November 24, 2017

Exhibitor News Roundup | ALA Annual 2016

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As always, the American Library Association’s 2016 annual convention included many announcements and product launches from library vendors. Here’s a roundup of some of the news from this year’s show floor.

The community-based FOLIO (the Future Of Libraries Is Open) library services platform (LSP) was formally launched. The initial, open-source code base is planned for release on GitHub in August, offering a technical preview of the platform, enabling developers to familiarize themselves with the APIs and provide feedback on the project. Index Data will be developing the initial platform, and EBSCO is providing significant primary funding to get the project off the ground. Company officials in April told LJ that they expect the investment to amount to “tens of millions of dollars.” The Open Library Environment (OLE) Partnership will be key collaborators on the project, although the code base for FOLIO is being written from the ground up, and will not be based on Kuali OLE. Instead, founding participants envision a platform more analogous to Google’s Android operating system—a lean open source platform designed primarily to facilitate the development of library applications and software by third parties. The code will be made available under an Apache v2 license, which will allow any individual, institution, vendor, or collaboration to use the code for its purposes, commercial or otherwise. “The more permissible the software license, the more libraries and vendors will engage,” Sebastian Hammer, Index Data cofounder and team lead for the FOLIO core developers, said in an announcement. “The more vendors who wish to create apps (open source or for-fee) and work to ensure that their existing applications work well with FOLIO, the greater the options are for libraries, and the more opportunity for those vendors.”

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OverDrive announced that it is pilot testing a new demand driven acquisition (DDA) model with Sno-Isle Libraries, WA. Under this model, a library can enable the discovery of ebook titles from OverDrive’s full catalog—including content from all Big Five publishers. Patrons can immediately borrow titles that the library does not yet own. The library is then billed for the purchase, and the content is added to the library’s collection under the publisher’s standard licensing terms. Libraries can also limit DDA to specific portions of the OverDrive catalog, place caps on total price per ebook, and set budgets for total DDA purchases. In addition, the company announced that BISAC subject headings have been added to the details pages of many titles in the OverDrive Marketplace.

TLC debuted a new cataloging module that will become a standard feature of its Library.Solution ILS following updates later this year. Key features include a proprietary authority service that enables users to do a keyword search within the interface and retrieve vetted drop-down menus of names, subjects, and genres, ensuring consistency, and a proprietary, cloud-based MARC record source to facilitate complex searching without using Z39.50. A “purify” feature can be used to find and eliminate inconsistencies in existing catalog records. Catalogers with appropriate permissions can switch seamlessly between the interface and the editable record. Imported records can be reviewed for accuracy before they are stored. And staff-created records can be held in a draft state, allowing catalogers to correct, update, or transfer records to other catalogers for review prior to saving a record in the system.

Global library solutions provider bibliotheca and its recently acquired subsidiary 3M Library Systems announced the expansion of the proprietary quickConnect software to the company’s full line of self-service products, enabling libraries to link to the cloudLibrary ebook platform, showcase physical titles, and promote events using interactive screens. Several new features were announced for the cloudLibrary, including online patron registration capability (enabling patrons to start reading ebooks prior to receiving a physical library card), pre-publication holds capability to help with collection development planning, and more granular categories for teen and kids’ titles. And the company introduced libraryConnect, a new portal where libraries can manage all of their bibliotheca solutions from a single, dedicated access point.

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ProQuest announced the acquisition of Alexander Street Press the week of the conference. “We need more video content to complement the full text content that we have, [and] Alexander Street needs a lot more distribution capabilities, they need bigger systems…. It’s very challenging to scale globally,” ProQuest CEO Kurt Sanford told LJ at the time. Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, also announced the early access launch of Alma Mobile, a new app enabling users of the Alma library management system (LMS) to access tasks lists and perform fulfillment activities using tablets and smartphones. According to an announcement, additional features including work order processing, item returns, inventory management, and more are in the works. A general release for all Alma libraries is planned for the third quarter of 2016.

P.V. Supa launched Smartblock, an 86-5/8″ by 63″ meeting space equipped with two customizable upholstered benches, power and USB outlets, HDMI, VGA, and 3.5 mm audio inputs, two loudspeakers embedded in the ceiling, and a 32″ LED display. Four nonvisible, lockable wheels enable staff to move these spaces, designed to comfortably seat four adults.

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The American Psychological Association (APA) is nearing the release of APA Style CENTRAL, a new online writing platform for students, faculty, researchers, and librarians that features a full integration of the APA Style manual and a growing repository of more than 3.4 million citations from the APA PsychINFO database. Available as an annual license for institutions, the online platform includes a suite of four integrated online modules to assist users during the learning, writing, research, and publishing processes. The learning center is primarily targeted at undergraduates, and features tutorials and guides regarding proper research methods. The writing center features a range of features for faculty, researchers, undergrads, and graduate students, including tools that simplify citations; keep track of figures, charts, and footnotes; and simplify APA-style formatting while working. The research center offers a collaborative online environment that makes it easy for academics and/or students to collaborate as contributors on projects. And the publishing module helps researchers search through statistics and contact information for 1,800 current journals to identify the best place to submit their finished work.

Library wayfinding provider StackMap, which provides an indoor mapping web application that helps patrons locate books and other physical content within a library, has developed a computer availability feature. Originally created for Florida State University, the feature enables patrons to view a map of computer labs and other public computers within a library, with real-time usage information. Computer descriptions can also be set up to include information about the computer’s operating system—for Macs and PCs—and information about specialized software or peripherals, such as 3-D scanners.

All photos ©2016 Johnny Cooker

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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