The competition among new library services platforms is increasingly robust as part of the ongoing migration to a new generation of automation products that are far more functional and dynamic than integrated library systems.
Companies will be demonstrating their products — Innovative Interfaces’s Sierra, Serials Solutions Intota, Ex Libris’s Alma, OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services, and Kuali OLE—at ALA’s annual conference which begins next week in Anaheim, and here is a roundup of some recent news as well as a schedule of some panels at ALA.
Serials Solutions, a unit of ProQuest, on Tuesday rolled out the first iteration of Intota, which went into development last June. Intota is coming out in phases and this initial phase will allow the project’s six development partners to test interoperability with vendors and also try out the company’s Serials Solutions knowledgebase which is collectively shared by libraries that use the product. This database supports global print and electronic resources with the goal of streamlining and improving selection, acquisitions, and description.
Intota, which is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model, is scheduled to be fully available by the end of 2013.
“Providing access to the test environment for our partners marks another milestone in the development of Intota and proof point to our commitment to develop innovative solutions that transform how libraries manage their operations,” said Michael Gersch, senior vice president and general manager of Serials Solutions.
Kuali OLE, an open source alternative, released version 0.6 on May 23, which has increased functionality, including schema to describe and transmit licensing information for electronic resources, according to the company’s website. The target for the implementation of version 1.0 is the first quarter of 2013.
In related news, a collaboration was announced on Tuesday with the United Kingdom’s JISC that will develop an international open data repository called Global Open Knowledgebase (GOKb). The cloud service will aim to give academic libraries a broader view of subscribed eresources.
It will include data such as publication information, related organizations, and model licences, and will be accessible across all US and UK academic libraries. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is supporting the project with a $499,000 grant, and North Carolina State University will serve as lead institution for the project.
“This Kuali OLE – JISC partnership adds momentum to our efforts to create an open library system and offers benefits to all participants. We are pleased at the way our projects have come together toward a common goal, and look forward to sharing the results widely,” said Deborah Jakubs, university librarian and vice provost for library affairs at Duke University and co-chair of the Kuali OLE board.
OCLC WorldShare Management Services, which began early adoption work in July 2010 and was released for general availability in the United States in July 2011, is planning its 11th release this coming August, according to Andrew Pace, the executive director for Networked Library Services at OCLC.
In addition, OCLC will announce this week that eight libraries in Australia will begin pilot projects to implement the service. This comes in the wake of OCLC opening a new data center in March in Sydney, the fourth in OCLC’s global network.
“Pilot participants are helping to promote library innovation in this part of the world, and they are expanding the possibilities for collaboration for the entire OCLC cooperative,” said Chris Thewlis, OCLC regional manager, Australia. “We are very pleased that these libraries are taking the lead in adopting this new, innovative approach to cooperative library management services.”
.As of today, 40 libraries are live with WMS and 210 have committed to using the service.
Alma went live in the cloud in January, with monthly releases that are applied to the live Alma production environments, according to Dvir Hoffman, the director of product management & marketing.
“In terms of functionalities, right now we already have a complete coverage of all the different workflows such as: fulfillment, acquisition, resource management and more, as well as analytics that is an integral part of Alma,” Hoffman said. “As a unified solution, the workflows are covering both electronic, print and digital materials. At the moment we are in the process of moving the first customers into production and continuing to execute our roadmap across the entire workflows with new and advanced workflows.”
Ex Libris has signed 24 contracts for 55 institutions to become early adopters of Alma, according to LJ’s Automation Marketplace report by Marshall Breeding, who also manages the Library Technology Guides website.
Sierra, introduced in April 2011, has generated particular interest, with about 220 organizations signing contracts as early adopters as of June 13, representing over 800 libraries, a number of sales almost unprecedented in this sector of the industry, according to Breeding. Sierra has 40 beta partners and is on track for a summer release, according to Gene Shimshock, a company spokesperson.
Although all the competing products in this area have different characteristics, they generally aim to provide a web-based platform that will streamline and unify all the fractured, back-office library services (e.g., selection, acquisition, metadata management, digitization, and fulfillment) for both print and electronic content. They rely on highly shared data models and global knowledgebases instead of localized databases, are deployed through multitenant SaaS based on a service-oriented architecture, and provide a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs).
Here are some panels of interest around this area scheduled at ALA:
Intota has an educational session called “The Road to Intota: The Journey of Web-scale Development.” Click here to register.
OCLC will have two panels focused on Worldshare Management Services:
OCLC ― Selecting OCLC WorldShare Management Services: Perspectives from Different Types of Libraries
OCLC ― Adopting OCLC WorldShare Management Services: Perspectives from Different Positions in Libraries
Ex Libris has three programs built around Alma:
Getting to Know Alma: A Demonstration of the Ex Libris Unified Resource Management System
Libraries on Demand: Building a User-Driven Collection with Ex Libris Alma
Alma Analytics: Making the Most of Your Library’s Data
Demonstrations of Sierra can be seen at booth #1812.