The editors recently undertook an informal survey to determine the extent to which the nation's largest libraries have adopted automated library systems. Using available published sources and material from our files, we determined which of the 46 largest public libraries and which of the 116 non-public library members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) have installed automated systems to handle functions such as technical services, circulation, or patron access catalogs. (No attempt was made to survey bibliographic utility usage among the libraries. It should also be noted that some institutions use more than one system, developing a local system for circulation and purchasing a turnkey system to support an online catalog, for instance.)
Of 105 academic libraries, 81 (77 percent) were found to be using, or had recently contracted for, automated systems; of the 11 nonacademic, non-public library members of ARL, at least 7 (64 percent) were using automated library systems, and of 46 major public libraries checked, 34 (74 percent) were using automated systems.
Overall, 122 institutions were using 139 systems. The majority (76 percent) of the systems were commercially available products, mostly turnkey systems and some software packages. Most of the local, noncommercial systems development was in the large academic libraries, which accounted for 27 of the 34 "local" systems identified.
In the commercial arena, the following systems were represented in more than five institutions: CLSI (28), Geac (23) Data Phase (17), NOTIS (8), WLN/BLIS (7), and Carlyle (6). Geac accounted for the largest single share of the academic libraries (21), followed by CLSI (17). CLSI (11) was just ahead of Data Phase (10) in the large public libraries. The other "name" systems identified in the survey were: AdLib, Data Research Associates, DOBIS, Innovative Interfaces, LS/2000, Sirsi, Systems Control Inc., Universal, and VTLS.