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May 2011

The main feature in this month’s issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter is on Innovative Interfaces’ announcement of its new library automation platform. I continue to be impressed by how the library automation industry seems to be gearing up for a new phase, one where a new guard of systems is lining up to eventually replace at least some of the veteran systems in the ranks. We’ve been through this change before, several times.

In the 1990’s, we saw a similar situation--a slate of legacy ILS products turned over to new flagship systems. Many of the major vendors that had created products in times where computer terminals prevailed reinvented their wares with client/server designs and graphical user interfaces. Examples from this period include NOTIS to Horizon, DRA Classic to Taos, INNOPAC to Millennium, the telnet clients of Unicorn being replaced by WorkFlows, and ALEPH 300 to ALEPH 500. Some new systems emerged in this cycle, such as Voyager from what was then called Endeavor Information Systems. An even earlier cycle in the 1980’s saw transitions such as CLSI Libs100 to PLUS, GEAC GLIS 8000 and 9000 to Advance, and the demise of systems such as BLISS and DataPhase. Each cycle is ushered in through changes in the broader computing industry that made older technologies untenable. In very broad terms, the same basic functionality survived through each of these technology cycles. The basics of circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials, and online catalog carried forward from the earliest ILS products through the ones in place even today.

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