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:
Library Systems Report 2020: Fresh opportunities amid consolidation
The library technology industry took some significant turns in 2019. Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, acquired Innovative Interfaces and shifted the balance of power, strengthening Ex Librisís position in technology for academic libraries and propelling it as a major player in public libraries. This move narrows the slate of competitors in an industry already offering few viable options for many libraries. Technology for public library automation has been mired in stagnation. It takes a substantial level of development to both maintain existing products and build next-generation technologies for the emerging realities of a given library sector. Will Ex Libris opt to invent a new platform for public libraries, as it did for academics? How it responds may shape whether we see ongoing stasis or a new phase of innovation. Consolidation can also accelerate the development of alternatives. Concern about the lack of options for academic libraries was a factor in the launch of the open source FOLIO project. This year FOLIO became more real when a library moved it into production for the first time; a cadre of major libraries is poised for implementation. Success among these early sites will shape whatever position FOLIO might hold in the next phase of academic library technologies. New product categories have begun to emerge. Many companies look beyond the library as their sole audience for development and create products targeting their parent institutions or communities. Recent efforts include tech products that support teaching, such as reading-list applications, discovery services for open educational resources, and support for application program interfaces (APIs) and protocols that connect the library with student information systems. Interest in support services for higher-education research has increased. Research information systems have been available for quite some time, but this new wave of products positions libraries as research stakeholders.
(American Libraries, May 1, 2020)
EBSCO Information Services Acquires Zepheira
Zepheira, a company that has played a prominent role in the promotion and implementation of linked data to libraries and related institutions, has been acquired by EBSCO Information Services.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, April 2020)
Library Perceptions 2020: Results of the 13th International Survey of Library Automation
The thirteenth edition of the International Survey of Library Automation presents the latest data on how libraries perceive the effectiveness of the strategic technology systems upon which they depend for their daily operations and to fulfill the expectations of their patrons. This report presents and interprets survey responses gathered from November 2019 through February 2020. Repeating the survey annually reveals interesting trends and insights into the companies and products involved. The survey focuses primarily on integrated library systems and library services platforms as the applications used to acquire, describe, manage, and provide access to their collections. It also assesses the quality of support given from the respective vendor and probes interest in migrating to new solutions and attitudes toward open source alternatives.
|Survey responses suggest possible trends in the next phase of system selections for academic libraries. Ex Libris Alma continues to be recognized for its sophisticated capabilities, especially among large and mid-sized institutions. OCLC WorldShare Management Services is well regarded among mid-sized academics. An increasing number of academic libraries mention interest in FOLIO as it enters the implementation phase of its product cycle.|
|The migration away from legacy ILS products is in full swing. Most libraries using Millennium, Voyager, and Aleph noted they are considering moving to new systems. The number of libraries using these legacy products continues to diminish rapidly and will fuel the churn of the next round of system selections.|
|Academic libraries considering migration mention Alma as one of their replacement candidates more than any other product, though interest in FOLIO continues to build.|
|Products with steady or rising satisfaction scores and high migration indicators include Ex Libris Aleph, Ex Libris Voyager, SirsiDynix Horizon, suggesting a higher likelihood that these libraries will choose thier next system from their incumbent vendor. Both Millennium and Sierra show diminishing satisfaction scores, high migration indicators, and diminishing company loyalty ratings, suggesting interest in moving away from the current vendor to other alternatives.|
|Libraries using traditional ILS products expressed varying levels of interest in migrating to new products. About 15 percent of those on currently supported products, including Symphony and Library.Solution, indicated they were looking for a new system.|
|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. Even through their satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma and OCLC WorldShare Management Services expressed little interest in changing systems.|
|Open source products have been adopted in all library sectors. Both major open source ILS products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, with variance depending on support arrangements. Awareness of the FOLIO library services platform continues to increase with 104 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates.|
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.
(Library Technology Guides, March 5, 2020)
Consolidation Takes a New Form: BiblioCommons Acquired by Constellation Software
BiblioCommons, a Toronto-based company providing a suite of applications and interfaces for public libraries, has been acquired by Volaris Group, one of six operating companies of Constellation Software, Inc. BiblioCommons has become established as a major force in the public library sector, and its products have been implemented by an impressive list of libraries and consortia in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This transaction marks a departure from its status as a founder-owned company. Though BiblioCommons will continue to operate independently, it now falls under the ownership of a large multinational technology firm managing a diverse portfolio of technology and software companies. But unlike general private equity firms, Constellation has never sold the companies it acquires.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, March 2020)
OverDrive to Change Ownership
OverDrive, the largest commercial provider of e-books and other digital content to libraries, issued a Christmas Eve announcement of its pending change in ownership. The company's current owner Rakuten has entered into a definitive agreement to sell OverDrive to KKR, a major US-based investment firm. As digital lending continues its steady rise, this news sparks interest and raises questions for the library community.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, February 2020)
Ex Libris Completes Sweep of Higher Education in California
Ex Libris has now sold its Alma library services platform to all three of the public higher educational systems in California. A recent announcement from the Systemwide Integrated Library System taskforce of the University of California libraries announced the final selection of Alma and Primo from Ex Libris, now part of ProQuest. The University of California system joins the California State University System and the Consortium of Community Colleges in the selection of Alma to provide shared infrastructure for the management of their collections and Primo for discovery and access. Each of these projects on its own would be considered massive; together these three systems represent an unprecedented level of involvement by the libraries in a single governmental jurisdiction with a single vendor.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, February 2020)
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.