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Name: Marshall Breeding

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Organization: Library Technology Guides


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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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It's Time to Break the Mold of the Original ILS

I'm been thinking lately about what a library automation system would look like today if we had the chance to start completely from scratch. I don't necessarily think we'll ever get the chance to start over, but I do worry that we're entirely too constrained by the ILS in its current form. In my Systems Librarian column for the Nov / Dec issue of Computers in Libraries, I present a few of the ways that library automation systems could serve libraries better if we could rebuild them around the ways that libraries work today.

Computers in Libraries Nov / Dec 2007
I anticipate that the next cycle of library automation developments will focus more on the ILS, but hopefully in a completely redefined form. The basic structure of today’s ILS was cast more than 20 years ago. The next generation of library automation systems needs to be designed to match the workfLows of today’s libraries, which manage both digital and print resources. In order to provide efficient and effective support, the software needs to be designed around the processes and tasks that meet the goals of the organization. The current slate of ILS products works on many assumptions about library workflows that have long since changed. The next generation would benefit from a thorough re-examination of the day-to-day work that takes place inside libraries.

Read the entire article. Here's a list of Systems Librarian columns.

Feb 12, 2008 18:39:13

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Open Minds, Open Books, Open Source

Inside Higher Ed leads today with an article by Andy Guess titled "Open Minds, Open Books, Open Source." The article starts with a reference to my Perceptions 2007 article and survey, and how it "revealed a measure of discord over the options available to librarians for automating their electronic catalogs and databases, software called integrated library systems."

Inside Higher Ed

The article then goes on to describe some of the open source initiatives in the new generation library interface realm, including VUfind from Villanova University, the eXtensible Catalog work at University of Rochester River Campus Libraries, and LibraryFind from Oregon State University. None of the open source ILS poducts such as Koha or Evergreen were mentioned.

This article makes great points about libraries inventing their own way by embracing open source alternatives as they feel that the traditional ILS companies have not provided the level of innovation needed.

I agree that these projects represent important efforts within the library community. Interest in open source has never been stronger. I would only temper this observation with the other major finding in the Perceptions 2007, that libraries as overall expressed a relatively low interest in open source ILS alternatives. While I think that the levels of interest will continue to grow, I can't disregard the surprising low rankings given in response to the question regarding interested in implementing an open source ILS.

I expect to see robust competition between open source and proprietary closed source options in the library software space for the foreseeable future. But having the open source alternatives in the game at all represents an incredible change.

Feb 19, 2008 10:43:00

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