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Library Technology Newsletter

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Volume 1 Number 05May 2022
Breeding, Marshall, Disruption in the library bibliographic services arena
Bibliographic services represent a critical component of the library information ecosystem. Since the earlies phases of library automation, many vendors and organizations have developed processes to enable libraries to create records to describe items in their collections and to share them among peer institutions to avoid redundant efforts. OCLC's WorldCat and its Cataloging and Metadata Services represent the culmination of many of efforts into a global ecosystem for bibliographic records and authority control. Though OCLC ranks as the dominant provider, other services are available and new initiatives are underway. How libraries create and share the records that describe collection items has recently erupted into controversy. Two major industry giants are now pitted against each other in a legal dispute over accusations of anti-competitive business practices and on the extent to which bibliographic records can be shared among libraries.
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Breeding, Marshall, OCLC sues Clarivate over MetaDoor and its use of WorldCat records
OCLC filed a lawsuit against Clarivate and its subsidiaries demanding that Ex Libris cease promoting MetaDoor in a way that causes its member libraries to violate policies and contracts related to records in WorldCat. The complaint, filed on June 13, 2022, claims that Ex Libris is prompting OCLC members to share collection data that includes WorldCat records to MetaDoor in a way that violates OCLC policies and the terms of subscription contracts. OCLC asserts that MetaDoor takes unfair advantage of its long history of building WorldCat as a near-comprehensive bibliographic database. Further, OCLC states that Ex Libris offering MetaDoor as a free service is an anticompetitive strategy that endangers its very existence. This article presents the basic statements related to the complaint without opinion or commentary.
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Breeding, Marshall, MetaDoor: a new bibliographic service for libraries to be offered by Ex Libris
Ex Libris, part of Clarivate, is developing a new metadata platform for libraries, branded as MetaDoor. This new platform will differ from existing bibliographic utilities. Instead of building a massive repository of bibliographic records, the service is based on indexing and artificial intelligence technologies to identify records residing in the integrated library systems or library services platforms of participating institutions that can be shared with other libraries for copy cataloging or record enhancement.
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Breeding, Marshall, BTCat: a new bibliographic service from Baker & Taylor
Baker & Taylor launched its new BTCat cataloging service at the Public Library Association conference in March 2022. BTCat offers a full-featured cataloging service including a large-scale database of bibliographic records and a sophisticated interface. Libraries can also purchase professional services for custom projects.
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Breeding, Marshall, The current landscape of bibliographic services for libraries
Libraries make use of bibliographic services to facilitate the process of describing materials in their collection. These services provide bibliographic records in MARC format that can be loaded or imported into the library's catalog saving considerable effort compared to creating each record anew. The vast majority of library materials acquired have been previously described. Bibliographic services bring efficiencies to the broader cataloging community, enabling catalogers to focus on previously undescribed materials or on enhancing existing records. The landscape of bibliographic services for libraries is narrow. Some of the options available in previous phases of the industry have consolidated into other organizations. New services have emerged in this arena recently, including BTCat from Baker & Taylor, and MetaDoor, a proposed new service from Ex Libris.
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Volume 1 Number 04April 2022
Breeding, Marshall, Discoverability of Library Collections
Libraries want their collections to be easily accessed by their communities. They provide catalogs or discovery services through their websites to enable efficient ways to search, request, or download materials. It's also important to enable convenient access to library materials to those that begin from Google or other popular web destinations. Multiple technologies and services help their patrons find and access items in a library's collection. Library catalogs have long been the primary tool for search and access of library collections, and continually strive to be more effective and easier to use. For most libraries, the online catalog provides comprehensive coverage of all items in the collection, including owned and licensed materials. Online catalogs have evolved to become easier to use and to address all aspects of library collections, including print, electronic, and digital materials. Libraries also benefit from additional pathways to their collections. The concept of discoverability considers other ways to access library materials other than the traditional catalogs and discovery services.
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Breeding, Marshall, OverDrive enables Discoverability of books and ebooks on the web
OverDrive has been a longstanding partner with Google to facilitate the discoverability of ebooks and audiobooks available from libraries. As the leading provider of digital collection materials to public libraries, its efforts have a large impact on the visibility of libraries on the web. Persons can borrow Ebooks and audiobooks from their library's OverDrive collection via Google search results. When searching for a book on Google, results will usually offer a knowledge panel presenting additional information about the title, along with action buttons for buying a copy or borrowing from a library. When available as an ebook or audiobook from a nearby library that offers the title, the Borrow action connects the user directly its page in the library's OverDrive collection.
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Breeding, Marshall, OCLC advances library discoverability through Google Search
OCLC has recently expanded its efforts to enable discovery of library collection items through Google search. The organization has joined those partnering with Google, providing feeds and other data needed to enable individuals to borrow items from their local library through the knowledge panels displayed in search results for books. By expanding its partnership program with Google, OCLC now provides a new and more powerful way to facilitate the exposure for library collections on the web. This mechanism enables links directly to the item in the library's catalog from the initial page of a Google search. This capability is facilitated by structured data from WorldCat delivered to Google and the linking data in the WorldCat Registry.
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Breeding, Marshall, EBSCO and Novelist use BIBFRAME to facilitate discoverability
NoveList, a division of EBSCO Information Servicesopens new tab, offers its Linked Library Service, leveraging linked data to enable multiple paths for making libraries and their collections more visible on the web. The Linked Library Service is based on technologies and linked data infrastructure developed and deployed by Zepheira, a company it acquired in 2020. The Linked Library Service is based on the Library.Link network that brings together a variety of linked data resources. Libraries that subscribe to the service export their collection as represented in MARC records, which are then transformed into BIBFRAME and merged into the network.
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Breeding, Marshall, Koios boosts web visibility with Google Ads
Koios offers a digital marketing service to help libraries improve their visibility on the web through Google Ads. These ads can appear prominently in the search results and channel visitors to the library web site. These ads can feature its website, catalog, or specific resources. Web analytics can demonstrate the impact of Google Ad on the visitors to a library's web site. Koios notes that smaller libraries see substantial increases, since a fixed number of click-throughs represent a higher portion of overall website traffic. The use of paid advertising has an impact on the privacy of users that visit the library's website.
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Volume 1 Number 03March 2022
Breeding, Marshall, Guidepost: The Ongoing Struggle to Defend Privacy in Libraries
Libraries uphold a strong professional ethic regarding the privacy of the individuals making use of their collections and services. The library must strive to be a safe haven where individuals can access information of any sort without the fear of reprisals. In contrast, most commercial destinations do not necessarily offer such privacy protection. Protecting user privacy adds layers of complications for libraries, both in terms of technology as well as policies and procedures.
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Breeding, Marshall, OverDrive launches Patron Engagement Tools
OverDrive, a major provider of digital media services for libraries, has launched OverDrive Hub, a set of tools designed to provide new channels of communication with library patrons, along with additional analytics to measure use and engagement.
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Breeding, Marshall, EBSCO Information Services Launches New Search Service
EBSCO launched a new search service designed as a starting point for research, emphasizing convenient access to open access materials. EBSCO Essentials is available to anyone regardless of affiliation. It provides a search tool for the general public that guides them to the full text of authoritative resources published as open access. The service also serves as a channel toward library-provided resources. Search results also list citations for resources restricted to subscribers. To gain access to these restricted resources, visitors can search for and connect through their library, using their library-assigned sign-in credentials.
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Breeding, Marshall, Follett to develop tools in response to new legislation targeting K-12 Schools
Censorship of books in school and public libraries as well as demands by parent groups and new rounds of proposed and enacted legislation have caused considerable concern in the library community. The Library Bill of Rightsopens new tab articulates the basic practices and values that have been adopted by the American Library Association. Recent events present incredible challenges to libraries and to library workers as they strive to serve their communities according to well established professional values but must comply with new laws or face severe consequences. Follett School Solutionsopens new tab which offers the Destinyopens new tab library management system, is responding to requests from its library customers in states which have recently passed legislation requiring multiple forms of parental notification. These new laws require that school library and media centers implement ways for parents to be notified when their children borrow items or that block a student's ability to check out specified materials at their parent's request. These laws impose criminal or civil penalties to libraries or other district personnel that do not comply with the requirements of these laws.
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Breeding, Marshall, Epilogue: Parental control module for Follett Destiny
The news of the planned parental control features that Follett School Solutions was considering for its Destiny library management system generated considerable controversy in the library community. Although these features were directly requested from libraries concerned with the new laws, the privacy issues loomed large. The intent of much of the new legislation presents a challenging environment for libraries. The requested controls, however, run contrary to library privacy policies and values and in most cases exceeded the specific legal requirements. Rather than go forward with these new modules, Follett stated that it will speak with those affected customers over the coming months to better understand their concerns without changing the privacy protections inherent to Destiny.
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Volume 1 Number 02February 2022
Breeding, Marshall, Guidepost: Library Strategies in a Consolidated Industry
The ongoing consolidation of the vendors that provide products and services has brought incredible change to the business landscape. Large-scale businesses involved in multiple business sectors are now a dominant force in the library technology industry. While these large businesses have resources to develop sophisticated products and services, concerns arise relative to possible product alignment or bundling strategies and price increases. The lack of FTC intervention in the recent mergers suggests that these events have not crossed the regulatory threshold of anti-competitiveness. From the library perspective, however, the consolidated companies wield massive economic clout and the choices within any given product category have narrowed. Libraries have never been passive in their relations with the vendor community. The current environment, however, means that libraries must be even more strategic in their technology investments.
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Breeding, Marshall, ProQuest merges into Clarivate: an update on business integration
The acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate rattled the library industry, in a bold move that further deepens consolidation. This $5.3 billion transaction brings ProQuest under the umbrella of Clarivate, a major force in the scholarly communications and intellectual property business sectors. Though not a primary publisher, Clarivate offers key content and analytics products including Web of Science, ScholarOne, Publons, InCites analytics, and Endnote. Clarivate competes with Elsevier and Digital Science as a workflow and analytics provider in the scholarly communications business ecosystem. By acquiring ProQuest, Clarivate extends its product strategy to include core library technologies as well as a major portfolio of database and content products. This acquisition moves ProQuest into the ranks of publicly traded companies. The merger was pitched to investors as saving $100 million in operational expenses across the two companies. Libraries naturally have an interest in seeing how these savings are accomplished.
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Breeding, Marshall, Soutron Global merges Businesses
Soutron Global, a company that specializes in technology products and services for corporate, law, and other special libraries, entered into a new business arrangement. This transaction combined two related companies, Soutron Limited, based in the United Kingdom and Soutron Global, based in the United States. Bloom Equity Partners gains majority ownership of the company through a new investment. Soutron Global founder Tony Saadat will hold a minority ownership stake in the combined company which he will lead as Chief Executive Officer.
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Volume 1 Number 01January 2022
Breeding, Marshall, Guidepost: Introducing the Newsletter
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. 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. Library Technology Newsletter is offered as an open access publication.Individuals or organizations interested in supporting the author are asked to make voluntary donations in lieu of subscription fees.
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Breeding, Marshall, Axiell acquires Infor Library and Information Solutions
In a move that further consolidates the global library technology industry, Axiell has entered into an agreement to acquire the Library and Information Solutions division of Infor. This deal will add the V-smart integrated library system and related products to Axiell's already extensive portfolio of library technology products. The scale of the transaction is modest but impacts libraries across many countries and regions. At the time of the announcement, Infor reported 180 library customers. V-smart is a well-established product in the Benelux region, with many customers in Belgium and The Netherlands as well as in Switzerland, France, and Greece. Beyond Europe, V-Smart has been implemented by libraries in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and in the United States.
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Breeding, Marshall, Clarivate completes the acquisition of ProQuest
Clarivate announced in June 2021 that it would acquire ProQuest in a transaction valued at $5.3 billion. This acquisition, the largest ever in the library technology industry was originally slated to close. Due to additional time needed for regulatory approval from the Federal Trade Commission, the closing date was delayed. Clarivate announced on December 1, 2021 that the deal had closed, implying that it had gained FTC approval.
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