Selecting a library management system is never an easy decision. Vendors of integrated library systems (ILS) offer solutions tailored to public, academic, school, and special libraries, but even when organized by type, libraries are hardly one-size-fits-all organizations. Choosing a new vendor tends to mean a major investment, with a multiyear commitment to a solution that often will require new training, adaptation, and trade-offs among cost, features, and functionality. Still, it’s a tough choice that many libraries are facing once again. This second edition of Library Systems Landscape, the successor to LJ’s annual Automation Marketplace feature, will examine the impact of recent mergers, the continued adoption of next-generation library services platforms, the emergence of mobile-optimized staff clients, and new partnerships and feature development in the open source arena.
April 2014 marked the launch of the Ex Libris Developer Network, a new, open environment designed to enable IT professionals, developers, third-party vendors, and others to collaborate and experiment with applications and extensions for Ex Libris Group products, including the next-generation Alma library services platform (LSP), the Primo discovery solution, and the traditional integrated library systems (ILS) Aleph and Voyager.
Koha and Evergreen aim high with development targets. This February, EBSCO Information Services announced plans to provide funding and technical assistance for contributors to the Koha open source ILS platform. The partnership will enable an upgrade of Koha’s core search engine to Elasticsearch, the popular open source, multitenant-capable full-text search engine.
Last August, the libraries of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, and the University of Chicago Library became the first to launch the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE), a community-sourced library management system developed by a partnership of research libraries. Within days of Lehigh and Chicago officially announcing their implementations, Brad Wheeler, chair of the Kuali Foundation Board of Directors, announced in a conference call that the foundation would be creating a for-profit commercial entity (later named KualiCo) to support future development of the Kuali project.
Company profiles of Auto-Graphics, Inc., Axiell Group, BiblioCommons, Biblionix, ByWater Solutions, EBSCO Information Services, Equinox Software, Ex Libris Group, Follett Software Company, Infor Library & Information Solutions, Innovative Interfaces, Inc., LibLime, a division of PTFS, The Library Corporation (TLC), Mandarin Library Automation, Inc., OCLC, ProQuest, and SirsiDynix.
This first edition of Library Systems Landscape, the successor to LJ’s annual Automation Marketplace feature, will examine how library systems are currently evolving, specifically focusing on recent advances in ebook integration, the emergence of next-generation library services platforms (LSP), new tools that are expanding the boundaries of what library websites and catalogs can do, and the maturation of open source options as competitors to commercial products.
In this time of transition of the library automation industry, stakes are high for the vendors that are creating innovative—or even transformative—products and competing to bring these products first to the market. Establishing momentum early is essential in the library arena, which is attentive to the successes of a vendor’s peers and risk averse.