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:
Participate in the 2021 International Library Automation Perceptions Survey
Please respond to this year's International Library Automation Survey conducted through Library Technology Guides. The survey measures the levels of satisfaction that libraries have in their strategic technology products and their perceptions of the quality of service and support that they receive. The results of this survey provide valuable information to libraries as they formulate technology strategies and to vendors as they refine their support services and product development.
The report based on the 2020 survey, with links to previous reports is available:
I am now collecting responses for the 2021 edition of the survey. Please take this opportunity to register the perceptions of the library automation system used in your library, its vendor, and the quality of support delivered. The survey also probes at considerations for migrating to new systems, involvement in discovery products, and the level of interest in open source ILS. While the numeric rating scales support the statistical results of the study, the comments offered also provide interesting insights into the current state of library automation satisfaction.
Note: If you have responded to previous editions of the survey, please give your responses again this year. By responding to the survey each year, you help identify long-term trends in the changing perceptions of these companies and products.
As with the previous versions of the survey, only one response per library is allowed and any individual can respond only for one library. These restrictions ensure that no single organization or individual can skew the statistics. While all the individuals that work in a library may have their own opinions, please respond to the extent that you can from the general experiences of your library.
How to participate
The survey links each response to the listing for a library in the libraries.org directory. This connection provides the ability to correlate responses with the extensive library demographic data in libraries.org.
Find your library in libraries.org:
Select and view the listing for your library
Complete the form and write in your comments!
When viewing the entry for your library in the libraries.org directory, please check for any incomplete or inaccurate information and let me know of any needed changes.
If your library isn't listed in libraries.org, please
submit its information.
Looking Back at the Main Events of the Library Technology Industry
The library technology industry has seen profound change during the time that I have been contributing to Smart Libraries Newsletter. This newsletter, like its predecessor Library Systems Newsletter, has chronicled the major and minor events that impact the technology products and services used by libraries. The many news stories published in the newsletter give readers important, current information, but they also help us understand the broad trends transpired over the decades. They give insight on future possibilities, as we project existing trends into the next phases of the industry.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, November 2021)
Social Media Disconnect: Considering the Role of Social Media in Library Marketing Strategies
Libraries naturally want to improve their impact and outreach into the communities they serve. Library marketing strategies often include establishing a presence for the library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, these platforms do not necessarily align well with many key library values (such as patron privacy, community service, and objective content). Libraries that include a social media component in their marketing strategies should carefully assess expected gains in patron engagement relative to the possible intrusions into patron privacy and other negative characteristics.
Francisco Partners, a private equity investment firm focused on technology-based businesses, has acquired Follett School Solutions, whose products include the Destiny Library Manager used by most K–12 school libraries in the United States and the Aspen Student Information System. The company is also a major distributor of print and digital content for educational institutions available through its Titlewave ecommerce platform. Follett School Solutions was previously part of Follett Corporation, a family-owned business tracing its roots to 1873 and owned by the descendants of its founder, Charles W. Follett.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, October 2021)
Clarivate to Acquire ProQuest
The commercial landscape that includes the scholarly communications sector and library systems and services will take new form with the proposed acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate, a large publicly traded company with diverse products and services spanning the scientific research and intellectual property sectors. This $5.3 billion transaction is the largest by far in the library sector.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, July 2021)
Private Equity Firm Francisco Partners to Acquire VitalSource Technologies
Ingram Content Group has entered into a definitive agreement to divest VitalSource Technologies LLC, its business dedicated to electronic textbooks and technologies for the creation of educational resources for academic institutions, corporations, and related organizations. Francisco Partners, a private equity investment firm focused on technology-based companies, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire VitalSource Technologies. The agreement was signed in April 2021 and is expected to close later in the year.
Library Systems Report 2021: Advancing library technologies in challenging times
In a year complicated by a global pandemic, the community of vendors providing technologies to libraries made important strides to meet pressing needs and make ongoing progress in their longer-term initiatives. Though the pandemic disrupted library services—as well as funding—in 2020, concerted efforts were made to fulfill the demands of users to the extent possible. Almost all vendors made sharp turns to expand access to digital collections and services in order to compensate for diminished access to physical materials. Only a few minor acquisitions took place in this deeply consolidated industry last year. Unlike in 2019, none of these transactions altered the overall balance of power among competitors. Vendors made extraordinary efforts to help customer libraries cope with changed services while they continued product development agendas looking beyond current circumstances.
Library Perceptions 2021: Results of the 13th International Survey of Library Automation
This fourteenth iteration of the International Survey of Library Automation was conducted during an extremely challenging period for libraries.
The global COVID-19 pandemic imposed widespread disruption.
Libraries abruptly closed their physical facilities and expanded their digital offerings.
It is not a surprise that the number of responses to the Library Automation Survey were fewer than previous years.
This year 2,849 libraries responded to the survey, a bit lower than the 3,234 recorded last year.
The survey aims to capture meaningful information regarding the core technology systems on which
libraries depend to manage their operations and to deliver access to their collections.
Survey responses suggest ongoing success for Alma among academic libraries,
given its generally respectable satisfaction ratings, strong loyalty scores, and top placement
among migration intentions among libraries planning a change from legacy systems.
Though not yet implemented widely enough to gauge satisfaction,
migration intentions suggest FOLIO as Alma’s strongest competition going forward,
though interest in OCLC WorldShare Management Services and Koha remain strong.
The decline of legacy products accelerates.
Improving satisfaction rankings for both Voyager and Aleph, including rising loyalty scores,
and migration intentions favoring Alma suggest most may stay within the Ex Libris camp,
though many also express interest in FOLIO, WMS, and Koha.
Libraries using Millennium show a continued decline in satisfaction ratings,
loyalty scores, and migration intentions favoring Alma and FOLIO rather than Sierra.
Especially in the academic library sector, the trajectories of libraries moving from legacy
products will shape the next phase of implementations of the current flagship products.
In the public library sector where traditional ILS products prevail,
responses indicate moderate interest in changing to new systems, though with no prevailing indicators of migration targets.
Symphony (17%), Horizon (34%), Polaris (7.3%), Library.Solution (10.3%), Sierra (31%), VERSO (9.8%)
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 (1.1%).
Even through their satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma (3.4%)
and OCLC WorldShare Management Services (8.8%) expressed little interest in changing systems.
Open source products have become 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 academic libraries,
earns superlative scores.
Awareness of the FOLIO library services platform continues to increase with 88 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates.
Even in times of crisis, libraries continue their ongoing processes. System migrations planned or underway generally moved forward,
often with some concessions to accommodate the need conduct the work entirely off site, with vendors and library personnel working remotely.
Libraries continue to make progress in replacing legacy systems and to investigate new products well suited to their operational needs and strategic vision.
Statistical ratings and narrative comments given in survey responses fill in details surrounding the
broader events in the library technology sector, such as Industry consolidation,
open source software initiatives, and the decline of legacy products.
Responses address some key questions:
How are libraries reacting to the dominance of Alma in the academic library sector?
How well does Alma serve smaller academic libraries?
Are there leading indicators that anticipate the acceptance of FOLIO as an open source competitor?
What are the intentions of libraries still using legacy products such as Voyager, Aleph, Virtua, and Millennium?
Trends in survey results over time track the impact of previous industry events on libraries.
The generally negative fallout of the acquisition of SirsiDynix by Vista Equity Partners in 2007
coincided with a sharp plunge in satisfaction ratings for Symphony and Horizon, which have fully
recovered and trended upward since its transition of ownership to ICV Partners.
A dramatic decline in satisfaction ratings for Sierra followed Innovative’s transition to private equity ownership in 2012.
Likewise, Polaris dropped from its previous superlative rankings once it was acquired by Innovative.
In contrast, ratings for Alma continued a gradual improvement since Ex Libris was acquired by ProQuest.
Satisfaction scores for Voyager improved following the acquisition of Endeavor Information Systems by Ex Libris,
following a darker period of ownership by Elsevier.
In this first year since the acquisition of Innovative by ProQuest satisfaction ratings for both Polaris and Sierra both turned upward.
Survey results give early indications of library interest in FOLIO, especially through the migration intention trends.
Several themes are evident in the last few 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 sucessful among larger and more complex
institutions, despite superlative ratings by the small libraries that use them.
Conventional integrated library systems dominate 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 favored proprietary ILS products.
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.
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.
Innovative Interfaces, following its acquisition by ProQuest, has begun to articulate and execute new product strategies to strengthen its position in the industry. The company aims to move forward following a period of under-investment in product development, as seen in recent years. Polaris and Sierra will continue as strategic ILS products, complemented by new patron-facing interfaces and services.
Smarter Libraries through Technology: Consolidation in the Library Materials Management Sector
The commercial realm of materials management incorporates a broad array of technologies that assist libraries with their physical collections and spaces. The traditional core products in this sector enable self-service borrowing of library materials, antitheft or security technologies, and automated materials handling, which includes automated returns, conveyers, and sorting machinery. This technology sector increasingly diverges into new areas that expand libraries' engagement with users within their physical facilities and creating bridges to digital content and services.
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him if you find any errors or omissions.