Monday, June 06, 2016

New Paper on How Strategic Technologies Strengthen Libraries

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of May 8, 2016 entitled American Libraries Journal Publishes Library Systems Report 2016 .

That post described the Library Systems Report 2016, an annual report on trends in the library technology industry produced by Marshall Breeding, a well-known library tech expert who also edits the Library Technology Guides website and produces the annual International Library Automation Perceptions Surveys.

Breeding recently wrote a short paper on Strategic Technology strengthens the Capacity of Libraries to serve their Communities that he will present at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2016 taking place August 3-19, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.

The paper provides an overview of resource management systems, discovery services, open source systems, and business trends in the library systems field.

From the conclusion:
"The industry of companies involved in creating or supporting library technology products has seen dramatic consolidation. In stark contrast to the fragmented business environment of a decade or two ago where dozens of companies competed with overlapping and less differentiated products, the numbers of companies and products seem uncomfortably narrow (...)"

"This narrowed menu of choices also has a positive perspective. Rather than distributing development resources and talent among many similar products and projects, this consolidated environment focuses larger levels of resources on each one. As the complexity of libraries has multiplied, the systems and platforms needed must likewise be more sophisticated. In addition to software development, many of these new platforms require content components such as knowledge bases, bibliographic services, and large-scale discovery indexes which require enormous resources to create and maintain (...) The competition is also balanced through open source alternatives. The number of open source projects is likewise narrow, but with global communities of developers coalescing around each one."

"This phase of the realm of library technology is like no other that has come before. It is a time where there are fewer brands to choose from within each product genre, but one where the options are distinctive in their visions of functionality. The companies and products in place now are the survivors in an industry where many others have fallen through ruthless rounds of mergers and acquisitions.  The products now in play are sophisticated and increasingly specialized for the needs of specific types of libraries. Instead—or in addition—to implementing these new platforms, libraries can also lend their support to the open source projects with large-scale and coordinated development communities."

"Libraries today have opportunities to approach technology strategically. Instead of picking through many different brands of the same kind of product, libraries can choose among this smaller set of options with differing visions of resource management and discovery. Libraries can channel their technical expertise less at commodity tasks such as the administration of servers and operating systems and more on higher level activities such as working with the APIs of these new platforms to create new services."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:42 pm

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