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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...

February 2013

  Advancing from Marketing Hype to Substantive Developments In the last year or so I have observed an ever growing interest by libraries in cloud computing. More of the conferences where I speak are focused on exploring the topic. Cloud computing is mentioned frequently in technical articles in the field, in blog postings, on twitter, and in product marketing. Libraries are keen to sort out...

January 2013

  The Role of Private Equity in the Library Automation Industry As libraries make investments in technology, it’s important to be aware of the nature of the businesses that provide these products and services. We naturally evaluate software products on the merits of their functionality, alignment with current and anticipated library requirements, the soundness of architecture, and other...

December 2012

  Providing Support for Reference Services The current information and technology landscape has had a profound impact on the nature of reference services in libraries. In times when almost any factual question can be handled by a quick search on Google or by “asking Siri,” these types of questions, once a signification portion of questions directed reference librarians, have largely...

November 2012

  Progressive Trends in New Zealand I continue to see in almost all of my encounters with technology use in libraries an ever-increasing reliance on cooperative efforts to find ways to gain more efficiencies, lower costs, and make a greater impact on patron services than possible alone. This spirit of cooperation seems well rooted in most library organizations. --Marshall Breeding   Also...

October 2012

  Balancing Continuity and Change through Business Transitions Libraries expect continuity from the organizations that they rely on for strategic technology products. Libraries tend to make use of their automation products for incredibly long periods and expect them to be supported and enhanced throughout a prolonged life cycle. I observe that a typical lifespan of an integrated library...

September 2012

  Growing Cooperation and Consolidation We can see a definite trend of consolidation among the organizations that create technology products for libraries. Through a long series of mergers and acquisitions, the industry has gradually transformed from being fractured in a way that pits relatively small companies against each other with overlapping products and limited revenue opportunities to...

August 2012

  Forming Constructive Partnerships I have long held that libraries should not be passive consumers of technology products, but rather, active partners in shaping them. Libraries have a great deal at stake in how well these products work. They benefit from individual or collective efforts to influence product development in order to address ever evolving requirements. Not all libraries have...

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...