Author Archive: Marshall Breeding


Library Systems Report (Illustration by (c)vladgrin/Adobe Stock and Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

Library Systems Report 2019

May 1, 2019

Outdated automation systems can reinforce work patterns that no longer reflect priorities as core library activities change. Bursts of innovation can create new products better aligned with current library realities. The products that emerge out of these creative booms then become mainstays that support the next phase of library operations. The academic library sector can … Continue reading Library Systems Report 2019


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Discovery Services

January 2, 2019

An academic library can assemble several combinations of products, depending on the ways in which it organizes its website and discovery environment and the types of resource management systems it has in place. One critical debate has recently emerged: Should discovery services be bundled or acquired à la carte? Perspectives differ regarding the benefits of … Continue reading Discovery Services


Exhibit Hall opening, #alaac18

Tech in the Exhibit Hall

July 18, 2018

The conference brought together more than 750 companies and organizations in the world’s largest exhibition of library-oriented technology. This roundup describes a few of the products that caught my eye. It’s not a comprehensive report; there were just too many interesting items on hand to write about them all. Seeking synergies ProQuest is a good … Continue reading Tech in the Exhibit Hall


Library Systems Report

Library Systems Report 2018

May 1, 2018

Academic libraries are looking beyond efficiencies in collection management or improvements in library-provided discovery services. Instead, they are addressing broader education needs by inserting relevant resources into platforms that support the curriculum and enhance their institutions’ research activities. Public libraries seek technologies that improve engagement with their communities. These libraries value reliable and feature-rich automation … Continue reading Library Systems Report 2018


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Open Source Software

November 1, 2017

Integrated library systems (ILS), as well as the new genre of library services platforms, are offered to libraries primarily as proprietary products controlled by a single vendor. Libraries that use these products remain dependent on that vendor for ongoing software development, solutions to systemic problems, and service enhancements. While proprietary software remains the dominant approach, … Continue reading Open Source Software


Google promoted its “Libraries Ready to Code” joint initiative with ALA.

Tech Power

July 19, 2017

I probably spend more time in the exhibit hall than most conference attendees—you may have seen me browsing the aisles or rushing to my next appointment. The meetings I have with company executives and product experts inform much of my research and writing for months to come as a chronicler of the library technology industry. … Continue reading Tech Power


Library Systems Report 2017

Library Systems Report 2017

May 1, 2017

More statistics on sales performance, installations, and personnel for 2016 are available here. Consolidation deep and wide Library technology continues to consolidate horizontally and vertically. Horizontal consolidation—the merging of companies with similar business activities—shaped some of the larger players in the industry, such as Follett, and Infor Library and Information Solutions, Innovative Interfaces, Lucidea, OCLC, … Continue reading Library Systems Report 2017


Products related to makerspaces, like these from TeacherGeek, had a strong presence this year.

Hot Venue, High Tech

July 20, 2016

Though turnout was a bit lighter than usual (16,597 total attendance), many exhibitors mentioned that traffic was brisk. Vendors appreciated the opportunity to engage with current and potential library customers. Consistent with the consolidation of the industry, there were fewer booths, and many vendors showed off an ever-expanding portfolio of gadgets and devices. Technology products … Continue reading Hot Venue, High Tech


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Protecting Patron Privacy

May 31, 2016

Secure communication on the web provides two important benefits: identifying the website authoritatively enabling encrypted communications between the user’s browser and the server that provides the resource Encryption algorithms transform the data into a seemingly garbled form that, if intercepted, cannot be deciphered. The use of a secure communication protocol (HTTPS) provides the best approach … Continue reading Protecting Patron Privacy


Library Systems Report

Library Systems Report 2016

May 2, 2016

Libraries have much at stake in products that align well with their strategies, resonate with their patrons, and facilitate the work of their staff. Previously established products are evolving to gain long-overdue modernization. In an era of web-based and cloud computing, library technology has held fast to aspects of the previous age of client–server computing. … Continue reading Library Systems Report 2016