Marshall Breeding’s Automation Marketplace 2013 has been published in the Library Journal. The report analyses the library automation software market and is required reading if you want to follow its evolution.
The main topic of this year’s article is that the market is in a period of transition from the old library systems to the new generation, the so-called library services platforms.
OCLC‚Äôs WorldShare Management Services, Innovative‚Äôs Sierra and Ex Libris‚Äôs Alma are at the top of the list.
Serial Solutions, producer of the powerful discovery tool Summon, is working hard on its library services platforms Intota, but it is still under development. The open-source alternative, Kuali OLE, can offer some features, but not a whole system, and certain parts are still under development.
The article offers information on companies, investments and acquisitions, new platforms such as VTLS’s Open Skies, evolution of current systems like SirsiDynix BLUE Cloud Client Suite, best sellers, etc.
An important aspect that is mentioned in the article is the new technological environment and purchasing scheme. The new platforms are made to be SaaS (Software as a Service), which means that the companies offer the software on a subscription basis. There is no purchasing cost, just an annual subscription that includes the technological infrastructure. The cost of subscription is compensated by the savings for institutions in not having to run and maintain servers.
In conclusion, this article lets you know the state of the art in the automation marketplace.
A few days ago we had a visit from Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen, Director of Library Network Services at the National Library of Finland. This visit was for one of a series of seminars organized by the Consorci de Biblioteques Universit√†ries de Catalunya (Catalan University Library Association, CBUC). The visiting experts relate their experiences with library system changes, as already mentioned in other posts.
The National Library of Finland is working on a system change. They manage the technologies at libraries, museums and archives.
The aim of the project is to change the current system and create a new union catalogue called the National Metadata Repository.
After analysing different software solutions, they decided to create one by themselves to bring together all the different information they currently have. They are planning to create an API to connect their data, for those interested.
She told us how they are organizing the whole project and how they are managing the different project groups and resources.
They are also currently working on the National Digital Library (www.finna.fi), which includes information from museums, libraries and archives. This new site is now in beta. They are working to replace the current union catalogue, Melinda,¬† with the new system.
There is a big challenge to develop a new system from scratch. We suppose that they will base it on the Kuali Open Library Environment. However, it is a big software system to build and they have a big task ahead of them. Another important aspect is the funding; this challenge could be expensive and they have to think about the future, because the system will have to be maintained.
We will follow the progress of the Finnish system and look forward to seeing the end result.
Last month I attended a talk entitled the French Union Catalogue of Higher Education and Research, SUDOC, towards a national next-generation ILS.
The leading French higher education and research libraries form part of ABES (Bibliographic Agency for Higher Education).
ABES is working on changing the ILS at all of the group’s libraries. Currently each library has its own ILS software, so there are a number of different ILSs.
The main goal of the project is to implement one single library software at all the libraries.
The software being evaluated are next-generation ILSs, specifically:
ABES has organized different work teams for different aspects of the new system to list the basic functionalities needed. Currently, the groups are analyzing the different options to find the system that best fits at all the libraries.
Jean Bernon, the manager of this project at ABES, explained the methodology used and the different aspects involved in organizing the teams.
ABES collated information on library technologies. This selection is available from their delicious account.
The project is in progress and they are working on their needs and testing software, though no candidate has been chosen yet.
It was interesting to hear about what others do and learn from their experiences.
A few weeks ago Toni and I attended the Marshall Breeding seminar as Toni mentioned in his post entitled ‚ÄúWhat does the future hold for library automation systems?‚ÄĚ I also attended the annual Spanish Millennium user group conference (GEUIN) and a webinar on OCLC WorldShare.
New library services platforms, the logical evolution of ILS, are on the agenda. At the user group conference a representative from Innovative Interfaces showed us all the advantages of their new library services platform: Sierra. ‚ÄėAPIs‚Äô and ‚Äėopenness‚Äô were the most repeated words in the presentation. The company‚Äôs commitment to this new platform has seen them offer the possibility to change from Millennium to Sierra while just paying for the data migration. The cost of the software is included in the annual maintenance. A large number of libraries have joined the project. However, only two have gone live with Sierra.
Library software companies are starting to promote and offer information on their new platforms.
OCLC WorldShare is another example of the library services platforms that Breeding talked about. We attended a webinar presentation for this entirely web-based platform, which highlighted the APIs and way the user community can work to share and collaborate. The main selling point for OCLC is the huge number of WorldCat records.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered. We all understand what openness is and the benefits of sharing information, but there are lots of customisations that libraries carry out on their local catalogues. These customisations may even affect the MARC records, but these kinds of records have to be as standard as possible. This is just one of the possible considerations that librarians have to bear in mind.
The main factor at the moment, with the little information that we have, is the need to change librarians‚Äô minds. This new concept of library system is a way to evolve and force the whole library community to take a step forward, modernise tasks and change priorities. They have to focus on users rather than the librarians and break with the typical model of boxes of resources that used to exist in libraries and move to a single box for everything.
Marshall Breeding¬†came to Barcelona and during his visit he gave a seminar entitled Global Business and Technology Trends in Library Automation. The seminar was organised by the CBUC, Catalan University Library Association, and held on 2 April. It was open to all of the association‚Äôs members, their collaborators and companies from the sector.
Francesc and I were able to attend and talk to Mr Breeding about which trends are going to define the future of library services in academic libraries.
Of the questions that came up, one of the most important ones was the current transition from integrated library systems to library services platforms ‚Äď a term coined by Breeding to define the evolution of current systems that are still designed to manage collections on paper.
Library services platforms are designed instead for content management, regardless of the format, thus integrating into one single platform the dispersed contents on a range of platforms, as is currently the case at libraries:¬†ILS + Electronic Resource Management + OpenURL Link Resolver + Digital Collections Management platform + Institutional Repository + Discovery-layer services for broader access to library collections + …
One of the main features of these platforms is the flexibility and ability to manage different kinds of library materials, multiple metadata formats and the corresponding workflows.
Openness has been defined as the backbone to the library‚Äôs technology strategies.
One of the issues stressed by Breeding was the need for these new platforms to move away from the ‚Äėblack box‚Äô paradigm and become open systems. Openness has been defined as the backbone to the library‚Äôs technology strategies. Libraries need to do more things with their data and they have to be able to process these data easily. The need for open APIs and interoperability is key in these systems.
The future of these systems depends on easier access to the data held in the their knowledge bases, which are their greatest asset; and in the flexibility to generate and process the growing diversity of data and metadata models.