Cloud computing and library systems

Cloud computing and shared services


There is an overlap between cloud computing and 'shared services'. The November 2011 (UKSG Conference) 'Shared Solutions' presentation (also video of presentation) by Ken Chad looks at definitions (of shared services and also the cloud computing) the rationale, issues & barriers, kinds of opportunities & services, impact and finally what we should do about shared services and ‘the cloud’

Cloud computing and library systems


A Cloudy Forecast for Libraries. by Marshall Breeding. Information Today September 2011
From the article....
'Of all the technology trends that I’ve been following for the last couple of years, cloud computing continues to gain the most momentum and stands positioned to most radically transform the shape of library technology. I see that we’re at one of those major turning points where technology rounds a curve into a new vision of the mainstream'.

'Library automation products created in more recent years more fully embrace current-day architectures and technologies and are designed from their inception for delivery through multitenant software as a service. This new round of systems includes Ex Libris’ Alma, OCLC’s Web-scale Management Services, Kuali Foundation’s Kuali OLE, Serials Solutions’ recently announced Web-scale Management Solution, and Innovative Interfaces, Inc.’s Sierra. Others will most likely emerge. These products are at different stages of development. More than 32 early-adopter libraries using OCLC Web-scale Management Services were in production as of July 2011; the others are expected to see completion and implementation over the next year or two.

This new generation of products—more appropriately called something like library services platforms rather than integrated library systems—addresses the fundamental changes that libraries have experienced over the course of the last decade or so toward more engagement with electronic and digital content'.


The cloud is currently a question, not an answer. By Lorcan Dempsey. Lorcan Dempsey's weblog 23 June 2010
From the post......
'There are various ways of characterising cloud computing: see for example the now routine distinction between software-, platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service (explored in the Wikipedia article among other places).

Here is a simple way of thinking about moving library management applications like the ILS to the cloud. While these will continue to exist, taken successively they involve greater reconfiguration of existing processes. Note that I am limiting the discussion to library management applications in this way - a broader discussion might include a range of other interesting possibiliites ...

Consider three simple stages ...
  • Hosting. A library may chose to have an application hosted by a third party. This may provide a saving for the library where the third party delivers at a lower price than the cost of local management, or where local specialist staff is not required. However, the character of the application itself does not change much.
  • Sharing. Libraries may share infrastructure and facilities meaning that spare capacity can be consolidated and reduced. The consolidation of data, infrastructure and services may also mean that services can be enhanced. Think of introduction of new features, rapid integration of new services or information resources, removal of redundant operations, and so on. Note, by sharing here I don't mean that libraries necessarily work with the 'same system', although that is a possibility in some consortial arrangements; they may work with their system instance running in a shared environment.
  • Leveraging. Here, the shared environment is leveraged to create new services. Network effects are important. So, think of recommendation or analytics services based on aggregate circulation or resolver transactions. Think of the ability to more easily do collaborative collection development based on a shared view of selection and acquisitions patterns. Think of the ability to blend interlibrary loan and circulation. Now, these are things that can be done through aggregation of data or interaction between systems. The ability to do this more readily is increased in this environment, within agreed policy and service frameworks.