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: Cycles of innovation
The library technology field continues to see modest growth overall, though that growth is unevenly distributed among companies. Large companies with expanding portfolios of products and services are giving new shape to the landscape. Despite the dominance of a few globally diverse and large companies, midsized and small companies continue to hold their own and in some cases thrive. Massive companies such as Follett, ProQuest/Ex Libris, and EBSCO represent formidable competition for any challenger in their markets. SirsiDynix and Innovative Interfaces continue to retain and attract diverse libraries to their evolving integrated library system (ILS)–centric product portfolios.
It's a complex industry, with different business and technology trends running simultaneously, often along divergent paths. Economic prospects are low risk, with adequate room for new business opportunities. It is an industry of established companies and few start-ups. It resists new entrants or even the advancement of local or regional companies to the global sphere. The global market for library companies must be seen in the context of client saturation. Almost all libraries that fall within the ranks of eligible customers have at least some level of automation infrastructure in place. In such a zero-sum economy, the success of one company comes at the direct expense of another.
(American Libraries, May 1, 2019)
Perceptions 2018: An International Survey of Library Automation
This twelfth 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 2018 through February 2019. 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.
|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.|
|Academic libraries considering migration mention Alma as one of their replacement candidates almost three times more than any other product.|
|Products with steady or rising satisfaction scores and high migration indicators include Ex Libris Aleph, Ex Libris Voyager, SirsiDynix Horizon. Innovative Millennium has diminishing satisfaction scores and high migration indicators.|
|Larger proportions of libraries using flagship ILS products registered interest in new products. About 20 percent of libraries using Library.Solution, Sierra, and Symphony are considering replacements.|
|Biblionix Apollo received high satisfaction scores and very few libraries using it are considering alternatives. Even through its satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma registered a very low level of interest in changing systems.|
|Both major open source products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, with variance depending on support arrangements. Awareness of FOLIO continues to increase with 65 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates.|
3,549 libraries completed this year's survey, providing sufficient data to focus the analysis more on each category of library type and size rather than aggregating across all responses. Libraries of different sizes and types bring different expectations to their systems, making it essential to segment survey results to make meaningful comparisons and extract trends. The functional requirements of public, academic, school, and other types of libraries overlap to a certain extent, but in other areas each has distinctive, if not contradictory, functionality. Some of the products represented in the survey have been designed for specific sectors. For those used by multiple types of libraries, the analysis of the survey results by size and type of organization provides an opportunity to observe any differences in satisfaction across these categories.
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. 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 interesting patterns regarding the newer generation of library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are perceived as less capable 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.
I appreciate the time given by all the libraries that responded to the survey this year and in its previous iterations. Each response contributes to a growing body of data available for the broader library community to explore as they consider their options regarding these strategic technology products. Libraries have always relied on recommendations from their peers as they make system decisions. This survey provides a large aggregation of evaluative data that can complement more in-depth conversations that libraries considering a system would have with specific reference sites.
(Library Technology Guides, February 10, 2019)
Smarter Libraries Through Technology: Integration and Interoperability Versus Unification
An important set of contracting trends can currently be seen in play in the library technology arena. The issue centers on whether the scope of technology systems should continue to expand to encompass an ever-broader universe of functionality and services, or should products ideally focus on a more finite scope with an emphasis on interoperability so that libraries can assemble customized environment?
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, December 2018)
ERM Strategies in Academic Libraries: Historical Evolution and Current Context
Breeding discusses the challenges academic libraries faced in managing the shift from print to ejournals. Libraries of all types have seen substantially greater involvement with content delivered in digital formats during the last decades. Both popular reading and scholarly literature have had substantial transformations in the way that materials are produced and distributed. These transformations differ among the different publishing sectors. The scholarly resources have seen an almost universal transition to electronic publishing, while popular reading, arts, and literature continue to be distributed primarily in print--although ebooks and audiobooks represent additional channels of distribution. Electronic resource management has an interesting history, passing through phases of informal tools, to standalone systems, to unified platforms. It will be interesting to observe how these tools evolve and if they are able to deliver new levels of efficiency in management or more effective means of discovery and access for library users. As libraries of all types see involvement of increasing proportions with electronic and digital formats, technologies and services initially developed for academic libraries may inform products and services created to serve other types of libraries.
(Computers in Libraries, April 2018)
FOLIO: Advancing from Vision to Software
The open source FOLIO project to create a new library services platform continues to see progress in its development timeline. Since the project was launched in late 2015, the project has crossed a number of significant milestones in its technical development, community-building, outreach, and in support structures. Project documentation posits the end of 2018 for the availability of its initial version able to replace a library's existing ILS. This three-year development effort from project launch to a minimally viable product can be seen as ambitious but reasonably consistent with the timelines of other products.
(Smart Libraries Newsletter, January 2018)
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. (off)