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Library Systems Report 2016: Power plays

Library Systems Report

The 2016 edition of the annual industry report that I have produced since 2002 has been published by American Libraries. The online version is available now and the feature will appear in the May 2016 print issue. The 2002 through 2013 editions of this report were published by Library Journal.

e technology infrastructure libraries implement can affect their ability to manage internal operations efficiently and deliver high-quality services, in person and online. Weak or obsolete technology products impede success.

Libraries have much at stake in products that align well with their strategies, resonate with their patrons, and facilitate the work of their staff. Previously established products are evolving to gain long-overdue modernization. In an era of web-based and cloud computing, library technology has held fast to aspects of the previous age of client–server computing. Library systems continue to see uneven progress.

A new shape of the industry

Some of the most significant shifts of strength in the history of the industry took place in 2015, and a new set of dynamics emerged with important implications. Consolidation among top players occurred in both the library software and RFID sectors. Each recently acquired smaller companies to expand into additional product areas synergistic with business strategies or new international regions.

The transitions seen in 2015 were not lateral changes of ownership among investors but strategic acquisitions that concentrated power among a smaller number of much larger companies and reassembled product portfolios. Libraries may resist consolidation, but this could enable the development of technology products and services that are less fragmented and better able to support libraries as they provide access to increasingly complex collections.

A number of major business transitions transpired this year, and each significantly affected a corner of the industry.

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Jul 12, 2016 09:47:51
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