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Disintegration to Integration and Back

In my Systems Librarian column for the March 2016 issue of Computers in Libraries I discuss the issue of how the scope of functionality of library automation systems has been organized over the course of the history of these products. There have been waves of expansion and consolidation of functionality, working toward systems able to address the operational and business requirements of each new collection format. A key issue remains in play regarding whether patron-facing discovery products should be tightly interwoven with the resource management systems used by library personnel.

Computers in Libraries April 2014

One of the most important questions in the realm of library technology concerns the composition of the systems that support the library in how it manages and provides access to its collections and services. Is it better to have one do-it-all product or to assemble a set of modules from different providers? The history of library automation has seen a general trend toward more comprehensive platforms, but are we now at a time when it makes sense to consider other possibilities?

In this current phase, we can see at least two tracks in play-one that emphasizes the efficiencies gained through a fully integrated platform and another based on the flexibility gained through open systems able to integrate diverse components. Today, the key question centers on the extent to which patron-facing discovery products should be packaged together with resource management systems or if libraries can mix offerings from different providers.

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(The full text of my Systems Librarian columns are available on Library Technology Guides 90 days following thier original publication in Computers in Libraries magazine.)

Oct 23, 2016 18:40:16
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