This inaugural issue of Library Technology Issue is both a new beginning and a continuation. From my involvement as a journalist and analyst for the library technology industry, it continues the more than a decade as the exclusive contributor to Smart Libraries Newsletter, a monthly publication dedicated to developments in the library technology industry. Smart Libraires Newsletter published by the ALA TechSource imprint of the American Library Association. It ceased publication at the end of 2021. This newsletter also continues in the tradition of Library Systems Newsletter published by ALA from July 1981 through December 2000, expertly written by Richard W. Boss.
Library Technology Newsletter aims to offer authoritative coverage of the vendors, products, and key people related to the technologies used by libraries. It covers core technology systems including integrated library systems, library services platforms, discovery services, inventory management hardware and software, and related products. The scope is intentionally imprecise. New product genres and innovations will be covered as they arise. The newsletter will help readers understand important business and technology trends in play in the library technology industry.
Readers can expect Library Technology Newsletter continue with the same approach as Smart Libraries Newsletter. Each issue will include in-depth features covering one or two of the major events of the preceding month, providing details, historic context, and perspective. Additional events will be covered in brief articles that provide basic coverage, with details and context beyond that mentioned in press announcements or other vendor communications. Each issue will include an editorial column, titled Guidepost, authored by Marshall Breeding to introduce the events and topics and provide any relevant perspective, opinion, and context.
The newsletter draws on a variety of sources to build a more complete understanding of each event covered. The initial impetus for each article usually comes from a press announcement or other official or informal communications from a vendor or other library organization. For feature articles, the author conducts interviews with relevant vendor or library representatives and draws from documents and data resources held in Library Technology Guides or other sources.
Library Technology Newsletter is published through Library Technology Guides, a website providing diverse resources related to the technologies used by libraries. The website was launched by Marshall Breeding in the mid-1990s who continues as its primary contributor. As such, this newsletter is self-published, though based on the long-standing efforts of the author thoroughly research each topic covered and to be objective and without bias relative to any of company or organization.
Smart Libraries Newsletter was published by ALA TechSource with Marshall Breeding serving as its exclusive editor and contributor since February 2010. The publication was issued in print, with PDF copies available to subscribers. The content was restricted to paid subscribers. ALA's contract with the author included a monthly honorarium and allowed open access to the content on Library Technology Guides six months after original publication. ALA TechSource performed copyediting, layout design, and managed subscriptions and distribution.
Library Technology Newsletter is offered as an open access publication. Its content will be available on the web with no paywall or advertising. The newsletter will be available online, published only as html rather than in PDF format. No print version will be offered. This model supports timely availability with no barriers to access. Individual articles may be published off schedule to provide immediate coverage of major breaking events.
Individuals or organizations interested in supporting the author are asked to make voluntary donations in lieu of subscription fees. Writing and producing the newsletter involves considerable time each month which is not compensated from any external organization. The sustainability of this newsletter, as well as the overall upkeep of Library Technology Guides depends on contributions from those that benefit from these resources.
Contributions made for this newsletter also support the overall content provided through Library Technology Guides. Financial contributions are appreciated at any level, though suggested annual donations apply to each category of subscriber.
- Commercial or non-profit vendors: $500 (for those not already participating in commercial membership program).
- Libraries interested in the newsletter for the general benefit of their staff members: $300. Libraries that have used Library Technology Guides to help inform its consideration of acquiring or retaining core technology products are asked to make voluntary donations of $500, or about the cost of one hour of consulting services.
- Library schools that make frequent use of Library Technology Guides or articles from Library Technology Newsletter should consider annual contributions of $300 through their associated library.
- Individuals that find Library Technology Guides useful for their professional work might consider $20 annual contributions.
Subscription fees can be paid as contributions to Library Technology Guides using a credit or debit card. Payment is accepted through PayPal, electronic deposit, or check.
A corporate sponsorship program applies to vendors that make use of Library Technology Guides in support of marketing, competitive analysis, or in other ways that support their business. Commercial sponsorship is not an advertising opportunity and explicitly does not impact the way that the organization is represented on Library Technology Guides. Contact Marshall Breeding for details. Library Technology Guides is not organized as a legal organization. All contributions are paid to Marshall Breeding and recognized as taxable income. Donations are not tax-deductible.
Thanks in advance to the readers of Library Technology Newsletter as it moves forward to provide objective coverage of events in the library technology industry. This first issue includes a feature on the recent acquisition of Infor Library and Information Solutions by Axiell. This event means another increment of business consolidation that has been a longstanding trend in the industry. While Axiell has not been a major player among libraries in the United States and Canada, it has a major presence in other regions. With the acquisition of Infor's library business, it gains a foothold in North America. From a historical perspective, the acquisition brings in the legacy of Geac, one of the pioneers of library automation and was one of the largest competitors in the US, Canada, and globally.