Selecting a library management system is never an easy decision. Vendors of integrated library systems (ILS) offer solutions tailored to public, academic, school, and special libraries, but even when organized by type, libraries are hardly one-size-fits-all organizations. Choosing a new vendor tends to mean a major investment, with a multiyear commitment to a solution that often will require new training, adaptation, and trade-offs among cost, features, and functionality. Still, it’s a tough choice that many libraries are facing once again. This second edition of Library Systems Landscape, the successor to LJ’s annual Automation Marketplace feature, will examine the impact of recent mergers, the continued adoption of next-generation library services platforms, the emergence of mobile-optimized staff clients, and new partnerships and feature development in the open source arena.
April 2014 marked the launch of the Ex Libris Developer Network, a new, open environment designed to enable IT professionals, developers, third-party vendors, and others to collaborate and experiment with applications and extensions for Ex Libris Group products, including the next-generation Alma library services platform (LSP), the Primo discovery solution, and the traditional integrated library systems (ILS) Aleph and Voyager.
Koha and Evergreen aim high with development targets. This February, EBSCO Information Services announced plans to provide funding and technical assistance for contributors to the Koha open source ILS platform. The partnership will enable an upgrade of Koha’s core search engine to Elasticsearch, the popular open source, multitenant-capable full-text search engine.
Last August, the libraries of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, and the University of Chicago Library became the first to launch the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE), a community-sourced library management system developed by a partnership of research libraries. Within days of Lehigh and Chicago officially announcing their implementations, Brad Wheeler, chair of the Kuali Foundation Board of Directors, announced in a conference call that the foundation would be creating a for-profit commercial entity (later named KualiCo) to support future development of the Kuali project.
Company profiles of Auto-Graphics, Inc., Axiell Group, BiblioCommons, Biblionix, ByWater Solutions, EBSCO Information Services, Equinox Software, Ex Libris Group, Follett Software Company, Infor Library & Information Solutions, Innovative Interfaces, Inc., LibLime, a division of PTFS, The Library Corporation (TLC), Mandarin Library Automation, Inc., OCLC, ProQuest, and SirsiDynix.
Following four months of discussions with SirsiDynix and a brief pilot test this summer, Maryland’s Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) on September 5 officially launched the “I Love My Library” prepaid Visa debit card. Developed by SirsiDynix in partnership with Visa and Card Limited, the new affinity cards double as a patron’s library card and aim to help libraries achieve three goals.
In an effort to cater to the growth of interdisciplinary research while also simplifying the search experience for undergraduates, the Michigan State University Libraries (MSU) this month debuted Summon from ProQuest as its first web scale discovery service. Branded as SearchPlus by MSU, the discovery layer will offer students and researchers a single entry point for searching the majority of the library’s resources.
Innovative Interfaces Inc. on May 30 acquired VTLS, developer of the Virtua integrated library system (ILS), VITAL digital asset management system, Chamo Discovery layer, MozGo mobile application, and other library technology solutions. Following Innovative’s acquisition of Polaris on April 1, the move further consolidates the library automation marketplace while expanding Innovative’s global presence and solidifying the company’s position as one of the largest library technology providers in the world.
Innovative Interfaces Inc. will continue selling the Polaris integrated library system (ILS) to new customers and supporting Polaris as a product separate from the company’s Sierra Library Services Platform and Millennium ILS, Innovative CEO Kim Massana told LJ during an interview at the 22nd annual Innovative Users Group (IUG) meeting in Detroit last week. IUG’s more than 1,000 attendees this year included a contingent of dozens of Polaris users, who were greeted with a track of sessions and panels that addressed lingering questions regarding Innovative’s integration plans, updates on the Polaris ILS and the company’s LEAP staff client, and more.