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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...

November 2012

  Progressive Trends in New Zealand I continue to see in almost all of my encounters with technology use in libraries an ever-increasing reliance on cooperative efforts to find ways to gain more efficiencies, lower costs, and make a greater impact on patron services than possible alone. This spirit of cooperation seems well rooted in most library organizations. --Marshall Breeding   Also...

October 2012

  Balancing Continuity and Change through Business Transitions Libraries expect continuity from the organizations that they rely on for strategic technology products. Libraries tend to make use of their automation products for incredibly long periods and expect them to be supported and enhanced throughout a prolonged life cycle. I observe that a typical lifespan of an integrated library...

September 2012

  Growing Cooperation and Consolidation We can see a definite trend of consolidation among the organizations that create technology products for libraries. Through a long series of mergers and acquisitions, the industry has gradually transformed from being fractured in a way that pits relatively small companies against each other with overlapping products and limited revenue opportunities to...

August 2012

  Forming Constructive Partnerships I have long held that libraries should not be passive consumers of technology products, but rather, active partners in shaping them. Libraries have a great deal at stake in how well these products work. They benefit from individual or collective efforts to influence product development in order to address ever evolving requirements. Not all libraries have...

July 2012

  The OCLC Non-Event The topic sparking the most buzz in library tech circles at ALA’s Annual Conference was the unfortunate turn of events surrounding OCLC leadership. OCLC had named Jack Blount as its new President and Chief Executive Officer on June 8, 2012 and then rescinded the appointment with a subsequent and surprising announcement. A letter from Larry Alford, chair of the OCLC Board...

June 2012

  Open and Linked Data Despite a proclivity toward openness, libraries have historically been involved with data and content under various levels of restrictions imposed by copyright and proprietary business arrangements. Libraries have also dealt with data primarily through self-contained applications, mostly managed within relational databases. While these modes of operation persist today...

May 2012

  Unified Discovery and Management of E-book Content and Lending The lending of e-books continues to be an activity of critical interest in public libraries. As e-books gain ever wider popularity by the general public, libraries have been steadily working out the many problems related to offering e-book services similar to those offered for print materials. As e-book content increases...

April 2012

  Investing in the Industry The big news this month concerns Innovative Interfaces, Inc. receiving a major investment from a pair of private equity firms. Until now, this company had often touted its independence from the influence of outside investors as one of its positive qualities. Innovative will need to demonstrate that its new ownership arrangement actually does mean “business as...

February 2012

  While the largest companies tend to garner the most headlines, it’s important to remember that the library automation industry consists of a very diverse group of organizations. Players in this industry range from tiny firms of with a handful of employees to the larger international companies with hundreds of personnel that do business around the world. I’m glad to see this kind of diversity...

January 2012

As we enter a new year, I’d like to pause and consider some of the trends and events that I anticipate playing out in 2012. The predictions I made for 2011 largely held (see Smart Libraries Newsletter, February 2011). Given the momentum of developments and the issues currently in play, 2012 may turn out to be a very interesting year in the realm of library technologies. --Marshall Breeding Also...