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Posts by Richard Wallis

Library 2.0 Gang 05/10: RFID - Connecting with the physical world

Submitted by Richard Wallis on May 12, 2010 - 5:17am


RFID on the surface didn’t seem the sexiest of topics for my last show chairing the Library 2.0 Gang, but it turned out to be one of the interesting ones.

It was clear from the discussion, that evolved with Gang regulars John Blyberg and Marshall Breeding, that RFID needs to be adopted as part of the core processes of a library. Treating it as just an add-on for a single process, such as self-service, will not provide a ROI. Self-service and RFID are often conflated as issues, they are often closely connected but it was agreed that they are separate issues.

It is also very clear from the conversation that RFID does pose some challenges for the library systems suppliers. We heard of smart-shelving systems establishing a parallel catalogue/databases because the ILS/LMS “didn’t have the horse-power to support the request traffic”; such systems pulling in enrichments such as book-jackets to provide an user enriched experience; and inconsistent implementations of the SIP2 protocol used to connect RFID systems to library systems. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 04/10: New Models for Bibliographic Record Supply

Submitted by Richard Wallis on April 9, 2010 - 8:20am


Up until recently the world of bibliographic record supply has been fairly stable. The suppliers, practices and workflows currently used by libraries in their cataloguing and acquisition processes evolved twenty or so years ago and have changed very little since.

Over the last couple of years we have seen the beginnings of possible change in this area. Open Library launched with the mission to provide an openly available page for every book. (Taking a preview look at their new interface at, it is clear that they are expanding that to include a page for every author and subject.) Then, the recently acquired by PTFS, LibLime entered the field with their ‡ service offering low-cost cataloguing and record sharing service. More recently still Sky River launched its service offering a alternative services to incumbents such as OCLC, claimed to be of lower cost and higher quality, with no restrictions on record reuse.

All this has been happening against the background of OCLC going through very public issues around its record reuse policy. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 03/10: The Semantic Web and Linked Data

Submitted by Richard Wallis on March 18, 2010 - 8:41am

Our guest on the Gang this month, Karen Coyle, has recently published a Library Technology Report - Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata. She was therefore in an great position to provide an introductory overview of the Semantic Web and how it could apply to the data rich world of libraries. Describing herself as a semantic web opportunists, not a semantic web purist, she was ideally placed to get this month’s conversation going. Gang members Carl Grant and Marshall Breeding soon joined in the conversation, making it clear we were talking about the practical implementation of semantic web technologies, not the big ‘vision’. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 02/10: The Open Source Library System Market

Submitted by Richard Wallis on February 18, 2010 - 8:11am

At ALA Midwinter PTFS announced their intention to purchase the leading open source system support company LibLime. Just before the recording of this month’s show, they announced that PTFS and LibLime could not agree upon financial terms and have agreed not to proceed with the acquisition. So who better to join us as a guest on the show, than PTFS CEO, John Yokley. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 01/10: Towards A New Decade

Submitted by Richard Wallis on January 10, 2010 - 5:06pm

The Gang for this month, Carl Grant, Marshall Breeding and Frances Haugen, convened as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, to review the game changing influences on our world over the last ten years and then attempt to predict what we will see in the next ten. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 12/09: Social Software in Libraries

Submitted by Richard Wallis on December 15, 2009 - 5:15am

Our guest for this show is Meredith Farkas, Author of the book “Social Software in Libraries”.  A couple of years after publishing her book, Meredith has become a little jaded about the way libraries are using social software, with some libraries seeing it as a magic wand for community building and engaging with their users.  This chimed well with the thoughts of the Gang, who were drawn to the conclusion that like most software, it is just a tool.  How you use a tool to communicate with your users, is far more important than the tool itself.  Librarians wondering why their blog posts are not receiving comments, should be checking their content for comment-ability. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 11/09: The Cataloguing Services Landscape

Submitted by Richard Wallis on November 8, 2009 - 4:47pm

Until fairly recently it has been all quiet on the shared cataloguing front. Cataloguing departments taking records from the Library of Congress, other National libraries, or one of many other libraries that share their Z39.50 connections. Many libraries also being members of an organisation to share the cataloguing load, such as OCLC, or Talis Base in the UK.

About a year ago dust started to stir on the surface of this stable landscape, when OCLC caused a curfuffle with their move to redefine their record reuse policy. Then in January, open source library system vendor announced ‡, a free cataloguing service in which you can share with other libraries. In the last few weeks we have had SkyRiver arrive on the scene. Not much visible on their site yet, but according to press releases they hope to deliver quality at a lower costs - so things are a changing. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 10/09: Can the Open Source ILS Business Scale?

Submitted by Richard Wallis on October 8, 2009 - 4:05pm

In comparison with the rest of the library world, supported by the traditional, closed source, vendors, the open source sector is still fairly small. The question I put to the Gang this month was “Can the open source sector scale?”. Will it be able to grow in it’s current form to become a significant alternative to the commercial vendors? Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 09/09: eBooks & eReaders

Submitted by Richard Wallis on September 11, 2009 - 1:40am

The Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader are spreading their influence across libraries, especially in North America. Our guest this month is Orion Pozo from North Carolina State University where he has helped rollout a couple of Sony Readers and a few dozen Kindles of various versions, for students to loan.

The interest of the Gang this month (Marshall Breeding, Carl Grant, Frances Haugen) soon moved on from the student experience and current practicalities at NCSU, to the wider potential and impact of eBooks on the world of libraries. Read More »

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Library 2.0 Gang 08/09: Social OPACs

Submitted by Richard Wallis on August 7, 2009 - 10:23am

There is more to the term Social OPAC than meets the eye, as we found out when we brought together this month’s guest Beth Jefferson from Bibliocommons with Gang regular John Blyberg.

Bibliocommons has spent the last couple of years realising their ambition of delivering a social OPAC service for Canadian libraries. This centrally hosted service, although architected differently, shares the same motivations as John’s SOPAC project to add value to the OPAC user’s experience with social features. Read More »

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