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Smart Libraries Newsletter

March 2012

  The Library Automation News Cycle Typically, news in the library automation industry tends to be clustered around major conferences, and larger conferences tend to attract bigger news. The American Library Association Annual Conference (held each summer) and the Midwinter Meeting (held early...

July 2012

  The OCLC Non-Event The topic sparking the most buzz in library tech circles at ALA’s Annual Conference was the unfortunate turn of events surrounding OCLC leadership. OCLC had named Jack Blount as its new President and Chief Executive Officer on June 8, 2012 and then rescinded the appointment with a subsequent and surprising announcement. A letter from Larry Alford, chair of the OCLC Board...

June 2012

  Open and Linked Data Despite a proclivity toward openness, libraries have historically been involved with data and content under various levels of restrictions imposed by copyright and proprietary business arrangements. Libraries have also dealt with data primarily through self-contained applications, mostly managed within relational databases. While these modes of operation persist today...

May 2012

  Unified Discovery and Management of E-book Content and Lending The lending of e-books continues to be an activity of critical interest in public libraries. As e-books gain ever wider popularity by the general public, libraries have been steadily working out the many problems related to offering e-book services similar to those offered for print materials. As e-book content increases...

April 2012

  Investing in the Industry The big news this month concerns Innovative Interfaces, Inc. receiving a major investment from a pair of private equity firms. Until now, this company had often touted its independence from the influence of outside investors as one of its positive qualities. Innovative will need to demonstrate that its new ownership arrangement actually does mean “business as...

February 2012

  While the largest companies tend to garner the most headlines, it’s important to remember that the library automation industry consists of a very diverse group of organizations. Players in this industry range from tiny firms of with a handful of employees to the larger international companies with hundreds of personnel that do business around the world. I’m glad to see this kind of diversity...

January 2012

As we enter a new year, I’d like to pause and consider some of the trends and events that I anticipate playing out in 2012. The predictions I made for 2011 largely held (see Smart Libraries Newsletter, February 2011). Given the momentum of developments and the issues currently in play, 2012 may turn out to be a very interesting year in the realm of library technologies. --Marshall Breeding Also...

December 2011

Library automation is far from a one-sizefits- all proposition. The different types of libraries—public, academic, school, and special—each make use of technology in distinct ways. Each sector brings its own technology requirements and automation needs. Several different groups of companies are engaged in creating specialized products and services for their respective niches. Companies like...

November 2011

In the current phase of library technology, it is common for discovery systems to be implemented in a manner loosely coupled with core automation systems.  We’ve evolved away from a time where the online catalog module of the integrated library system could stand as the primary search tool, at least for those with large and varied collections.  An increasing number of libraries have...

October 2011

As mobile access continues to rise, library software developers see a potential new market emerging. Libraries increasingly show interest in exploring these new products.  At this time, almost any vendor involved in producing library automation products has announced or delivered at least an initial offering that supports mobile users.  Most are taking tentative steps, testing the waters...

September 2011

  Today’s libraries face an incredible challenge: to deliver powerful Web sites that engage users with their collections and services. Because of their experience with modern websites, library users expect sophisticated functionality offered through an easy to use interface. As the web grows ever more social, networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have not only become increasingly popular, but...