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EBSCO Acquires Stacks

Smart Libraries Newsletter [March 2019]


EBSCO Information Services has acquired Stacks, a company that has developed a specialized web portal for libraries. Stacks has worked with EBSCO as a partner in the development of Stacks since 2016 and has served as its exclusive channel for sales and support. This move advances the arrangement from partnership to full ownership. The launch of Stacks as a new product was featured in the November 2016 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter.

The Stacks service provides a fully managed, mobile friendly website for a library. It has been developed as a hosted service, avoiding the need for the library to operate its own web server. Stacks simplifies the management of a library website, providing an easy way to populate content without the need to maintain the technical platform or to have detailed knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript coding, or known programming languages. Stacks implements a responsive web design, enabling use by small screen devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as full-sized laptop or desktop computers. The service includes support for all the major components that comprise a typical library website, including integrated discovery, event scheduling, book carousels, display of hours, address, and contact data, integration of social media content, and presentation of any resource or featured content. Stacks is designed to accommodate the needs of almost any type of library. It has been implemented by multiple types of libraries, including academic, public, school, government agency, health sciences, and corporate.

Unlike many other products deployed via software-asa- service, a website managed by Stacks is accessed via the library's own domain. The URL would take a form such as instead of https://libraryname.

Stacks gives search or discovery a prominent placement, both visually and strategically. The platform includes APIs and other techniques for interoperability with the library's integrated library system (ILS) and discovery services. Stacks is able to incorporate all aspects of an online catalog, including patron sign-in and account features into its own interface.

While Stacks has been optimized to integrate with EBSCO Discovery Service, it also supports other discovery arrangements. It can also provide a search box that invokes the library's native online catalog. A review of the existing Stacks implementations reveals multiple scenarios. For many, the search facility directly invokes EBSCO Discovery Service. Others point to another discovery interface, such as SirsiDynix Enterprise, which in turn uses the EDS API to provide access to article-level resources. At least some of the library implementations channel search only to the local online catalog of the ILS with no presence of EBSCO Discovery Service. No examples were found using other index-based discovery services, such as Primo, Summon, or WorldCat Discovery Service, to power the search component of a Stacks implementation. The association between Stacks and EBSCO Discovery Service is not due to technical limitations but related to the organizational affinities. Libraries already engaged with EBSCO are more likely to be open to additional products and services offered though its partners or subsidiaries.

The acquisition of Stacks by EBSCO Information Services puts Stacks directly into its product portfolio. Although EBSCO had already been promoting Stacks, the product will now receive expanded exposure and opportunities through active marketing by the global and massive EBSCO sales force. Although the initial development of Stacks transpired externally, it was designed and developed in partnership with EBSCO.

The co-founders of Stacks will assume senior positions within EBSCO Information Services. Kristin Delwo joins EBSCO as Vice President, SaaS Product and Technology Innovation. Chad Arron Smith takes the role of Vice President, SaaS Technology and Emerging Trends.

View Citation
Publication Year:2019
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 39 Number 03
Issue:March 2019
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Company: EBSCO Information Services
Products: Stacks
Record Number:24097
Last Update:2022-11-22 04:28:51
Date Created:2019-03-06 16:44:37