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Automation Marketplace 2009: Investing in the Future

Library Journal April 1, 2009 issue

For the last eight years, I have authored the “Automation Marketplace” feature published by Library Journal, which appears in the April 1 issue. This article reflects my attempt to characterize the state of the library automation industry, identifying product and technology trends that libraries need to know as they develop their automation strategies and acquire products from this slate of companies. Libraries spend significant portions of their resources on technology and need to shape their plans armed with as much data as possible. The Automation Marketplace articles rely on information received from the companies in response to a structured survey that that requests data regarding many aspects of their business activity. I work hard to ensure that the data represented in the article are consistent and provide the best measures reasonably possible, given the tremendous variations in the ways that each of these organizations package their products and services. The article is also informed by other information that I collect on the library automation industry from many sources throughout the year.

One of the most difficult tasks in developing the article involves creating its tag line, a phrase that attempts to capture the main theme of the year in a few words. This year’s tag “Investing in the Future” latches on to the unexpected increase that many of the companies made in their capacity for development and support despite an incredibly difficult economy. Most of the companies involved seem to be working hard to meet the increasing expectations that libraries have for more innovative and effective automation products.

In a year where the general economy presented enormous challenges, libraries continued to make investments in automation, especially in products that help improve what and how they deliver to their end users. Access to electronic content remains a key driver. In response to anticipated needs for new approaches to library automation, many companies have invested to expand their development capacities. Trends this year include the sharply increased growth of Software as a Service, as well as the release of application programming interfaces and data access models by proprietary software vendors. continue reading...

I maintain a resource page of these reports on Library Technology Guides.

Marshall Breeding Apr 22, 2009 10:29:42 Link to this thread

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