Library Technology Guides

Documents, Databases, News, and Commentary

Library Technology Guides provides comprehensive and objective information surrounding the many different types of technology products and services used by libraries. It covers the organizations that develop and support library-oriented software and systems. The site offers extensive databases and document repositories to assist libraries as they consider new systems and is an essential resource for professionals in the field to stay current with new developments and trends. Relevant news items are posted daily on Twitter:

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Libary Perceptions 2020: Results of the 13th International Survey of Library Automation

Libary Perceptions 2020: Results of the 13th International Survey of Library Automation

The thirteenth edition of the International Survey of Library Automation presents the latest data on how libraries perceive the effectiveness of the strategic technology systems upon which they depend for their daily operations and to fulfill the expectations of their patrons. This report presents and interprets survey responses gathered from November 2019 through February 2020. Repeating the survey annually reveals interesting trends and insights into the companies and products involved. The survey focuses primarily on integrated library systems and library services platforms as the applications used to acquire, describe, manage, and provide access to their collections. It also assesses the quality of support given from the respective vendor and probes interest in migrating to new solutions and attitudes toward open source alternatives.

Notable Observations
Survey responses suggest possible trends in the next phase of system selections for academic libraries. Ex Libris Alma continues to be recognized for its sophisticated capabilities, especially among large and mid-sized institutions. OCLC WorldShare Management Services is well regarded among mid-sized academics. An increasing number of academic libraries mention interest in FOLIO as it enters the implementation phase of its product cycle.
The migration away from legacy ILS products is in full swing. Most libraries using Millennium, Voyager, and Aleph noted they are considering moving to new systems. The number of libraries using these legacy products continues to diminish rapidly and will fuel the churn of the next round of system selections.
Academic libraries considering migration mention Alma as one of their replacement candidates more than any other product, though interest in FOLIO continues to build.
Products with steady or rising satisfaction scores and high migration indicators include Ex Libris Aleph, Ex Libris Voyager, SirsiDynix Horizon, suggesting a higher likelihood that these libraries will choose thier next system from their incumbent vendor. Both Millennium and Sierra show diminishing satisfaction scores, high migration indicators, and diminishing company loyalty ratings, suggesting interest in moving away from the current vendor to other alternatives.
Libraries using traditional ILS products expressed varying levels of interest in migrating to new products. About 15 percent of those on currently supported products, including Symphony and Library.Solution, indicated they were looking for a new system.
Libraries using modern web-based products have little interest in changing systems. Biblionix Apollo received high satisfaction scores and very few libraries using it are considering alternatives. Even through their satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma and OCLC WorldShare Management Services expressed little interest in changing systems.
Open source products have been adopted in all library sectors. Both major open source ILS products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, with variance depending on support arrangements. Awareness of the FOLIO library services platform continues to increase with 104 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates.

Several themes are evident in the last few editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Presenting results without regard to size categories would give misleading impressions. Products designed for small libraries would not be sucessful among larger and more complex institutions, despite superlative ratings by the small libraries that use them.

Conventional integrated library systems dominate public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also favored proprietary ILS products. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal notable patterns regarding library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are not rated as highly for managing print resources than legacy ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need.

(Library Technology Guides, March 5, 2020)

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ProQuest to Acquire Innovative Interfaces

In a move that further consolidates the library technology industry, Ex Libris has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Innovative Interfaces, Inc. from its private equity investors. Since December 2015, Ex Libris has been owned by ProQuest. In addition to its role as a major content provider to libraries, ProQuest is now responsible for a growing portfolio of library technology products, including major systems for resource management, content discovery, materials acquisition, reading list integration, and research services. While ProQuest faces major competition for each of its product categories, this move substantially strengthens its position in the sector and broadens its scope to include public libraries.

(Smart Libraries Newsletter, January 2020)

FOLIO Crosses New Thresholds

The initiative to develop FOLIO as an open source library services platform has been underway since 2016 and has continued to cross important milestones. The software has continued to advance in its functionality and completeness, leading to its first production migration, selections in formal procurement processes, with other libraries waiting in the wings for future implementation.

(Smart Libraries Newsletter, November 2019)

Ex Libris Acquires RapidILL

In a move that expands its exiting involvement in resource sharing for academic libraries, Ex Libris has acquired RapidILL from Colorado State University. This acquisition expands the company's existing strategy to develop resource sharing products based on its Alma library services platform. RapidILL will continue as a service available to all libraries regardless of the automation systems used. Ex Libris and Colorado State University position this acquisition as an opportunity for RapidILL to see faster software development and to expand its presence globally.

(Smart Libraries Newsletter, August 2019)

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Library Systems Report: Cycles of innovation

Library Systems Report: Cycles of innovation

The library technology field continues to see modest growth overall, though that growth is unevenly distributed among companies. Large companies with expanding portfolios of products and services are giving new shape to the landscape. Despite the dominance of a few globally diverse and large companies, midsized and small companies continue to hold their own and in some cases thrive. Massive companies such as Follett, ProQuest/Ex Libris, and EBSCO represent formidable competition for any challenger in their markets. SirsiDynix and Innovative Interfaces continue to retain and attract diverse libraries to their evolving integrated library system (ILS)–centric product portfolios.

It's a complex industry, with different business and technology trends running simultaneously, often along divergent paths. Economic prospects are low risk, with adequate room for new business opportunities. It is an industry of established companies and few start-ups. It resists new entrants or even the advancement of local or regional companies to the global sphere. The global market for library companies must be seen in the context of client saturation. Almost all libraries that fall within the ranks of eligible customers have at least some level of automation infrastructure in place. In such a zero-sum economy, the success of one company comes at the direct expense of another.

(American Libraries, May 1, 2019)

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Perceptions 2018: An International Survey of Library Automation

Perceptions 2018: An International Survey of Library Automation

This twelfth edition of the International Survey of Library Automation presents the latest data on how libraries perceive the effectiveness of the strategic technology systems upon which they depend for their daily operations and to fulfill the expectations of their patrons. This report presents and interprets survey responses gathered from November 2018 through February 2019. The survey focuses primarily on integrated library systems and library services platforms as the applications used to acquire, describe, manage, and provide access to their collections. It also assesses the quality of support given from the respective vendor and probes interest in migrating to new solutions and attitudes toward open source alternatives.

Notable Observations
The migration away from legacy ILS products is in full swing. Most libraries using Millennium, Voyager, and Aleph noted they are considering moving to new systems.
Academic libraries considering migration mention Alma as one of their replacement candidates almost three times more than any other product.
Products with steady or rising satisfaction scores and high migration indicators include Ex Libris Aleph, Ex Libris Voyager, SirsiDynix Horizon. Innovative Millennium has diminishing satisfaction scores and high migration indicators.
Larger proportions of libraries using flagship ILS products registered interest in new products. About 20 percent of libraries using Library.Solution, Sierra, and Symphony are considering replacements.
Biblionix Apollo received high satisfaction scores and very few libraries using it are considering alternatives. Even through its satisfaction ratings are not superlative, libraries using Ex Libris Alma registered a very low level of interest in changing systems.
Both major open source products, Koha and Evergreen, show increasing levels of satisfaction, with variance depending on support arrangements. Awareness of FOLIO continues to increase with 65 libraries mentioning it among their migration candidates.

3,549 libraries completed this year's survey, providing sufficient data to focus the analysis more on each category of library type and size rather than aggregating across all responses. Libraries of different sizes and types bring different expectations to their systems, making it essential to segment survey results to make meaningful comparisons and extract trends. The functional requirements of public, academic, school, and other types of libraries overlap to a certain extent, but in other areas each has distinctive, if not contradictory, functionality. Some of the products represented in the survey have been designed for specific sectors. For those used by multiple types of libraries, the analysis of the survey results by size and type of organization provides an opportunity to observe any differences in satisfaction across these categories.

Several themes are evident in the last few editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Conventional integrated library systems dominate public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also favored proprietary ILS products. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal interesting patterns regarding the newer generation of library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are perceived as less capable for managing print resources than legacy ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need.

I appreciate the time given by all the libraries that responded to the survey this year and in its previous iterations. Each response contributes to a growing body of data available for the broader library community to explore as they consider their options regarding these strategic technology products. Libraries have always relied on recommendations from their peers as they make system decisions. This survey provides a large aggregation of evaluative data that can complement more in-depth conversations that libraries considering a system would have with specific reference sites.

(Library Technology Guides, February 10, 2019)

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Caveat and Credit

Library Technology Guides was created and is edited by Marshall Breeding. He is solely responsible for all content on this site, and for any errors it may contain. Please notify him if you find any errors or omissions. (off)

Industry News

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April 9, 2020. Colorado Parks and Wildlife join CLiC and choose ByWater Solutions' Koha and Aspen support. ByWater Solution announced that CLiC (Colorado Library Consortium) has added Colorado Parks and Wildlife Research Library to their consortium. They will be using Koha for their ILS and Aspen Discovery ... <<more>>

April 8, 2020. Announcing Galecia's new Virtual Services Platform for Libraries. In response to the shutdown of in-person services, including libraries, due to COVID-19, we have been hard at work putting together a solution that will help libraries continue to fulfill their missio ... <<more>>

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April 6, 2020. A better understanding of APC funding sources could accelerate the transition to open access. A new report published by Springer Nature indicates that a better understanding of the sources of funding for article processing charges could accelerate the transition to open access (OA) publishing ... <<more>>

April 6, 2020. Innovative Business Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19). We continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its global impact. Innovative is committed to providing awareness and transparency to our customers, employees, and partners a ... <<more>>

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April 2, 2020. Springer Nature makes key textbooks freely accessible for educators, students and academics affected by coronavirus lockdown. With the Coronavirus outbreak having an unprecedented impact on education, Springer Nature is launching a global program to support learning and teaching at higher education institutions worldwide. Th ... <<more>>

April 2, 2020. Softlink Information Centres releases Liberty v5 Build 8.035 and Liberty Link 1.5. Softlink Information Centres, a leading supplier of library and research management systems is pleased to announce the release of Liberty v5 Build 8.035 and Liberty Link 1.5. ... <<more>>

April 1, 2020. The Koha Community and ByWater add tools to help with COVID 19 disruptions. The Koha Community, one of the world's largest and most active Open Source communities, has come together to fast track a feature to allow libraries to bulk update due dates within the system. Previou ... <<more>>

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