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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 2011

As a new year begins, I’m thinking about the technology trends and events that might be in store for libraries. While libraries shouldn’t base their strategies on anyone’s predictions, it’s sometimes helpful to look forward a bit to anticipate anything that might impinge on technology planning. I see the next year as one that will continue to build on trends already in play, though there may be...

January 2011

Libraries have gone through incredible changes over the past few years, and it seems like the cycles of change will turn even faster in the future. Of course, the kinds of change depend on the type of library. The transformation of collections from print to electronic media, increasing involvement with digitization of local library materials and the development of new services to accommodate new...

December 2010

When it comes to creating a library automation infrastructure in 2010, there are many models in play. Should libraries continue to rely on integrated library systems installed locally in libraries or consortia? Will some shift to relying on a globally distributed infrastructure through OCLC’s Web-scale Management Services? Might some libraries rely on vendor-hosted arrangements through software-...

November 2010

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based technologies have grown into a major portion of the library automation landscape. While this topic has not been covered extensively in Smart Libraries Newsletter, RFID increasingly warrants attention. Not only are larger numbers of libraries investigating and adopting RFID products, but there are important conversations taking place regarding new...

September 2010

This month’s lead story illustrates real-world examples of some broader industry trends and how they manifest themselves in areas like business and technology. The research for this article was a fascinating exercise in tracing the roots of products familiar today back to the earlier era of library automation history that spanned multiple continents. Through this story, we can also see the...

August 2010

It’s Time to Focus on User-Facing Technologies It’s clear that in today’s library technology scene, the products and services that impact library users directly attract strategic interest more than those directed toward behind-the-scenes functions. The realities of the current economic situation dictate that librarians have far fewer resources than we need to invest in all of the technologies...

July 2010

Qualifying Qualities for Tech Partners This newsletter often spotlights the companies that provide technology-related products and services to libraries. It’s a diverse group of organizations, including large international companies, large non-profit membership organizations as well as medium-sized and small firms. The ownership and business models also vary. Some base their offerings on...

June 2010

Common Problems / Diverse Solutions I find that one of the most exciting aspects of the current library technology scene is the expanding diversity of available alternatives to libraries. Today we see vigorous competition among different models of software licensing and development, differing conceptual models of how best to frame library automation functionality, and a variety of technical...

May 2010

Maintaining a Balance I find that one of the key challenges in covering the field of library technology is finding the right balance and perspective in both the selection and the development of the stories that you write. It’s important to highlight emerging trends, especially when they have some potential to make a broad impact, but it’s just as important to place any new developments in the...

April 2010

The Business Side of Library Automation I think that a library’s approach to technology should be more about partnerships than procurements. Acquiring a new technology product isn’t necessarily just about the current snapshot of its features and functionality, but also about the alignment between the library’s strategic directions and that of its technology partners. It’s important to know as...