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Smart Libraries Newsletter

March 2012

  The Library Automation News Cycle Typically, news in the library automation industry tends to be clustered around major conferences, and larger conferences tend to attract bigger news. The American Library Association Annual Conference (held each summer) and the Midwinter Meeting (held early...

January 2014

  Themes of Consolidation to Prevail in 2014 In covering the major events of 2013 in the library technology industry for Smart Libraries Newsletter, I see a stage set for interesting and important possibilities in the course of the new year. While I naturally have no ability to predict the future, we can anticipate at least some of the next stages in the course set by trends...

December 2013

  Vendor Consolidation and its Impact on Libraries Library technology vendors continue to consolidate. Since the mid-2000s, the shape of the library automation industry has changed considerably through a constant stream of mergers and acquisitions. Many smaller companies continue to prosper, serving narrower groups of libraries with specialized products. But a group of large organizations...

November 2013

  A Global Industry The library technology industry increasingly functions globally, with many organizations involved in diverse countries and regions. I find it quite interesting to study the international dynamics at play among the organizations that provide technology products and services to libraries. Many of those familiar here in the United States are also active in other countries....

September 2013

  Open Source Alternatives in Library Systems Procurement Open source today stands as a routine part of the library automation industry. In the integrated library system arena, Koha and Evergreen have been implemented by hundreds of libraries here in the United States, and especially for Koha, all around the world. OPALS has been implemented by hundreds of school libraries as well as church...

October 2013

  International Perspectives I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to travel overseas to see firsthand how libraries worldwide make use of technology, learning about companies and products not well known in the United States. The realm of library technologies encompasses an interesting mix of internationally-oriented companies with products deployed throughout the world and others that focus...

August 2013

  Dynamics of Discovery and Catalogs Since about 2005, Smart Libraries Newsletter has chronicled the development and adoption of what was originally called next-generation catalogs, and later discovery interfaces, and more recently Webscale discovery services. Since then, many changes have developed in this space. In recent years, the emerging trend is for many libraries to drop third party...

July 2013

  The People Who Shape the Industry One of most appealing aspects of the library automation industry is the interesting people involved. From those who lead the companies to those who work behind the scenes developing new technologies, I’ve been fortunate to rub elbows with many of the cast of characters who have shaped the library automation landscape. I recall so many conversations where...

June 2013

  The Ever Narrowing Range of Choices for Library Automation In developing the articles for this issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter, I became a little more aware of, and a bit more concerned about, how few products are available to libraries for their critical automation systems. While in the last few years the industry has not seen business consolidations that eliminate competing companies...

May 2013

  Discovery Services Improving I continue to be impressed with the ongoing improvements in library resource discovery services. These services aim to allow library users to access library resources with the same level of ease that they experience with the general Web through search engines like Google or Bing. But ease of use isn’t the only concern. It’s imperative that these discovery...

April 2013

  The Challenge to Cooperate and Compete In my view, the library automation industry, though extremely competitive, maintains a flavor of collegiality. I’m not close enough to other competitive sectors to really know, but I suspect many are considerably more ruthlessness. The organizations that create technology products for libraries must take the sensibilities and values of their...