Monday, January 23, 2023

College and Research Libraries Article on Library Systems Maintenance

The most recent issue of the journal College and Research Libraries has a feature article entitled Indispensable, Interdependent, and Invisible: A Qualitative Inquiry into Library Systems Maintenance.

I admit library systems is an area to which I need to pay more attention.

From the intro:

"This article focuses on what has been traditionally known as the Integrated Library System or ILS, because it remains core to the operation of academic libraries."

"The ILS is the site of acquisitions, catalog record and item maintenance, and circulation management. It provides data to the library’s public catalog or discovery system and can be queried for statistical analysis of item use and overviews of holdings. Despite its centrality to the work of the library, its maintenance is rarely discussed in the literature of the profession. Yet an incomplete understanding of ILS maintenance is an incomplete understanding of the very thing that keeps the library functioning."

"In this article, maintenance is defined to include regular system upgrades, updating system settings, addressing bugs and issues, upkeep of integrations with other institutional systems, and minor tasks to improve user experience or support existing functions. The latter type of work spans maintenance and innovation,5 but when it consists of bringing existing systems into alignment with expectations and work already being performed, it aligns closely with other areas of maintenance included here. The term “library systems maintainer” is used here because not all maintainers are librarians, and to emphasize that those in this role also support interoperability between the ILS and some or all other technical systems used in the library."

The author is Ruth Kitchin Tillman at at Penn State University Libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:35 pm


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