New Gang member Frances Haugen from Google, joined Marshall Breeding and myself for a discussion about one of the recent trends in computing and the Internet, Cloud Computing, and how it will influence libraries, especially in the light of recent announcements by OCLC.
To give us an introduction in to the topic, our guest this month has a background in libraries having been a colleague of mine at Talis for several years. Dr Paul Miller can now be found at Cloudofdata.com, working at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.
Paul provided us with an overview of what is meant by Cloud Computing, before the conversation moved on to the OCLC strategy to move library management services to Web scale. Interpreting the OCLC announcement, it is clear that it is a approach to deliver hosted library management services from the cloud in direct competition to the traditional ILS vendors such as SirsiDynix, Ex Libris, Innovative, Talis, and even those that OCLC have consumed over recent years.
Marshall shared with us the insight that in specifying the architecture for this initiative they had been working on a transaction rate sufficient to cope with the transactions of all libraries on the planet – an average of 5,000 per second.
This move from OCLC raises many questions and issues, not least of which is the potential impact on those traditional vendors. How comfortable libraries will be adding back-office and patron’s personal data to the bibliographic data many already share with OCLC, being another one.
I’m certain that this will not be the only time that OCLC’s announcement in particular and Cloud Computing in general will feature on the Gang. This month’s conversation is a great introduction to these topics and issues around them.