Libraries in the Cloud #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Marshall Breeding

Book: “Cloud Computing in the Libraries”

Libraries need to have technology that aligns with what their current mission is.

Academic libraries:
Shift from print to electronic journals.
Still working it out for monographs.

All libraries:
Need to handle multiple formats.
Emphasis on digitizing local collections

Client-server to web-based computing
Cloud computing is a major trend in IT
Offers libraries opportunities to break out of individual silos of automation and engage in widely shared cooperative systems.

“Cloudwashing”: lots of claims to be “in the cloud” when products may not be any different from what they were.

Vendor-hosted library systems go back to at least 1994.

Characteristics:
– web-based interfaces (as opposed to software on the desktop)
– externally hosted
– pricing: subscription or utility
– Highly abstracted computing model
– Provisioned on demand
– Scaled according to variable needs
– Elastic: consumption of resources can contract and expand according to demand

Local computing:
– Buy and maintain a server
– Buy and maintain software
– Electricity and data center

Cloud computing:
– Annual subscription with measured service or fixed fees

Can be cost-saving for both library and vendor.

“Multi-tenant software-as-a-service”: one copy of code base serves multiple sites; software functionality delivered entirely through web interfaces; upgrades and fixes deployed universally.

People can use Gmail and companies can use Salesforce.com with no loss of functionality or privacy. No upgrade interruptions.

Data as a service: Bibliographic knowledgebases or discovery indexes that serve many libraries.

Possible new ways of conceptualizing library automation:
– Fulfillment: circulation + ILL + DCB + e-commerce
– Resource management: cataloging + acquisitions + serials + ERM
– Customer relationship management: reference + circulation + ILL
– Enterprise resource planning: acquisitions + collection development

Open systems:
Libraries need to do more with their data.
More interoperability
Open source
Open APIs

Challenge: more integrated approach to information and service delivery:
– Books
– search the web site
– articles
– openURL
– e-journal finding aids
– subject guides
– local digital collection
– Metasearch engines
– Discovery services (yet one more box on the web page)

Discovery from local to web-scale

Populating web-scale index with full text: a good front door to everything in your collection.

Ebsco, Summon, Ex Libris Prino, Worldcat

Libraries can move into a shared infrastructure model (multiple libraries, that is).

Consortia merging (Illinois Heartland), statewide (South Australia, much of Georgia) and national (New Zealand, Iceland, Chile, Denmark) systems, Cornell-Columbia system (2CUL).

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