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The Future of Integrated Library Systems: . Moving toward new models and open systems. Marshall Breeding Director for Innovative Technologies and Research Vanderbilt University

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The future of integrated library systems

The Future of Integrated Library Systems:

Moving toward new models and open systems

Marshall BreedingDirector for Innovative Technologies and Research

Vanderbilt University

Massachusetts Library Association


The Future of the ILS

Tuesday, May 6 9:30 – 10:30am


  • Libraries demand choice. No matter which ILS (Integrated Library System) a library uses, the future is changing rapidly and libraries are facing difficult choices. This presentation will provide a review of the business and industry trends affecting ILSs as well as forecast what emerging technologies in the next generation ILS will bring to libraries.

Technology landscape
Technology Landscape

  • Most ILS products from commercial vendors mature

    • None less than a decade old

    • Approaching end of life cycle?

  • Evolved systems

  • No success in launching new systems in the commercial sphere

    • Horizon 8.0

    • Taos

Current vintage
Current Vintage

  • ALEPH 500 1996

  • Voyager 1995

  • Unicorn 1982

  • Polaris 1997

  • Virtua 1995

  • Koha 1999

  • Library.Solution 1997

  • Evergreen 2004

  • Talis 1992

Business landscape
Business Landscape

  • Library Journal Automated System Marketplace:

    • Opportunities Emerge in the midst of Turmoil (2008)

    • An Industry redefined (2007)

    • Reshuffling the Deck (2006)

  • An increasingly consolidated industry

  • Moving out of a previous phase of fragmentation where many companies expend energies producing decreasingly differentiated systems in a limited marketplace

  • Private Equity playing a stronger role then ever before; VCs exit

  • Narrowing of product options

  • Increasing dissatisfaction with purely commercial, closed source options

  • Open Source opportunities rise to challenge the grip of traditional commercial model

Industry health 2008
Industry Health 2008

  • Overall industry showing some growth; individual companies more profitable then ever.

  • Mixed company growth according to personnel counts:

    • Ex Libris +6%

    • Innovative + 5%

    • Library Corporation -10%

    • SirsiDynix -28%

  • ILS sales represent smaller portion of revenue

  • Many smaller libraries purchasing automation systems

  • Very few large library ILS procurements

Other business observations
Other Business Observations

  • Creative tension abounds

  • Level of innovation falls below expectations, despite deep resources and large development teams.

  • Companies struggle to keep up with ILS enhancements and R&D for new innovations.

  • Pressure from investors/owners to reduce costs, increase revenue

  • Pressure from library customers for more innovative products

  • Some companies investing in technology; expanding markets

Ils migration trends
ILS Migration Trends

  • Few voluntary lateral migrations

  • Forced Migrations

    • Vendor abandonment

    • Need to move from legacy systems

    • Exit from bad marriages with vendors

    • Exit from bad marriages with consortia

Role of the ils in library automation strategies
Role of the ILS in Library Automation Strategies

  • It’s never been harder for libraries to justify investments in ILS

  • Need for products focused on electronic content and user experience

    • Next-gen interfaces

    • Federated search

    • Linking

    • Electronic Resource Management

A new direction in library automation
A new direction in library automation

  • A successful pitch for new automation software is one that enables significant transformation toward a new vision of the library.

  • Can’t keep doing the same thing in the same way

  • Back-end systems make only a moderate impact on customer service delivery

An age of less integrated systems
An age of less integrated systems

  • Increasingly dis-integrated environment

  • Core ILS supplemented by:

    • OpenURL Link Resolvers

    • Metasearch / Federated Search

    • Electronic Resource Management

    • Next Generation Library Interfaces

    • RFID / AMH

No longer an ils centric industry
No longer an ILS-centric industry

  • Portion of revenues derived from core ILS products diminishing relative to other library tech products

  • Many companies and organizations that don’t offer an ILS are involved in library automation:

    • Cambridge Information Group

      • ProQuest

        • Serials Solutions

        • WebFeat

      • Bowker

        • Syndetic Solutions

        • AquaBrowser

  • MuseGlobal

Oclc in the automation industry
OCLC in the Automation Industry

  • Initial foray into next-gen interface arena: WorldCat Local

  • Technology acquisitions:

    • OCLC Pica purchased Sisis on July 1, 2005 for $4,504,700

    • OCLC Pica purchased FDI on Nov 2, 2005 for $8,913,100

    • OCLC purchased Openly Informatics for $1,950,000

    • OCLC purchased DiMeMa on Aug 14, 2006 for $3,916,200

    • EZproxy acquired in Jan 2008

  • Library automation services at the network level

    • Not an ILS?

    • An “ILS killer”?

Open source alternatives
Open Source Alternatives

  • Explosive interest in Open Source driven by disillusionment with current vendors

  • Beginning to emerge as a practical option

  • TOC (Total Cost of Ownership) still roughly equal to proprietary commercial model

  • Open Source still a risky Alternative

  • Commercial/Proprietary options also a risk

    • “The SirsiDynix announcement changed the landscape of the ILS marketplace; the traditional ILS market is no longer a haven for the risk adverse.” (

Open source initiatives
Open Source Initiatives

  • Multiple projects to develop Open Source ILS

    • Koha Zoom

    • Evergreen

    • OPALS-NA (K-12 Schools)

    • Delft Libraries

  • Multiple projects to develop Open Source Next-gen Catalogs

    • VU Find (Villanova University)

    • C4 prototype (University of Rochester River Campus Libraries)

Andrew w mellon foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

  • Soliciting a proposal for the design of an Open Source ILS for higher education

  • Led by Duke University

    • Early stages. Proposal in development

  • First and Second stage funding for eXtensible Catalog

Market share perspective
Market share / Perspective

  • Open Source ILS implementations still a very small percentage of the total picture

  • Initial set of successful implementations will likely serve as a catalyst to pave the way for others

  • Successful implementations in wider range of libraries:

    • State-wide consortium (Evergreen)

    • Multi-site public library systems (Koha)

    • School district consortia (OPALS-NA)

Open source companies
Open Source Companies

  • Index Data

    • Founded 1994; No ILS; A variety of other open source products to support libraries: search engines, federated search, Z39.50 toolkit, etc

  • LibLime

    • Founded 2005. Provides development and support services for Koha ILS. Acquired original developers of Koha in Feb 2007.

      • Marc Roberson – VP Library Partners

      • John Rose – VP Strategic markets

      • Debra Denault -- Operations Manager

  • Equinox.

    • Founded Feb 2007; staff formerly associated with GPLS Pines development team

  • Care Affiliates

    • Founded June 2007; headed by industry veteran Carl Grant.

Impact of open source
Impact of Open Source

  • Formidable competition to commercial closed-source products

    • Alternative to the traditional software licensing models

  • Pressure to increase innovation

  • Pressure to decrease costs

  • Pressure to make commercial systems more open

  • Disrupts the status quo

Open source ils benchmarks
Open source ILS Benchmarks

  • Most decisions to adopt Open Source ILS based on philosophical preferences

  • Open Source ILS will enter the main stream once its products begin to win through objective procurement processes

    • Hold open source ILS to the same standards as the commercial products

    • Hold the open source ILS companies to the same standards:

      • Adequate customer support ratios, financial stability, service level agreements, etc.

  • Well-documented total cost of ownership statements that can be compared to other vendor price quotes

  • Do the Open Source ILS products offer a new vision?

Working toward a new generation of library interfaces
Working toward a new generation of library interfaces

  • Redefinition of the “library catalog”

  • Traditional notions of the library catalog are being questioned

  • Better information delivery tools

  • More powerful search capabilities

  • More elegant presentation

Redefinition of library catalogs
Redefinition of library catalogs

  • More comprehensive information discovery environments

  • It’s no longer enough to provide a catalog limited to the traditional library inventory

  • Digital resources cannot be an afterthought

  • Forcing users to use different interfaces depending on type of content becoming less tenable

  • Libraries working toward consolidated search environments that give equal footing to digital and print resources

Comprehensive search service
Comprehensive Search Service

  • More like OAI

    • Open Archives Initiative

    • Consolidated search services based on metadata and data gathered in advance

  • Problems of scale diminished

  • Problems of cooperation persist

  • Eg: Royal Library of Denmark

Web 2 0 flavorings
Web 2.0 Flavorings

  • A more social and collaborative approach

  • Web Tools and technology that foster collaboration

  • Tagging, social bookmarking, user rating, user reviews, community interaction

The holy grail of new gen library interfaces
The holy grail of New Gen Library Interfaces

  • A single point of entry into all the content and services offered by the library

  • Print + Electronic

  • Local + Remote

  • Locally created Content

Interface expectations
Interface expectations

  • Millennial generation library users are well acclimated to the Web

  • Used to relevancy ranking

    • The “good stuff” should be listed first

    • Users tend not to delve deep into a result list

    • Good relevancy requires a sophisticated approach, including objective matching criteria supplemented by popularity and relatedness factors.

  • “Did you mean?” and other features to avoid “No results found”

  • More like this / related content

Interface expectations cont
Interface expectations (cont…)

  • Very rapid response. Users have a low tolerance for slow systems

  • Rich visual information: book jacket images, rating scores, etc.

  • Let users drill down through the result set incrementally narrowing the field

  • Faceted Browsing

    • Drill-down vs up-front Boolean or “Advanced Search”

    • gives the users clues about the number of hits in each sub topic

    • Ability to explore collections without a priori knowledge

  • Navigational Bread crumbs

Deep search
Deep search

  • Increasing opportunities to search the full contents

    • Google Library Print, Google Publisher, Open Content Alliance, Microsoft Live Book Search, etc.

    • High-quality metadata will improve search precision

  • Commercial search providers already offer “search inside the book”

  • No comprehensive full text search for books quite yet

  • Not currently available through library search environments

Beyond discovery
Beyond Discovery

  • Fulfillment oriented

  • Search -> select -> view

  • Delivery/Fulfillment much harder than discovery

  • Back-end complexity should be as seamless as possible to the user

Library specific features
Library-specific Features

  • Appropriate relevance factors

    • Objective keyword ranking + Library weightings

    • Circulation frequency, OCLC holdings, scholarly content

  • Results grouping (FRBR)

  • Collection focused (vs sales-driven)

Enterprise integration
Enterprise Integration

  • Ability to deliver content and services through non-library applications

  • Campus portal solutions

  • Courseware

  • Social networking environments

  • Search portals / Feed aggregators

Smart and sophisticated
Smart and Sophisticated

  • Much more difficult than old gen OPACS

  • Not a dumbed-down approach

  • Wed library specific requirements and expectations with e-commerce technologies

Architecture and standards
Architecture and Standards

  • Need to have an standard approach for connecting new generation interfaces with ILS and other repositories

  • Proprietary and ad hoc methods currently prevail

  • Digital Library Federation

    • ILS-Discovery Interface Group

New gen library interfaces

New-Gen Library Interfaces

Current Commercial and Open Source Products

Endeca guided navigation
Endeca Guided Navigation

  • North Carolina State University

  • McMaster University

  • Phoenix Public Library

  • Florida Center for Library Automation

Aquabrowser library
AquaBrowser Library

  • Queens Borough Public Library


  • Oklahoma State University


  • University of Chicago


Ex libris primo
Ex Libris Primo

  • Discovery and Delivery platform for academic libraries

  • Vanderbilt University

  • University of Minnesota

  • University of Iowa

Encore from innovative interfaces
Encore from Innovative Interfaces

  • Designed for academic, public and special libraries

  • Nashville Public Library

  • Scottsdale Public Library

  • Yale University Lillian Goldman Law Library

Oclc worldcat local
OCLC Worldcat Local

  • OCLC Worldcat customized for local library catalog

    • Relies on hooks into ILS for local services

    • Tied to library holdings set in WorldCat

  • University of Washington Libraries

  • University of California Melvyl Catalog


  • Recently announced their next generation discovery environment named Enterprise

    • Relies on Globalbrain technology from Brainware

  • Many legacy interfaces

    • Enterprise Portal Solution

    • Rooms / SchoolRooms

    • iLink / iBistro (legacy)

  • Product based on FAST announced in March 2006 – withdrawn

Vufind villanova university
VUFind – Villanova University

Based on Apache Solr search toolkit

Library developed solutions
Library-developed solutions

  • eXtensible Catalog

  • University of Rochester – River Campus Libraries

  • Financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


Working toward a new ils vision
Working toward a new ILS Vision

  • How libraries work has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.

  • ILS built largely on workflows cast more than 25 years ago

  • Based on assumptions that have long since changed

  • Digital resources represent at least half of most academic libraries collection budgets

  • The automation needs of libraries today is broader than that provided by the legacy ILS

Libraries ready for a new course
Libraries ready for a new course

  • Level of dissatisfaction with the current slate of ILS products is very high.

  • Large monolithic systems are unwieldy—very complex to install, administer and maintain.

  • Continue to be large gaps in functionality

    • Interlibrary loan

    • Collection development

    • Preservation: print / digital

    • Book binding

    • Remote storage operations

Less proprietary more open
Less Proprietary / More Open

  • Libraries demand more openness

  • Open source movement greatest challenge to current slate of commercial ILS products

  • Demand for open access to data

    • API’s essential

    • Beyond proprietary APIs

    • Ideal: Industry-standard set of API’s implemented by all systems

    • Current DLF initiative to define API for an ILS for decoupled catalogs

Open but commercial
Open but Commercial?

  • As library values evolve toward open solutions, commercial companies will see increasing advantages in adopting more open strategies

  • Open Data

    • Well documented database schemas

    • APIs for access to all system functionality

  • More customizability; better integration

  • Open Source Software?

  • Key differentiation lies in service and support

Comprehensive automation
Comprehensive automation

  • Need the ability to automation all aspects of library work

  • Suite of interoperable modules

  • Single point of management for each category of information

  • Not necessarily through a single monolithic system

More lightweight approach
More lightweight approach

  • More elegant and efficient

  • Easier to install and administer

  • Automation systems that can be operated with fewer number of technical staff

Redefining the borders
Redefining the borders

  • Many artificial distinctions prevail in the legacy ILS model

  • Online catalog / library portal / institutional portal

  • Circulation / ILL / Direct consortial borrowing / remote storage

  • Collection Development / Acquisitions / budget administration

  • Library acquisitions / Institutional ERP

  • Cataloging / Metadata document ingestion for digital collections

  • Digital / Print workflows

Separation of front end from back end
Separation of front-end from back-end

  • ILS OPAC not necessarily best library interface

  • Many efforts already underway to offer alternatives

  • Too many of the resources that belong in the interface are out of the ILS scope

  • Technology cycles faster for front-end than for back-end processes.

Service oriented architecture
Service-oriented Architecture

  • Work toward a service-oriented business application

  • Suite of light-weight applications

  • Flexibility to evolve in step with changes in library services and practices

Enterprise interoperability
Enterprise interoperability

  • Interoperate with non-library applications

  • Course management

  • Accounting, finance, ERM applications

  • External authentication services

  • Other portal implementations

Massively consolidated implementations
Massively consolidated implementations

  • State/Province-wide ILS implementations

  • Increased reliance on consortia

  • Increased Software as a Service / ASP options hosted by vendors

  • Radical simplification of library policies affecting services offered to patrons

Fitting into the global enterprise
Fitting into the Global Enterprise

  • Leverage capabilities of search engines:

    • Google, Google Scholar, Microsoft Live, Ask, etc

  • OCLC WorldCat

  • Sort out the relationships between the global enterprise and local systems

  • Leverage the content in enterprise discovery systems to drive users toward library resources

Revise assumptions regarding metadata
Revise assumptions regarding Metadata

  • Reliance on MARC widely questioned

  • XML widely deployed

  • The next-gen ILS must natively support many flavors of metadata: MARC, Dublin Core, Onix, METS, etc

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings vs FAST

  • Approaching a post-metadata where discovery systems operate on actual digital objects themselves, not metadata about them

    • High-quality metadata will always improve discovery

  • Incorporate content from mass digitization efforts

  • Increasing proportions of rich media content: audio, video

Competing in an crowded field of information providers
Competing in an crowded field of information providers

  • Commercial Web destinations increasingly overlap with services offered by libraries

  • Expectations of users set by their experiences with commercial destinations

  • Web-based library services need to be on the same level

  • Pressure to revamp library interfaces, discovery, and delivery tools

New models of software development
New models of Software Development

  • Role of commercial partners

    • Break out of marketing / consumer model

    • Substantial dialog that shapes the direction of product development

  • Increased partnerships

  • Accelerated development cycles

  • Cost-effective / realistic cost expectations

Evolution vs revolution
Evolution vs Revolution

  • What we have today is a result of 35 years of evolution

  • Is it possible to break free of the constraints of these evolved systems toward a new generation that will offer a fresh approach?

  • Are libraries now willing to let go of the of ILS legacy of times past and move forward with library automation cast in a new mould.

A unique opportunity
A unique opportunity

  • Web 2.0 has invigorated libraries toward more open and collaborative strategies

  • Service Oriented Architecture provides a platform for assembling library systems more in tune with the needs of today’s libraries

  • Intense interest by both libraries and vendors to catch up and move forward in delivering library interfaces that work better for today’s Web-savvy users