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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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LITA Technology and Industry Interest Group to meet at ALA Midwinter in Seattle

The LITA Technology and Industry Interest Group will meet at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Date: Saturday January 26, 2013
Time: 4:30 – 5:30 PM Pacific Time
Place: Washington State Convention Center - TCC LL3

Agenda items:

  • Review of the Interest Group mission statement. The following draft created by Marshall as a starting point will be revised and expanded:

    The LITA Technology and Industry Interest Group seeks to bring together interested individuals from libraries and from organizations that develop technology products and services for libraries to facilitate collaboration. The Interest Group will address timely technology topics and methodologies with strategic interest for libraries and the community of vendors developing technology products. The current environment, for example, where the service oriented architecture prevails provides many opportunities to extend functionality, exchange data and services among diverse applications, and to create new services through the APIs exposed in these products. The interest group aims to educate the library community regarding current trends and technologies related to the potential benefits of working with APIs and other technologies. The Interest Group invites participation by a broad range of individuals and organizations that create technology products and services for libraries and those in libraries make use of them.

  • Continued work on the development of a white paper that describes how the current architectures today offer capabilities for extensibility and interoperability through APIs and how library programmers and other third parties can collaborate with system developers. This white paper aims to be a key educational document for broader audience of systems librarians, developers, and other interested individuals.
  • Finalization of program for the ALA Annual Conference:

    Connecting Libraries and Vendor Platforms: Have we advanced from the Black Box to Open Systems?

    No technology product created for libraries can reasonably satisfy the needs of all libraries “out of the box.” Rather, products provide a basic core of functionality designed to serve the general needs of libraries, with configuration options to set operational and cosmetic details for individual implementations. Many libraries, however, need to implement new functionality not delivered with the base product. Libraries might be able to press the developers of the products, developed under either proprietary or open source licenses, to create enhancements to the core system to meet these needs. A more sustainable model involves the use of application programming interfaces (API)s that allow library programmers to write code to extend the capabilities of the product, to enable interoperability with other applications, or to extract and manipulate data. Most of the major library management and discovery applications offer APIs that open up data and functionality to libraries and to third party developers.

    This session aims to reveal the extent to which libraries can expect to extend products through exercising the APIs provided with their key technology products. In a dynamic debate format, the moderator (Marshall Breeding?) will explore this topic with the chief technology or strategy officers of the major library vendors and with one or more library technologists involved in projects that rely on APIs.


    • Moderator: Marshall Breeding (Co-Chair LITA Industry Vendor IG)
    • Andrew Pace or Robin Murray (OCLC)
    • Talin Bingham (SirsiDynix)
    • Oren Beit-Arie (Ex Libris)
    • Jane Burke or Andrew Nagy (Serials Solutions)
    • Bill Schickling (Polaris)
    • John McCullough (Innovative Interfaces)
    • Brad LaJeunesse (Equinox Software)

Please come and join us for an interesting discussion of these topics.

Jan 15, 2013 13:22:41
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Perceptions 2012: An International Survey of Library Automation

I have posted the results the sixth annual survey of data collected on how libraries rate their current integrated library system, the company involved, and the quality of customer support. The survey also aims to gather data regarding attitudes regarding interest levels in open source ILS products. Perceptions 2012: an international survey of library automation gives the general conclusions and presents all the statistical results derived from the survey. As usual, some of the most interesting and valuable information lies in the comments offered by responders.

Selected Survey Findings

  • Polaris offered by Polaris Library Systems toped the rankings in ILS satisfaction and completeness of functionality for medium to large public libraries.
  • Apollo, developed by Biblionix topped the rankings in ILS satisfaction for small public libraries. The company earned top ratings for support across all libraries of all types (tied with OPALS). Apollo was rated by the libraries using it(exclusively small public libraries) as having the best customer support. Its functionality was rated as most complete in functionality. (again tied with OPALS)
  • Sierra, developed by Innovative Interfaces, Inc. topped the rankings in ILS satisfaction for large to medium-size academic libraries. The company's Millennium ILS was the second highest rated system for large academics. Sierra also earned the highest marks for completeness of functionality as rated by large academic libraries, again followed by Millennium.
  • OPALS, an open source ILS for school libraries and districts developed and supported by Media Flex earned top rankings in Company Satisfaction, Product Support, and Company Loyalty. School libraries using competing products, notably Destiny from Follett Software Company, did not respond to the survey in significant numbers, making it challenging to interpret the superlative performance of OPALS within its peer group.
  • 634 libraries indicated that they are considering migrating to a new ILS. Ex Libris Alma (121) and Sierra from Innovative Interfaces (120) were mentioned most frequently by libraries systems under consideration, followed by WorldShare Management Services from OCLC (99), the open source Koha ILS (71) or Evergreen (65), Symphony from SirsiDynix (51), Intota from Serials Solutions (48), and Kuali OLE (21).
  • Products that ranked highest in earlier years of the survey, including and Polaris from Polaris Library Systems, Library.Solution from AGent VERSO from Auto-Graphics, continue to receive satisfaction scores just as high as before, but fall below the superlative marks given by libraries involved with Apollo, OPALS, or Koha as supported independently or by ByWater Solutions.
  • Companies and products serving large and complex library organizations and diverse library types receive a broader range of responses, and fall into a middle tier of rankings. Yet where they fall within this middle ground represents important differences. Sierra and Millennium from Innovative Interfaces, Library.Solution from The Library Corporation, and Evergreen from Equinox Software, and came out as very strong performers at the top of this middle tier.
  • Except for the libraries already using one, the survey reflected fairly low levels of interest in migrating to an open source ILS, even when the company rates their satisfaction with their current proprietary ILS and its company as poor. Libraries using Koha, as supported by ByWater Solutions (8.21) or independently operated by the library (8.37), or OPALS (8.32) demonstrated highest interest in open source, followed by Evergreen as supported by Equinox Software (7.29). Libraries using LibLime Koha showed a softer interest in open source (6.73). Though the open source interest scores were low, a substantial portion of libraries that registered some interest in moving to a new ILS named open source products among the replacement candidates.

Just as I did for the previous editions survey, I created an interactive tool for viewing the statistical summaries and comments. The main tables in the article show statistics only for those products that had more than 15 survey responses. You can use the ILS Product Report to view the statistics on any of the products mentioned in the survey and to read the comments about that system, even if the number of responses did not meet the threshold. The comments that display have been edited to remove any text that identifies the individual or institution, preserving the anonymity of the responders. The narrative data in the comments largely corroborate the statistical responses and makes for interesting reading.

Jan 21, 2013 17:25:47
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Name: Marshall Breeding

Title: Publisher

Organization: Library Technology Guides


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