Future of the integrated library system #IL2011

Walter Nelson, RAND

Predicts that if we continue as we are now, it has no future.

If we free it from its constraints, it maybe has a future.

OPAC: a destination, customers must go there. It’s like the card catalog room, library as a place. Good at books. Not so good at journals, since people want articles, not journals. Not so good with other digital content.

ILS integrates with itself. Real integration is integrating with other stuff: hr, accounting.

A system that tries to do everything well will do nothing well. Example: Sharepoint.

Do your customers prefer your OPAC or Google? Is it the first place your customers you look? Is it the first place you look?

Does your OPAC look like your web site? Does content in your ILS display on your web site or do you have to enter data multiple times?

Is the ILS increasing or decreasing in relevance? Is it the best use of the money?

What catalogs are good at: clean data, consistent standards.

RAND needed data about its own publications. Publications Dept. data was messy and inconsistent. The library had been cleaning up their data for many years. Consistent data about authors, taxonomy, standards. Extracted it from the OPAC with great difficulty.

Your OPAC is a database-driven web site, like all major web sites these days. Data is separated from display.

List of demands:

Set my data free. Exquisitely crafted data trapped in this obscure corner of the web. Present data in multiple places in multiple formats.

Set my interface free. Have to wait for vendors to upgrade. Open up the interface to let people tinker with it.

Set my search free. Allow search in various ways. Real time and dynamic, not done with periodic data dumps.

Discovery, content management systems, mashups will replace ILS systems.

Drupal can handle MARC records, XML, full text searching; not circulation, journal management, though.

ILS becomes a CMS. It could run the whole library web site. If not, hitch our cart to a better mule.

Why is the ILS the way it is? The vendors give us what we ask for.

Vendors need to provide flexible, easy-to-use CMS systems out of the box, so even non-programmers can hack into it.

Librarians need to get more techie.

Andrew Pace, OCLC

[Bear in mind that OCLC is selling a “web-scale” system — i.e., “in the cloud.” I don’t doubt that Pace honestly believes that’s the way of the future. However, it’s sometimes the case that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.]

– power: trying to power multiple functions at multiple libraries with one “generator.”
– metadata: stuff is out on the cloud; why do we have our metadata on the home generator?
– “hosted” and”cloud”: separate systems not talking to each other
– unintended consequences: vendors gave us what we asked for

Irrelevance: indexing journal articles done on free services like Google Scholar and Pubmed. Need to aggregate and syndicate library data so it gets in search engines. Core business of libraries is delivery.

Innovation: Black box. We’re reduced to hacking into OPACs. On a good day, we look like masters. On a bad day, we blame the environment, beg for standards, etc. The big guys (Google, amazon, facebook, ebay) put together data, infrastructure, and community. Data is valuable, but the price people pay for it is declining. Applications are disposable.

Identity: The big guys know who their customers are. We know who are customers are, but we pretend that we don’t. Libraries value privacy. We need to think about managing our customers like a CRM. Privacy, cloud, and sevices that patrons expect are not mutually exclusive.

  • Data will live in the cloud.
  • Re-integration will occur
  • The future requires new technology
  • The traditional ILS will last as long as the traditional library
  • the cult of marc must be subverted
  • collection development will be at collection level, not record by record
  • Metadata might be saved by linked data
  • Big switches will drive traffic to libraries
  • Scaled innovation will occur only though open development platforms
  • Done well, it will scale library business intelligence
  • Re-assess the role of libraries in assisting customers
  • Guard privacy and anonymity while providing services customers expect
  • Shake off ethic of not caring how info is used
  • Think about patrons’ entire timeline of interaction with the library

Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt

Library catalog in 2015

telnet, graphic, web, next-gen, discovery systems. 2015: The Library. We want the whole thing; we don’t want it chopped up, same as when you go to Amazon.

Undergraduates are satisfied. Librarians want the “right” results. Know the collection and the catalog inside and out. Serious researchers (medical, ph.d.) missing something could have serious results.

Optimistic that we’ll get there.

“Web-scale” search: all potential objects that the library cares about. Discovery systems are large, but incomplete, and their relevancy is not so good. Key articles and books don’t necessarily rise to the top.

2015: Indexes will be comprehensive; publishers will provide data. Less comprehensive sources get marginalized.

Transparency: Librarians will be able to understand what’s included, the depth of indexing

Relevancy: Good, but not great. In big indexes, you can’t just match keywords.

Re-integration between Discovery and back end.

Today: discovery interface is a separate silo from the rest of the library web site. There are some new systems that are integrating the whole library web site.

2015: Discovery will not be a separate activity. All customer activity as part of an organic and comprehensive web presence. Presentation layer connects to ILS, library web site, subject guide, article databases and e-books.


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