Name:Marshall Breeding
Organization:Library Technology Guides

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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Gathering library automation Data

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I've recently finished my eighth version of the “Automation Systems Marketplace” which will appear in the April 1 issue of Library Journal. This article provides a great opportunity for me to get detailed data from the companies involved in the library automation industry regarding their activities over the last year. Each year companies respond to a survey where they are asked to respond to specific questions regarding the numbers of systems sold, the personnel employed, and the like. In general, the companies involved cooperate very nicely in responding with information that seems accurate and complete.

In addition to the self-reported information provided by the companies involved in the industry, I aim to gather data from other perspectives. The "Perceptions 2008: An international Survey of Library Automation" aims to gather information from the libraries' perspective. While the data from this survey isn’t comprehensive, it has been helpful in identifying or confirming broad trends.

Ideally, I would like to have open and comprehensive data regarding the library automation technologies used in libraries. For the last decade, I have been working toward developing the lib-web-cats directory of libraries to fulfill this function. It would be great to have a comprehensive account of the automation products used in all of the libraries throughout the world. Such a database would be valuable to any library in need of objective data as they make decisions regarding their automation strategies and when going through procurement processes.

The ideal of creating a comprehensive database of libraries that registers the automation products in use exceeds what can be accomplished by any single individual. It requires participation by libraries and willingness to provide data on their automation components. A small amount of effort by each library will result in a powerful resource that provides information to a broad audience. It would be great if visitors to Library Technology Guides would take a few moments to check lib-web-cats to be sure that the entry for any libraries with which they are involved is accurate and complete. Even better readers might make use of distribution lists of which librarians in their geographic region or specialty to solicit other libraries to submit their data.

Thanks in advance for any assistance provided in gathering data regarding libraries and their automation products.

Marshall Breeding Mar 22, 2009 09:33:01 Link to this thread Digg it!  Share on Facebook  post to

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