What follows is a summary and commentary on the LITA Top Technology Trends meeting at ALA annual conference in New Orleans on 25-Jun-2006. What I’ve tried to do is collate comments from the panel members and add my own commentary (marked off as such from the rest of the summary) where I thought I had something useful to add. It is my hope that this summary is a faithful representation of the statements made by the participants in the panel. If not, please let me know privately or in the comment area here and I will make the appropriate corrections on the body of the blog post.
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.
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.