Accessible overviews of key current issues for library technology
Accessible overviews of key current issues for library technology
This section covers next generation resource *management* systems Library Service Platforms such as (Ex Libris) Alma, (OCLC) WMS, (Innovative Interfaces) .It does not cover Discovery systems as such - these are covered in more detail under the Discovery entry.
Who is buying Library Services Platforms? See the Procurements page to see who is out to tender and who has bought a LSP
Rethinking the library services platform By Ken Chad
Second (January 2016) HELibTech briefing paper
While a new generation of library services platforms (LSPs) has emerged there remains a very significant lack of interoperability between the various components that make up the library technology ‘ecosystem’. So, although we talk of library services *platforms*, libraries and library system vendors have not yet fully realised a platform-based, interoperable library ecosystem. Cloud computing could help break this paradigm as it is doing with ERP solution. ORACLE is no longer a single product suite but sits in The Cloud alongside interoperable applications from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). In summary the ERP suite is being deconstructed into what Gartner, an information technology market research and advisory firm, characterises as a ‘postmodern ERP.’ This will result will be more loosely coupled ERP environment with much of the functionality sourced as Cloud services or via business process outsourcers. Will we see the same trend in library technology?
No single vendor will be able to develop all the applications necessary to meet the technology requirements of a complex library – and librarians like to see choice in the market. A more open library technology ecosystem, possibly making better use of open source components would eliminate the restrictions of a closed and monolithic suite of services from a single vendor. Solutions are moving to The Cloud but aren’t yet really platforms. It is possible that such a platform-based ecosystem model will be the “next generation” in library automation. The promise for libraries is a more flexible and cost effective solution and for users a much improved user experience.
Rethinking the Library Services Platform (LSP ) By Ken Chad. UKSG eNews 27 November 2015
In a complex ecosystem no single integrated LSP will meet the needs of libraries. Using print management as one of the defining factors for an LSP is the ‘LMS/ILS tail wagging the LSP dog”. A more user centred approach is needed. Comparing LSPs with enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), Ken suggests that we may see a similar development to what Gartner has characterised as the ‘postmodern’ ERP. They predict a “ a more federated, loosely coupled ERP environment” and Ken suggests this could be the path forward for LSPs if vendors do more to open up their platforms.
Library management system to library services platform. Resource management for libraries: a new perspective, Ken Chad HELibTech Briefing Paper August 2015
This briefing paper contrasts the library resource management landscape now with the situation in 2008 when the Jisc/Sconul LMS study recommended that the time was not right for libraries to purchase a new library system. In the intervening period a new generation of 'library services platforms' (LSPs) has emerged and the pace of procurement has quickened. Ken analyses the current landscape and looks at the strategic issues around the changing nature of library collections, shared services, workflows and analytics. The paper is made available under a CC-0 license to enable easy re-use.
Library Services Platforms: A maturing genre of products.By Marshall Breeding Library Technology Reports. (ISSN 0024-2586) American Library Association 2015
Abstract: “The genre of library services platforms helps libraries manage their collection materials and automate many aspects of their operations by addressing a wider range of resources and taking advantage of current technology architectures compared to the integrated library systems that have previously dominated. This issue of Library Technology Reports explores this new category of library software, including its functional and technical characteristics. It highlights the differences with integrated library systems, which remain viable for many libraries and continue to see development along their own trajectory. This report provides an up-to-date assessment of these products, including those that have well-established track records as well as those that remain under development. The relationship between library services platforms and discovery services is addressed. The report does not provide detailed listings of features of each product, but gives a general overview of the high-level organization of functionality, the adoption patterns relative to size, types, and numbers of libraries that have implemented them, and how these libraries perceive their performance. This seminal category of library technology products has gained momentum in recent years and is positioned to reshape how libraries acquire, manage, and provide access to their collections as they go forward into the next decade.”
The Future of Library Systems: Library Services Platforms.By Carl Grant. NISO. Information Standards Quarterly. Fall 2012. Vol 24 Issue 4 ISSN 1041-0031
This is a good summary of Library services platforms. The article provides some good definition of what cloud computing means in a Library Services Platform context and useful summaries/analysis of the various vendor offerings from OCLC, Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, Kulai OLE, Serial Solutions and VTLS.
The Next Generation Integrated Library System: A Promise Fulfilled? By Yongming Wang and Trevor A. Dawes. Information Technology and Libraries. September 2012
From the abstract..“
“New library systems the second (or next) generation are needed to effectively manage the processes of acquiring, describing, and making available all library resources. This article examines the state of library systems today and describes the features needed in a next-generation library system. The authors also examine some of the next -generation library systems [Ex Libris Alma and Kuali OLE] currently in development that purport to fill the changing needs of libraries.”
The change, currently under-way with resource management library systems, encompasses some or all of the following characteristics:-
* 'Decoupled' discovery Search and discovery (discovery services) for end users is 'de-coupled' from 'back-end' resource management although some Library Service Platforms (LSP) may only work with a singe discovery service or may certainly have a 'preference' for one (typically the one from the vendor that provides the LSP)
The management of print and electronic (digital) resources is integrated (or 'unified')
Related to the above is more attention to improved workflows leading to saving in staff effort and consequently lower cost of ownership
The library system elements interoperate easily with other (external) systems. This is facilitated where overall architecture of the system is based around a (web based) Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model to allow easier lower cost integration with 'admin' systems such as student registry and finance. This can be viewed as a move from a library system to what has been called a 'library services platform' approach where various components and sub systems are 'loosely' coupled (SOA) to provide an overall solution
Systems are typically 'cloud' based. This is a move away from more conventional 'hosting' to a system that is, in effect, a single entity that is shared by many separate and distinct libraries. Such 'multi-tenant' systems offer economies of scale and the opportunity to better share data (bibliographic, data on suppliers, licences etc) across the organisations that share the system
Related to the above is a move from 'management information' to 'analytics' or 'business intelligence'. This is characterised by not simply providing statistics on transactions recorded by a single library system (number of loans, items catalogued, orders placed etc), to an approach where all activity (including clickstreams) is potentially recorded and might be analysed to deliver new business insights. A cloud environment offer opportunities to collect and analyse data and detect trends across, what is in effect, a global network of systems
The following have been characterised as 'next generation' LSP
Alma (ExLibris) NOTE: Ex Libris is (January 2016) 'a ProQuest Company'
Intota (ProQuest) NOTE: Ex libris is now (January 2016) 'a ProQuest Company' so Intota is essentially defunct in terms of new business
Sierra** (Innovative Interfaces) Innovative Interfaces was acquired by Ex Libris in 2020
WorldShare Management Systems-WMS (OCLC)