The second in the series of HELibTech briefing papers challenges the current definition of a library services platform (LSP) and suggests ways in which library systems might develop. While a new generation of library systems has emerged there remains a very significant lack of interoperability between the various components that make up the wider library technology ‘ecosystem'. So, although we talk of library services platforms, libraries and library system vendors have not yet fully realised a platform-based, interoperable library ecosystem. Cloud computing could help break this paradigm as it is doing with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Gartner, an information technology market research and advisory firm, suggests that the ERP suite is being deconstructed into what they characterise as a ‘postmodern ERP.' Gartner suggests that the result will be a more loosely coupled environment with much of the functionality sourced as Cloud services or via business process outsourcers. Will we see the same trend in library technology?
A more open library technology ecosystem, possibly making better use of open source components, would eliminate the restrictions of a closed and monolithic suite of services from a single vendor. Solutions are moving to the Cloud but aren't yet really platforms. It is possible that such a platformbased ecosystem model will be the "next generation" in library automation. The promise for libraries is a more flexible and cost effective solution and for users a much improved user experience.
Suzanne Enright, Registrar at the University of Westminster, London commented:
"It is always important to see library technology trends in a wider context, not least that of the wider corporate ecosystem and the HELibTech briefing papers are really helpful in navigating our complex landscape. This briefing paper provides interesting new insights into the challenging area of library related technology, where the demands of our users aren't always matched by the market providers. The need for interoperability is in constant flux in the increasingly complex world of technology-enhanced learning and research".
About Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech)
HELibTech is a free and open community resource that aims to provide a starting point for anyone interested in library technology in Higher Education. HELibTech originated in a major sector project: The Jisc & SCONUL Library Management Systems Study 1 that was completed in March 2008. HELibTech has enabled the work of that project to be kept up to date and expanded beyond the scope of the original project. As well as vital data on the various kinds of library technology employed across UK Higher Education, it also includes articles on major issues such as shared services, ebooks, open source and library services platforms.
About Ken Chad Consulting
Ken Chad Consulting Ltd was set up in 2007 to help libraries become more effective through the better and more imaginative use of technology. Consulting activities have included work for businesses, academic institutions including the universities of Cambridge, Kent and Manchester, and sector bodies such as Jisc and SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries). Projects have encompassed ebooks, resource discovery, open and linked data, archives, repositories and research management systems. Ken has published articles and presented widely on the strategic impact of technology-driven change He is a member (MCLIP) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional CILIP, and the American Library Association (ALA). Ken is also a main committee member of UKSG which ‘exists to connect the information community and encourage the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication'.
Rethinking the Library Services Platform. By Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) briefing paper (No. 2). January 2016. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5154.8248 #rethinkLSP on Twitter Available at: www.helibtech.com and www.kenchadconsulting.com/publications/