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Library Perceptions 2022: Results of the 15th International Survey of Library Automation

Library Technology Newsletter [April 2022]

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The International Survey of Library Automation provides a unique opportunity for libraries to evaluate their core technology systems, their associated vendors, and to offer their views on relevant topics and trends. This fifteenth edition of the survey received 2,790 responses. The 43,049 cumulative responses received since 2007 document interesting and important trends related to key technology products and vendors.

2021 the International Survey of Library Automation
This report is an original publication
of Library Technology Guides.
Notable Observations
The decline of legacy products among academic libraries accelerates, with 17% considering plans to migrate. Reasonably high satisfaction rankings for both Voyager and Aleph, strong loyalty scores, and migration intentions favoring Alma suggest most may stay within the Ex Libris camp. Interest in FOLIO continues to increase, suggesting that FOLIO may be Alma's main competitor in the next phase of migrations. Academic libraries considering migration continue to mention WMS as a candidate, but at a lower level than Alma or FOLIO. Survey data suggests that the transition from the remaining libraries to library services platforms will continue, with an interesting mix of selections divided among Alma, FOLIO, and WMS, as well as some moving to open source combinations such as Koha and Coral.
In the public library sector where traditional ILS products prevail, responses indicate a lower level of interest in changing to new systems (6%), with no prevailing indicators of migration targets. Libraries interested in migration mention a variety of replacement candidates, including Koha (13), Polaris (8), Symphony (6); Apollo (7), Atriuum (6), Evergreen (3), OCLC Wise (3), and VERSO (1). The absence of alternatives perceived as substantially better than the prevailing ILS products suppresses the churn of migrations, compared to the academic sector that has seen well-defined migration patterns toward library services platforms.
Libraries using modern web-based products have little interest in changing systems. Biblionix Apollo received high satisfaction scores and very few libraries using it are considering alternatives (2.7%). Even through their satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma (4.3%) and OCLC WorldShare Management Services (9.7%) expressed little interest in changing systems. Only 2.8% of libraries using Koha with support from ByWater Solutions indicated plans to change. No libraries using Atriuum from Book Systems reported plans to migrate.
Open source products are a routine option in all library sectors. Both major open source ILS products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, though a bit uneven depending on support arrangements. OPALS used mostly in school and very small academic libraries, earns superlative scores. Implementations of the FOLIO library services platform are underway and interest in new implementations continues to increase with 86 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates. Narrative comments suggested that many libraries avoid open source products due to a perception that they would need more staff with technical skills.
Most academic libraries have implemented an index-based discovery service. New survey questions this year show little perceived differentiation among these products in their effectiveness for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members. The comprehensiveness of coverage was also perceived as similar; A slightly higher portion of academic libraries perceived that OCLC WorldShare Management Services gave more objective results without bias to content providers. Only a small number of responses indicated awareness of the Open Discovery Initiative or that they used it in selecting their discovery service.

The technology needs of libraries very according to their type and size. The survey segments responses to better assess each product within relevant groups. Each annual survey provides a snapshot of the perceived capabilities of each product, and extends ongoing trendlines of performance.

The satisfaction ratings and narrative comments gauge library reactions surrounding the broader events in the industry, such as consolidation, open source initiatives, and the decline of legacy products. Earlier years of the survey reflect the negative impact the private equity acquisitions on SirsiDynix and Innovative. More recently we can see that libraries reacted mostly positively to major consolidations such as ProQuest acquiring Ex Libris and Innovative from their previous private equity owners. Future surveys may reveal the impact of Clarivate's acquisition of ProQuest.

Survey responses give a glimpse into ongoing migration trends. Academic libraries are shifting away from integrated library systems to library services platforms, with Ex Libris Alma leading the pack, followed by OCLC WorldShare Management Services. FOLIO is now poised to enter this competition, with survey results showing strong interest, though there are still too few implementations to gauge satisfaction. Public libraries show substantially different patterns, with moderate levels of interest in migrating less pronounced preferences for replacement products.

Several themes pervade all editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Presenting results without regard to size categories would give misleading impressions. Products designed for small libraries would not be successful among larger and more complex institutions, despite superlative ratings by the small libraries that use them.

In the current environment, the capabilities of the product and the quality of services from the vendor matter more than license models. Conventional integrated library systems prevail in public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also gave excellent marks to proprietary ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal notable patterns regarding library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are not rated as highly for managing print resources than legacy ILS products.

I appreciate all the individuals that took time to respond to the survey this year given the many other issues competing for their attention. Each response contributes to a growing body of data available for the broader library community to consider when considering options on whether to retain or replace their strategic technology products. Libraries have always relied on recommendations from their peers as they make system decisions. This survey provides a large aggregation of evaluative data that can complement more in-depth conversations that libraries considering a system would have with specific reference sites.

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Publication Year:2022
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Technology Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 1 Number 04
Issue:April 2022
Page(s):1
Publisher:Library Technology Guides
Place of Publication:Nashville, TN
Record Number:27715
Last Update:2022-11-27 12:53:59
Date Created:2022-09-04 15:51:33
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