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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Automation System Marketplace 2008: Opportunity Out of Turmoil

Library Journal April 1, 2008 issue

Today's issue of Library Journal contains the annual "Automation System Marketplace" feature, this year subtitled "Opportunity out of Turmoil." Despite itís April 1 publication date, this article represents some of the most serious research and writing that I do each year. Creating this article involves coaxing each of the companies in the industry to respond to a detailed survey that probes at their key business activities over the previous calendar year. I corroborate the information supplied by the companies with many other sources of data that I gather throughout the year. With that data in hand, I attempt to provide an analytical description of how the industry has changed over the last year and to unearth the factors that drive that change.

The dramatic shifts that redefined the industry in 2006 precipitated turmoil in 2007, which made companies that avoided major business transitions more attractive and sparked explosive interest in open source alternatives. Some companies held a steady course and benefited from the fallout. The consolidated entities formed by recent acquisitions stand as formidable competitors in their respective market sectors, wielding vast resources to retainóor even strengthenótheir industry positions. continue reading...

Itís commendable that Library Journal continues to publish this annual industry report. To my knowledge, itís the only one remaining, at least for the library automation industry within the United States and Canada.

This year marks the seventh year I've had the privilege of writing this feature for Library Journal. Itís impossible to capture the complexity of any given yearís activities in a single tag line, but we do try to come up with something that reflects the essence of the trends in play.

I maintain a resource page of these reports on Library Technology Guides.

Apr 1, 2008 08:44:18
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A resource for discovery layer interfaces

With all the recent interest in next-generation library catalogs, also called discover-layer interfaces, I have created a new resource page in Library Technology Guides to guide you to libraries that have implemented, or at least selected, one of these systems. The main feature of this page consists of logo of each of the major discovery layer products that launches a query into lib-web-cats to retrieve libraries associated with these systems. In some cases the default online catalog link will take you to this interface, but for many libraries you may need to go to the Web site to find a link to it. Especially in cases where the product has been recently purchased, the next-generation interface may not be publicly available. Even in these cases, seeing the kind of libraries that have purchased one of the commercial products or committed to implementing one of the open source ones should be useful information to those considering this new genre of library software.

Iíve also included links to some of what Iíve written about these new interfaces.

This resource is a work in progress. Please let me know if Iíve missed any of the major offerings in this area or libraries that involved with them.

Apr 15, 2008 10:30:47
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Asia Perspective

National Chung-Hsing University Library

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Taiwan and South Korea, Iíve been working in gathering information on the library automation scene in Asia. Libraries in most parts of Asia have generally implemented sophisticated approaches to automating their libraries. Most all academic and public libraries have integrated library systems and have implemented digital library systems, content management systems, or other portals to handle their Web sites.

I will be speaking at the Annual Meeting of University Librarians in Taiwan. and for the Graduate Institute of Library and Information Science at the National Chung Hsing University. The trip will include a quick trip to Seoul, South Korea to talk about next generation library interfaces.

As part of my background research in library automation in Asia, I have been working on adding libraries from this region to lib-web-cats and trying to determine the automation systems they use. Here are some graphs based on data from lib-web-cats:

As seen in these charts, a number of companies that provide automation software to libraries in the United States have found a market in Asia, including: Innovative Interfaces, Ex Libris, SirsiDynix, and Civica.

Some of the companies involved in providing automation systems in Asia that might not be familiar to those of us in the United States include:

  • Top Information Technologies. A distributor for Civica for Spydus to public libraries in Taiwan. The company is a distributor for Ex Libris with many deployments of ALEPH 500, SFX, MetaLib in many academic libraries in Taiwan.
  • Transtech Computer Company, offers the TOTALS II, a major automation system used in Taiwan. The company also distributes the MuseSearch federated search product from MuseGlobal.
  • Jiangsu Huiwen Software created LibSys, the most prevelant automation system among academic libraries in China with 383 installations to date.
  • Futurenuri provides the XMLAS and TG-Vintage-LAS automation systems to libraries in South Korea.
  • INEK provides the Solars automatoin system to libraries in South Korea.

Many libraries in China use the ILAS system developed by the Shenzhen Library.

Over time, I'm trying to ensure that Library Technology Guides represents a more international perspective. This information on a few of the countries in Asia is just a small step toward that goal. Despite the internationalization of the library automation industry, I'm becoming aware that every region and country has its own distinct dynamic of companies and products.

Apr 27, 2008 10:42:17
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Name: Marshall Breeding

Title: Publisher

Organization: Library Technology Guides


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