“Is the Writing On The Wall?” — Take 2

Walt Crawford chided me — rightly so — for yesterday’s Is the Writing on the Wall for the Integrated Library System? post. My choice of language was, admittedly, sloppy. I was fired up last night…distracted, if you will, by what was happening at a really good conference. Please allow me the chance to redeem my argument.

In academic libraries, in my experience, there has been a decline in the use of library catalogs. This experience could be verified in the ARL supplementary statistics for at least that population of libraries (I think those numbers are password-protected, so it might be a challenge to try to use them). When I get back on the ground and have some time, I will either offer confirmation of that supposition or retract it.

Is the Writing on the Wall for the Integrated Library System?

While in UNC-CH for JCDL I’ve had occasion to rant with/at some people about the state of the integrated library system marketplace — including, of course, how we got into the spot we’re in and how we might get out of it (and those people were kind enough to engage in the rant). Along comes a series of posts from Casey Bisson and Nicole Engard ultimately pointing back to John Blyberg’s “ILS Customer Bill-of-Rights” that is singing the same tune. There still seems to be a desire for a solution from an existing vendor, and in fact that was part of counter-points brought up by some on the receiving end of the ILS-must-go rant. (Paraphrased: ‘No one can satisfy the need of a library like a library automation vendor’ and ‘As libraries we’re not strong enough to take on the task of building the next ILS ourselves.’) Yet there does seem to be this mounting pressure to get control again over our data and how we present it to patrons.

The Meaning Behind the Tagline

You may be wondering about the meaning behind the tagline for DLTJ:

We’re Disrupted, We’re Librarians, and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore

If you’ll pardon the crude analogy, I’d like to borrow from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ On Death and Dying — the Five Stages of Grieving: “The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost.”