Sunday, October 26, 2008

Library 2.0 Gang 10/08: Financial Crisis or an opportunity?

Originally posted on 10th October 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

Unless you have been living under a stone for the last few months, the turmoil in the world financial markets can not have escaped your notice, but how will this, and the inevitable recession that we are heading in towards, influence libraries and their suppliers?

Is the library world insulated from it? Does it mean that open source become more popular because it is perceived to be cheaper, or less because there will be less funding for those involved? Does it mean that pressure to purchase add-on components as against full systems will increase? What pressures will there be on the vendors both traditional and open source? Does this mean that libraries will become more or less significant in their communities? Is this an opportunity or a crisis or both?

Joining gang members Marshall Breeding and Carl Grant to discuss this, our guest this month is Talis CEO and avid Bloomberg watcher, Dave Errington.

The conclusion seems to be that it is definitely a crisis for the world economies, but this first recession in an online world could be an opportunity for libraries if they are willing to grasp it. Take a listen and see if you agree.

During the conversation Carl references a Chronicle of Higher Education, Tech Therapy, podcast about the culture clash between librarians and IT in the academic environment. You can listen to that podcast by following this link.

Library 2.0 Gang 09/08: System Procurement

Originally posted on 9th September 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

All are agreed that the purchasing of a library system is not an insignificant undertaking, but in these times of rapidly changing 2.0 technology and open source systems, are the current procurement processes still fit for purpose?

To help with the discussion we are joined by two guests this month who are both veterans of many tender processes:

Gang members Carl Grant and Marshall Breeding join in the discussion about the frustrations of the procurement process and how it may or may not be applicable. There again, the process does lead to contractual rigor, but is it at the expense of stifled innovation.?

To help the discussion along Rob McGee has provided a couple of his white papers on the subject:

  • Request for Proposals for Integrated Library Systems [pdf]
  • Information Technology Strategic Planning for Libraries [pdf]

Although coming from differing points of view, the gang and our guests agreed on one piece of advice for libraries – make friends with your purchasing department, involving them fully in preparing requirements with vision.

Library 2.0 Gang 08/08: Open Source Systems

Originally posted on 12th August 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

Open Source Software has been around for many years. Open Source components have been used to develop library systems since the late 1990’s. Koha, acknowledged as the first fully open source library system was launched by its New Zealand based developers in 2000. The growing interest around open source, stimulated by Koha, was given a significant boost when Georgia Public Libraries launched Evergreen in September 2006.

We have two guests this month:

  • Karen G. Schneider, Community Librarian for Equinox Software, the support organisation which grew out of the Evergreen project.
  • L J Haravu Chief Domain Specialist, Verus Solutions Pvt., Ltd., Hyderabad India, the software company behind NewGenLib the Open Source library system successfully spreading across India and the Middle East.

Stimulated by the success of the organisations represented by our guests, the gang for this month – Nicole Engard, Talin Bingham, Andrew Nagy, Marshall Breeding, and Carl Grant – go on to discuss how Open Source Library Systems, and the open approach behind them, have changed the way all system suppliers both commercial and Open Source are delivering their systems and engaging with their customers.

Library 2.0 Gang 07/08: ALA - Anaheim

Originally posted on 8th July 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

22,000 Librarians congregated in Anaheim California between June 26th and July 2nd for the American Library Association 2008 Annual Conference and Exhibition. With over 300 educational programs, over 2000 committee meetings and events, the exhibition, opening and closing sessions, and the presidents program to choose from - and Disneyland just down the road - it was a busy time for those that attended.

Outgoing ALA President, Loriene Roy joins the Gang as our guest this month to reflect on the conference.

The Gang members, who all attended the conference, on this show are Char Booth, Carl Grant, Marshall Breeding, and Oren Beit-Arie. Amongst the topics discussed were the suitability of the venues chosen for ALA conferences, the return on investment for vendors as some conference attendees deliberately avoid the exhibition floor, concerns patron privacy and it’s effect on innovation, and the way librarians don’t discuss their failures.

Library 2.0 Gang 06/08: Bolt-on OPACs

Originally posted on 10th June 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

Against the background of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, we have seen the emergence of complementary, or bolt-on, products for Library Systems. Gradually we are seeing a moving away from the tradition of libraries purchasing absolutely everything from their ILS vendor.

It is now becoming normal for libraries to purchase URL Resolvers, Electronic Resource Management software, and Federated Search products from 3rd parties. This trend is becoming most prevalent in the area of search and discovery interfaces, these ‘Bolt-on OPACs’ being available from both commercial and open source providers.

Our guest Taco Ekkel is Director of Development for Medialab Solutions, the Amsterdam based company who produced Aquabrowser, the first commercial example of a complementary OPAC. He is joined by Gang members Matt Goldner, Betsy Graham, Andrew Nagy, Marshall Breeding, and Carl Grant, to discuss where these products are going and what was learnt from Aquabrowser.

Library 2.0 Gang 05/08: ILS API

Originally posted on 6th May 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

Those reading library technology blogs, or attending conferences over the last couple of years, can not have failed to be aware of the pressure for Library System developers and vendors to open up those systems and provide API access.

Against this background, the Digital Library Federation (DLF) launched a working group to analyze the issues involved in integrating “integrated library systems” and discovery systems, and create a technical proposal for how such integration should be accomplished.

Following a survey of libraries, the working group produced a draft recommendation which was discussed at a meeting in Berkeley, California on March 6th attended by representatives of the DLF , academic libraries, and major library application vendors. Subsequent to this meeting participants agreed to the ‘Berkeley Accord’ supporting a set of essential functions for an API.

John Mark Ockerbloom Chair of the DLF Working Group is our guest this month. In conversation with the Gang members Talin Bingham, Oren Beit-Arie, Marshall Breeding, Andrew Nagy, and Dan Mullineux.

During the conversation we reference:

Library 2.0 Gang 04/08: Google Book Search API

Originally posted on 8th April 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

Google Book Search has created much interest since its appearance as Google Print back in 2004. Recently they released an API to enable the embedding of Google Book Search resources in to sites, not least library OPACs.

This month’s gang Oren Beit-Arie, Tim Spalding, Warwick Cathro, John Blyberg, and Carl Grant are joined by guest Google Product Manager, Frances Haugen who gives an interesting insight in to the thinking behind and application of the API. During the conversation Frances suggests that those who wish to offer comments about and suggestions for future API developments should contact her by mail -

The Gang also discuss how services such as Google Book Search, The Open Library, LibraryThing, and others may be indicators of how in the future library systems will increasingly use globally based services to handle resources traditionally held locally.

Library 2.0 Gang 03/08: Code4lib

Originally posted on 11th March 2008 on the Talis Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

The Open Library, ILS APIs, and New Cataloguing Influences, are the subjects under discussion in this show. Gang Regulars John Blyberg, Nicole C Engard, Carl Grant, Char Booth, and Rob Styles are joined by Aaron Swartz from The Open Library.

The topics for this month’s show were drawn from the excellent Code4lib 2008 Conference February 25-28, in Portland, OR. - The Open Library, ILS APIs, and new influences on cataloging.

The following are referenced in the conversation: