Library Technology Guides

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Library Technology Reports

Marshall Breeding has writen one issue per year of Library Technology Reports published by the TechSource imprint of the American Library Association.

Library Technology Reports provides in-depth information on a topic. Each issue is usually written by a single author.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Index-Based Discovery Services: Current Market Positions and Trends
November / December 2018
Library Technology Reports (vol. 54, no. 8), “Index-Based Discovery Services: Current Market Positions and Trends,” provides an updated look at the realm of discovery products implemented in libraries, focusing especially on how these products have been implemented in academic libraries. The scope of this issue focuses primarily on index-based discovery services. This genre of products was established in 2009 and has since become a mainstay of academic libraries. Despite broad interest, the number of players in this product category has remained limited and constant. Throughout the report, Marshall Breeding shares data he has gathered describing the use of the following discovery services among colleges and universities in the United States: WorldCat Discovery Service and its predecessor WorldCat Local from OCLC, Summon and Primo from Ex Libris, and EBSCO Discovery Service from EBSCO Information Services. Almost a decade has transpired since the introduction of these products. Libraries have made a substantial economic investment during that period, which warrants a look at some of the patterns in which discovery services have been implemented in libraries and what trends we may anticipate in the future.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Open Source Library Systems: The Current State of the Art
August / September 2017
While propriety software continues to dominate, open source solutions are presenting an alternative to libraries. This issue of Library Technology Reports provides you with an outline of the major open source integrated library systems and library services platforms and their influence on the broader library technology industry. The advantages and disadvantages of both open source and proprietary software will be explored in the report. Breeding begins this issue of Library Technology Reports by presenting an overview of open source resource management solutions and introducing the current landscape of these products in the industry. The chapters following closely examine the open source resource management systems Koha, Evergreen, TIND, and FOLIO. The report concludes by exploring the impact of open source products on the library automation environment.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Privacy and Security for Library Systems
May/June 2016
Surveying vendors and ARL libraries, Marshall Breeding covers the current state of patron privacy in interacting with the library’s web-based systems. The report discusses key technologies and techniques for protecting patron privacy, focusing on encryption, the storage of data, the catalog, and discovery systems. It explores the many ways patron data and behavior may be captured in the absence of preventive measures

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Library Services Platforms: A Maturing Genre of Products
May/June 2015
The genre of library services platforms helps libraries manage their collection materials and automate many aspects of their operations by addressing a wider range of resources. They take advantage of current technology architectures compared to the integrated library systems that have previously dominated. This seminal category of library technology products has gained momentum in recent years and is positioned to reshape how libraries acquire, manage, and provide access to their collections as they go forward into the next decade. This issue of Library Technology Reports explores this new category of library software, including its functional and technical characteristics. The issues covered include differences with integrated library systems, which remain viable for many libraries and continue to see development along their own trajectory; an up-to-date assessment of library services platforms, ranging from those that have well-established track records to those that remain under development; the relationship between library services platforms and discovery services; a general overview of major products, discussing their high-level organization of functionality, and adoption patterns relative to size and types; a look at libraries that have implemented platforms and how these libraries perceive their performance.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Library Resource Discovery Products: Context, Library Perspectives, and Vendor Positions
January 2014
nterfacing with library collections has changed drastically in the past several years, now integrating not only with the ILS but other local and external resources. Offering valuable guidance for effectively evaluating discovery systems, this issue of Library Technology Reports is filled with information on recent trends and the current state of the art in discovery. Breeding surveyed discovery vendors and 396 libraries on overall satisfaction and perceived effectiveness, and this report details his findings and conclusions. Focusing on the dominant index-based web scale discovery systems for academic and research libraries, and the emergent e-book lending functionality for public libraries, this report covers EBSCO, Ex Libris, OCLC, and Serial Solutions’ descriptions of their resource coverage Librarian comments on coverage from eight different products Product profiles of four major web-scale discovery services, six general discovery interfaces, and three integrated discovery and portal services APIs for e-book integration from Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library, and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 Insight into the competitive environment that impedes comprehensive article-level indexing

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Resource Sharing in Libraries: Concepts, Products, Technologies, and Trends
January 2013
Supplementing your local collection through resource sharing is a smart way to ensure your library has the resources to satisfy the needs of your users. Marshall Breeding’s new Library Technology Report explores technologies and strategies for sharing resources, helping you streamline workflows and improve resource-sharing services by covering key strategies like interlibrary loan, consortial borrowing, document delivery, and shared collections. You’ll also learn about such trends and services as:
  • OCLC WorldCat Resource Sharing, and other systems that facilitate cooperative, reciprocal lending System-to-system communications that allow integrated systems to interact with resource-sharing environments
  • Technical components that reliably automate patron requests, routing to suppliers with tools for tracking, reporting, and staff intervention as needed
  • Specialized applications that simplify document delivery, such as Ariel, Odyssey, or OCLC’s Article Exchange How the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP) can enable borrowing among consortial libraries using separate integrated library systems
  • The Orbis Cascade Alliance consortium, examined using a case study

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Introduction to Resource Sharing
January 2013
Chapter 1 of Library Technology Reports (vol 49, no. 1) "Resource Sharing in Libraries: Concepts, Products, Technologies, and Trends" presents some of the conceptual approaches available to libraries in the way that they provide access to materials to their patrons beyond their local collections. Models of resource sharing discussed include sharing an integrated library system among the members of a regional consortium; implementing a resource sharing environment to connect ILS implementations to enable consortial borrowing; and providing materials through document delivery services or global interlibrary loan systems.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Resource Sharing in Libraries: Chapter 3: Products and Services
January 2013
1) “Resource Sharing in Libraries: Concepts, Products, Technologies, and Trends” provides profiles of the various products and services available to libraries that facilitate resource sharing. Each profile includes background information on the organization that provides the product, a general description of the product or service and its capabilities, the architecture or technologies involved, and a summary of the numbers or types of libraries that have adopted it Much of this chapter reflects information the author has collected over years of monitoring the field of library automation. Interested readers can find more comprehensive information on the author’s website Library Technology Guides at

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall and Andromeda Yelton
Librarians' Assessments of Automation Systems: Survey Results 2007-2010
May June 2011
For the last four years, Breeding has conducted an online survey to measure satisfaction with multiple aspects of the automation products used by libraries. In this issue of Library Technology Reports Breeding and Yelton take a deeper look at the survey data, including an expansion of findings based on the 2010 iteration, an examination of trends seen across the four years, and additional analysis not previously published. The survey data have been extended with additional fields that provide the opportunity to separate the findings into categories that show some interesting trends not otherwise apparent. Brief interpretive narratives help place the data in context.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Opening up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA: Hype or Reality?
November/December 2009
Over the last few years, Web services and the service-oriented architecture (SOA) have become dominant themes in IT across many industries. Web-based computing, serviceorientation, and cloud computing increasingly displace the client/server approach favored by libraries in the past.In library automation, one major trend involves evolving or rebuilding automation systems to adopt this new approach to software. Purveyors of both open source and proprietary library automation products increasingly emphasize the ways in which they embrace openness, support application programming interfaces (APIs), or implement Web services.Libraries increasingly need to extract data, connect with external systems, and implement functionality not included with the delivered systems. Rather than relying on the product developers for enhancements to meet these needs, libraries increasingly demand the ability to exploit their systems using APIs, Web services, or other technologies.The demand for openness abounds, particularly in libraries that exist in complex environments where many different systems need to interact. As libraries develop their IT infrastructure, it’s imperative to understand the extent to which their automation products are able to interoperate and thrive in this growing realm of Web services. This report aims to assess the current slate of major library automation systems in regard to their ability to provide openness through APIs, Web services, and the adoption of SOA.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Open Source Integrated Library Systems
November/December 2008
In this issue, Breeding details the differences between using an open source approach to that of using conventional proprietary software for automated operations."In the past, our options were differentiated on the basis of features, functionality, price, and performance of the software and the perceived ability for a given company to develop its products into the future and provide adequate support. Do these factors differ with open source ILS products?"Breeding’s report can help answer that question as well as defines open source and provides an overview of the various open source options currently available to libraries, including Koha and Evergreen. In this eighth issue of Library Technology Reports in volume 44, you’ll find: Open source defined and a look at open source versus traditional licensing."The Commercial Angle," including total cost of ownership, vendor/product independence, and information about collaborative and sponsored development.An overview, including history and background, of major open source ILS products, with information about Koha, Evergreen, OPALS, and NewGenLib.Trends in open source ILS adoption, including geographic impact, licensing, and distribution.An overview of commercial support firms — including LibLime, Equinox Software, Media Flex, Versus Solutions, and Index Data — for open source ILSSpecifications for the technology components of an open source ILS, including the server operating system, Web servers, database engines, programming environments, and client environments.Information about standards as well as features and functionality of open source ILS, including the scope of the ILS; support for consortia; and information about the online catalog, circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, and serials control in the ILS.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Next-Generation Library Catalogs
July / August 2007
In this issue of LTR, Breeding covers the terminology associated with the "next-generation" catalog situation as well as such areas as: federated searching and other features expected in the "next-generation" interfaces (such as faceted navigation, relevancy, the "did you mean?" feature, and RSS) Also in this issue of Library Technology Reports, Breeding reports on the next-generation interfaces including: AquaBrowser (from Medialab Solutions); Endeca’s search engine for library catalogs; Encore (from Innovative Interfaces); Primo (from Ex Libris); WorldCatLocal (from OCLC); Polaris (from Polaris Library Systems); open-source software-based interfaces Evergreen and Koha; as well as LibraryThing, the social-networking, personal library cataloging software.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Next-Generation Library Catalogs: Chapter 1 Introduction
July / August 2007
This issue of Library Technology Reports focuses on “next-generation library catalogs.” In this current phase of library automation, all eyes are focused on developing and deploying Web-based interfaces better suited meet the expectations of the current generation of Web-savvy users. Over the course of the last year, a number of libraries have made bold moves to introduce new catalogs cast in a mold apart from their previous offerings. Library automation vendors have launched development efforts to create new catalogs and interfaces more in tune with today's expectations.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Web Services and the Service-Oriented Architecture
May/June 2006
Web Services and the Service-Oriented Architecture aims to provide information about Web Services to a library audience. The report includes conceptual descriptions of the technology as well as some technical information on how Web services are implemented. Library administrators or others that need to make decisions regarding library-related technology systems or issues will gain a perspective on the importance of this technology as well as how the implementation of Web services may relate to other library trends and initiatives. Library technical staff will gain from both the conceptual descriptions and the implementation examples.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Wireless Networks in Libraries
Sept/Oct 2005
This issue of Library Technology Reports provides all the information needed to implement a wireless network in a library. It will explain the basics of thetechnologies involved as well as the practical issues related to installation. The report also will explore pertinent issues, including computer security, access policies, and appropriate use. The target audience includes libraryadministrators, systems librarians, and other computersavvylibrary workers. For the library administrator, this report aims toprovide background information and perspective in order to inform decisions regarding whether or not to implement a wireless network, the relative risks and benefits, the development of policies, and the general terminologyand background information necessary to evaluate advice given by technical staff or consultants. For library technical personnel, it provides detailed information for implementing and securing a wireless network in the library setting. Some sections provide broad definitions of concepts and terminology and others will focus on in-depth technical details.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Integrated library software: a guide to multiuser, multifunction systems
February 2004
Breeding provides an in-depth analysis of multiuser library automation systems and the companies that produce them. These systems automate the routine operations of a library, provide library users information about the library’s collection, and serve as a channel for delivering key library services.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Strategies for measuring and implementing E-use
May/Jun 2002
Breeding explores the topic of measuring the use of electronic content and services provided by libraries. The approach taken is a practical one that helps librarians think about the issues involved and learn some practices to effectively document how library users take advantage of electronic content and services.

Click to view article from Library Technology Reports Breeding, Marshall
Security strategies for library Networks
Spring 2001
What do libraries need in order for their networks to be secure, and how do they work? What are the real costs involved? What network security products are best for large, medium, small, or special libraries? Includes information about patron authentication and authorization.