of library automation, many vendors and organizations have developed processes to enable libraries to create records to describe items in their collections and to share them among peer institutions to avoid redundant efforts. OCLC's WorldCat and its Cataloging and Metadata Services represent the culmination of many of efforts into a global ecosystem for bibliographic records and authority control. Though OCLC ranks as the dominant provider, other services are available and new initiatives are underway. How libraries create and share the records that describe collection items has recently erupted into controversy. Two major industry giants are now pitted against each other in a legal dispute over accusations of anti-competitive business practices and on the extent to which bibliographic records can be shared among libraries.
(Library Technology Newsletter, June 2022)
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)
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.
|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)
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.