2020 Library Systems Report Fresh opportunities amid consolidation
By Marshall Breeding American Libraries 1st May 2020
“The library technology industry took some significant turns in 2019. Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, acquired Innovative Interfaces and shifted the balance of power, strengthening Ex Libris’s position in technology for academic libraries and propelling it as a major player in public libraries. This move narrows the slate of competitors in an industry already offering few viable options for many libraries”.
See also Marshall Breeding's Library Technology Guides dashboard which brings together data, trends, news, and other resources
ProQuest/Innovative Interfaces makes the Polaris library system available for UK public libraries See Marshall Breeding's Library Technology Guide for more on Polaris
Library Systems Report 2019Cycles of innovation By Marshall Breeding American Libraries 1 May 2019
From the report:
“The library technology industry, broadly speaking, shows more affinity toward utility than innovation. Library automation systems are not necessarily exciting technologies, but they are workhorse applications that must support the complex tasks of acquiring, describing, and providing access to materials and services. They represent substantial investments, and their effectiveness is tested daily in the library. But more than efficiency is at stake: These products must be aligned with the priorities of the library relative to collection management, service provision, and other functions.
Outdated automation systems can reinforce work patterns that no longer reflect priorities as core library activities change
One key focus of development for ILS products for the last few years has been upgrading web-based interfaces on software applications installed on library personnel computers. The maintenance of staff-facing clients has been a longstanding pain for libraries using ILS products. The transition to web interfaces is long overdue and unfortunately consumes much of the development capacity of the vendors at the expense of creating new functionality or services.
One of the key concerns for public libraries is whether they are poised to enter a disruptive cycle of innovation or if the current pattern of incremental advancement will continue.
All of the ILS products in the established public library market are based on aging internal architectures.
Library Systems Report 2018**
New technologies enable an expanded vision of library services. By Marshall Breeding American Libraries. May 1, 2018.
“Technologies that focus on supporting traditional library services no longer meet the needs of libraries that wish to strengthen their involvement in new service areas.
Public libraries seek technologies that improve engagement with their communities. These libraries value reliable and feature-rich automation systems, and they are especially drawn to those that help them deliver compelling digital services. Basic library resource management and discovery capabilities no longer differentiate competitors in this market of mature products.
Change will be relentless. By Ken Chad. CILIP Update September 2012
“If you are in the market for library systems, what should you be looking for? Needs vary across sectors: corporate, legal, public, school, college, and university – and circumstances differ between individual organisations. Nevertheless, there are enduring similarities between libraries and these are reflected in the market for library systems. The library management system – LMS (or, in US parlance, the integrated library system – ILS) remains the core system for many libraries. However, the weakness of the conventional LMS in terms of managing electronic resources means it is diminishing in importance.The article looks at the key technology themes influencing library system development.
Perceptions 2017: An International Survey of Library Automation.by Marshall Breeding Library Technology Guides. March 17, 2018.
“Some interesting themes can be seen in the analysis of this year's survey results. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Conventional integrated library systems dominate public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also favored proprietary ILS products. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal interesting patterns regarding the newer generation of library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are perceived as less capable for managing print resources than legacy ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need”
Library Systems Report 2014: Competition and strategic cooperation**. By Marshall Breeding. 15 April 2014
From the article:
“The library technology industry saw sharp competition in 2013, with a wide range of products vying to fulfill ever-rising expectations. To better position themselves for this critical period during which many libraries are considering options for their next phase of technology, a significant number of major vendors worked to extend their global reach, streamline internal organizations, and complete ambitious product developments. Competition has intensified for the applications used by library personnel to manage the collections and automate their operations, including the new generation of library services platforms as well as enhanced integrated library systems. Discovery services continue as a major area of activity, seen by libraries as especially critical given their intimate connections with customers, serving as one of the main delivery vehicles for access to collections and services”
From the article: “We estimate the 2013 library technology economy, including the total domestic and international revenues of all the companies with a significant presence in the US and Canada, at around $790 million, an increase of just more than 2% relative to last year’s estimate of $770 million. US revenues of these companies total around $485 million. We continue to estimate the global library technology industry aggregate revenues at around $1.8 billion, which would also include RFID and other self-service products in addition to the technologies related to library management and resource discovery. Within these broad industry figures, each experienced a varying range of increases or losses in revenue”.