Library management system Essay
General overview In one of the first papers on library management systems (ALMS) in the UK to be published during the review period of 1991-2000, Raffled 1 describes how the changing economics of computing resulted in staff at Reading university Library wishing to move away from a system shared between various libraries to an integrated library management system under local control.
Reading had been a member of the SCALP (originally standing for the South Western Academic Libraries Co-operative Automation Project) which had provided shared cataloguing ND circulation services too number of academic libraries in the UK since 1979. However, ageing equipment was becoming increasingly unreliable and staff at Reading felt that the SCALP service was unable to cope with the Increasing number of terminals that were required for the users.
This situation was replicated in other academic and public libraries at the start of the sass and many moved over, or migrated, to integrated library management systems (in Reading’s case the LIB’S 100 system from CLASS was chosen). Jones 2, of the House of Lords Library, describes how the decline in the number of customers of the shared services exulted in the decision by SSL (SCALP Library Services) to withdraw this service.
Following a study undertaken by an external consultant (when it was recommended that a multi-user integrated ALMS be chosen) a decision was made to Implement the ADVANCE system from the company Gage In the House of Lords. Another reason for libraries choosing to replace their ALMS during this period was the fact that some Alms were not designed to cope with dates in the sass -I. E. They were not Year 2000 (or YAK) compliant. Many of the integrated Alms, such as Cell’s LIB’S 100 and Sac’s
ADVANCE, were developed during the sass so that by the sass these comprised a number of modules to cover the general library housekeeping functions of: Cataloguing – creating records for material held in the collection Circulation – keeping track of who has what item from the collection on loan Providing access to the catalogue – via an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) Calculations – selecting and ordering items for the collection and maintaining the accounts Serials control – managing the acquisition of serial publications and so dealing with challenges such as claiming for missing Issues.
Interlibrary lending – to enable books and serials to be borrowed from different libraries. Most Alms are now Integrated, I. E. Data Is only held once by the system and Is then used by all the modules and functions. This has an obvious benefit as a search of an OPAC can inform the user as to the number of copies of the title are held, where they are housed, as well as whether or not they are out on loan, and if so when they are likely to be returned.
The libraries of the early sass, be they public, university, college, medical, government, legal, Industrial, or school, dealt primarily with printed materials such as books, reports, scholarly urinals and so on, as well as what were referred to as non-book materials, such as sass the huge impact of the Internet and the World Wide Web meant that staff in libraries increasingly were involved in not Just managing the collections housed physically within the four walls of their library building but were also involved in providing access to a vast range of digital information sources of potential relevance to their users which were housed outwit the library building. This mixture of providing access to print and digital collections caused some writers, e. G. Oppenheim ND Smithson 3 , to refer to the development of the hybrid library. For staff working in libraries in the early sass the Alms were, for many, their first experiences in using computers.
By the end of the sass though, following much training in Information and Communications Technology (ACT) as part of the Electronic Libraries Programmer (lib) in the Auk’s academic libraries (Residing) and the People’s Network in public libraries ( Library and Information Commission 5) staff became much more familiar with using computer systems. The functionality required by Alms inevitably evolved during the sass and some suppliers kept pace with genealogical developments whereas others failed. Another development of the sass was that many smaller libraries were able to afford to buy Alms as systems began to cost thousands (or in some cases hundreds) of pounds rather than hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A number of books appeared during the decade providing, inter alai, advice to librarians involved in selecting and managing Alms. Examples include Clayton with Batty , Harbor 7, Rowley 8 9 and Teed 10. Managing the Electronic Library 11 covers a wider area than ALMS with 40 contributors, mainly from the I-J academic community. The main theme of this book is change and how staff in university libraries were responding in the sass to the rapidly changing higher education system in the UK with its increasing student numbers and greater diversity and requirement for flexibility of access to information. For many libraries the challenge relating to ALMS was not necessarily choosing a new system from scratch’ but migrating from one system to another as described earlier.
Murderer’s book 2 includes a number of case studies written by library staff from a range of different types of library describing their experiences in migration. Murdered also edited the British version of a book on planning for library automation which was written in the US. 2. Brief descriptions of some of the ALMS available In this section brief descriptions will be given of some of the Alms used in UK libraries between 1991 and 2000. Further details are provided in the excellent directory of 30 ALMS compiled by Levees with Russell 14 through funding from the British Library Research and Development Department (BLUR) under the auspices of the Library Information Technology Centre (LILT) at South Bank University in London. The LILT was a centre which, in 1991, moved from its former base at the
Polytechnic of Central London to the then South Bank Polytechnic. LILT was funded by the BLUR to offer impartial advice on Alms and general automation projects to librarians and information professionals. Staff at LILT were involved in a number of (e. G. 15 16) , introductory packs (e. G. For special sectors, such as school libraries), providing consultancy advice to individual libraries choosing a new ALMS, being involved in funded research work and publishing the Journal Vine. The Levees with Russell directory was based, in part, on an earlier directory (Levees et al. 18) of some 9 ALMS in Europe; of these over 50% referred to ALMS used in UK libraries at that time.
Other references to case studies describing particular implementations have, in the main, been taken from the Journals Program: electronic library and information systems and Vine. ADLIBBED This ALMS was initially developed in the sass by Layman Management Resources of Maidenhead and in the sass was supplied by Adlibbed Information Systems. Levees with Russell record 11 users of ADLIBBED in the mid-sass most of which, ten, were special libraries. An example of a library and information service implementing ADLIBBED s provided by Wiltshire who describes the decision made by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACS) to choose the catalogue, OPAC and acquisitions modules of this system to replace the previous Bookshelf system used when ACS was part of the I-J government’s Department of Employment.
ALEPH 500 Ex Alibis developed its first ALMS, the forerunner of the ALEPH 500 system, for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the sass and it became a popular system in Europe. The first customer for ALEPH 500 in the UK was Kings College London (KCAL) which, in 1996, was looking for a new ALMS to replace the soon to be defunct LIBERATE system. Sudden and Robinson 20 describe that procurement process and explain how its use of industry standards (Unix, Oracle, Windows, SQL etc. ) was one of the major reasons for its being chosen for Kings. Many other academic libraries followed KCAL in choosing ALEPH 500 including Bristol, as described by Kinking.
ALICE This ALMS originated in Australia and was introduced into the UK market in 1992. It is primarily aimed at school libraries and has proved to be popular with Levees with Russell recording some 320 users in special, college and prison libraries as well as in schools. Darkroom 22 provides a brief description of the place of ALICE in the ALMS racetrack in the late sass. ALLS Automated Library Systems (ALLS) is a British company that has been involved with computer-based library systems since the late sass when it developed a special device based on punched paper-tape for automatically recording details of books and borrowers at a library issue desk.
During the sass the suppliers developed a version of the ALLS System 900 which would run on open systems platforms (as opposed to the previous proprietary hardware and software solution) as well as dealing with Electronic Data Interchange (DEED’) developments in the acquisitions Arts and Information Service. BookshelF/Genesis Bookshelf originated as a microcomputer-based software package developed in the sass for the Cairns Library at the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford. However, by the sass the multi-user system of Bookshelf became known as Genesis and was marketed by the Specialist Computer Group (SAG). Rowley 24 describes how this ALMS was one of the first to run as a Windows product with a graphical user interface (GU’). Further details of Bookshelf are provided by Fisher and Rowley 25.
Levees with Russell report that takeout of this new ALMS had been quite rapid during the early sass with there being 37 customers (mainly college or small academic) including both previous Bookshelf customers which had upgraded to the new improved system as well as new customers. CHAIRS-ALMS The Computer Assisted Information Retrieval System (CHAIRS) was initially developed as an in-house information retrieval system for the Letterhead Food Research Association in the mid-sass. CHAIRS-ALMS was developed to complement this and was used by those libraries in the sass which typically had sophisticated information retrieval requirements and comparatively low numbers of loans.
Borrower describes he upgrade from the microcomputer version of CHAIRS (Microcosms) to CHAIRS-ALMS at Templeton College. Levees with Russell record 218 users of CHAIRS-ALMS, the vast majority of which were special libraries. Bennett and Tomlinson describe the use of the interlibrary loans module of CHAIRS-ALMS at the library of the Institutions of Electrical Engineers. Treated This ALMS originated from software developed in the US but by the sass some I-J special libraries were using it. Hey, for instance, describes its implementation at the Royal Society of Chemistry (ARCS). As similar learned societies, the ARCS had been sing online information retrieval system since the sass and by the sass realized the need for a complementary ALMS.
In 1996 Treated, by then part of the Dawson Holdings group, acquired Information Management and Engineering (MIME) the producers of the Tannin software. Dying/ Horizon The history of Dying up to the early sass is provided by Claritin with Behaving who were responsible for implementing this ALMS at Glasgow Caledonia University. The original Dying ALMS was developed in the US in the sass and Levees with Russell state that there were 68 users of this ALMS in the UK in public, university, small academic/college and special libraries. During the sass a client-server ALMS, Horizon, was marketed by the firm America Library Services, which had merged with Dying during the sass.
Hackett and Goddesses describe the Horizon ALMS noting that it was academic libraries, although they also note that it might have been argued that Horizon was marketed too early in the I-J in 1995, when the product lacked depth of functionality required to deal with the needs of large multi-site universities. However by 1998, when universities including Heidelberg, Middlesex, Staffordshire, Stretchable and Firebrick College, University of London had implemented Horizon the feeling was that customers were ” beginning to reap the benefits of its fully graphical, client/server construction”. In 2000 America Library Services became known as eyepiece Inc. And continued to supply existing products as well as web- based solutions and services. Galaxy The Galaxy 2000 ALMS, from the British firm, ADS proved to be a popular system, particularly in public libraries, during the sass.
Nearby describes how Birmingham Library service, the biggest metropolitan library authority in the UK with 40 immunity libraries and the busiest lending library in Europe installed the Galaxy 2000 ALMS in 1994 and the upgraded it to a newer version in 1999. Galaxy 2000 offers the usual ALMS modules but also has a separate issuing function for use of the Birmingham housebound service. The OPAC module of Galaxy is known as Viewpoint and there have been some 230 Viewpoint terminals located throughout Birmingham since 1994. Gage This Canadian firm Gage first installed its Gage Library Information System in a I-J library in 1979 and this software ran on proprietary hardware and was used in several I-J libraries in the sass.
In 1988 Gage acquired an American company, Advanced Libraries, and developed its software, ADVANCE, to run under the Unix operating system and this became its main ALMS offering in the sass. For instance, in the mid-sass Edinburgh University upgraded its previous Gage (Gage 9000) system to ADVANCE, Newcastle University chose this system as did the public library at Hamilton District Libraries in Scotland, the National Library of Wales and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. A history of library automation at the Bodleian, including the implementation of the DOBBS/ALIBIS system in the late sass is revived by Scrimshaws and Burnett 33 describes the 1995 decision to migrate to ADVANCE along with an assessment of the impact of automation on such a large organization and a catalogue of some eight million items.
Gage ADVANCE was the basis for the Oxford Library Information System (LOIS) that provided library housekeeping services for many of the Oxford colleges, academic libraries within the university as well as the copyright library. During the sass Gage also acquired CLASS and its LIB’S 100 ALMS and marketed this for some time. Heritage Heritage, like Genesis, was developed from the original Bookshelf software although which became known as Inheritance Systems during the sass) in Oxford. Lapel 34 describes the implementation of Heritage in a small one-librarian medical service and concluded that this ALMS had proved to be a great time-saver in issuing and claiming books and had excellent statistical reporting facilities.
In 1997 the library at the Central School of Speech and Drama, having outgrown its previous ALMS, needed a new system. Edwards 35 describes the selection process for this new system which resulted in a short list of four ALMS ranging in price from E,OHO – EYE,400. Heritage as chosen ( at a cost of El 1,350) and the paper describes some of the innovative features of this ALMS. NINEPIN/ Millennium Innovative Interfaces Inc. (Ill) is an American company which started to market the NINEPIN ALMS in the I-J in the early sass with the first customer being the library at the University of Wales, Bangor. In 1995 staff at the University of Hull, as described by Lesson 36, chose NINEPIN to replace the previous Gage 9000 as it had improved functionality.
In 1997 Ill acquired the I-J company SSL and its LIBERATE software. Towards the end of the sass Ill started to develop its Millennium system which, inter Lila, provided a web-based interface for each module. Users of Millennium in the UK included Sheffield Hall University, SST. Andrews University, and SST. Marry University College in Thickening. The School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London chose Millennium because of its proven ability to deal with Chinese, Japanese and Korean material. Myhi1137 provides a personal insight into the challenges faced at the University of Exeter in migrating from the LIBERATE ALMS to Millennium.
LIBERATE The stand-alone ALMS LIBERATE, of SSL, was designed with assistance from many of he systems librarians who were working in the libraries of member universities of the SCALP co-operative. LIBERATE was launched in 1986 and initially incorporated modules for cataloguing, OPAC, and circulation control. Levees with Russell report 46 users of LIBERATE in UK libraries by the mid-sass. Bradford outlines the advantages and disadvantages of using the ILL module of LIBERATE at Bristol University, which was an original member of SCALP. In 1997 SSL was sold to Ill and support for the LIBERATE system declined. LIB Smith describes how the Bar Library in Belfast which serves all practicing arresters in Northern Ireland implemented the LIB ALMS from the British firm Farewell Downing in 1996.
The requirements for this special library included the need to provide a document management/delivery service for members as well as an efficient system for managing the library. Initially the Bar Library used the cataloguing, circulation and OPAC modules of LIB with the intention of implementing the acquisitions and serials modules at a later date. The other early co-operative for library automation in the UK was BLIMP- or Birmingham Libraries Co-operative Mechanization project. Like SCALP it had plopped stand-alone software for its members which, in the early sass, was known as BALLS – Blimps Library System- and included modules for acquisitions, OPAC, circulation control and serials control. In 1992 BLIMP announced a new Unix- based system known as Atlas.
Like LIBERATE, Atlas had been designed in conjunction with the co-operatives member libraries. It was based on a modular principles using computing industry standards for an open systems design. Among the early users of Atlas were the John Rolland Library of the University of Manchester and the public library of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Levees with Russell report 30 users of Atlas in the mid-sass, most of which were university or public libraries in the I-J. Wilson 40 describes the experiences of migrating from BALLS to Atlas at None College, the first institution to undertake this migration and produced a lengthy list of ‘morals of migration’.
In 1999 the organization supplying Atlas ceased being a co- operative of member libraries and became a commercial company. This decision followed much consultation with the members of the co-operative and the new company stated that strong customer relationships and customer focus would main central to the culture of the business. Tannin Tannin, also known as the Information Navigator, was developed by the British firm MIME in the sass. It was one of the earliest systems to offer a navigational facility and to make use of Windows for display and selection of data. Levees with Russell report that there were 315 users of Tannin in the mid-sass in the UK although a full customer list was not supplied.
Chapel and Thacker’s outline the need for an automated system to replace the existing manual systems at the library of the Arts Council of Great Britain and how the use of Tannin had increased the effectiveness ND efficiency of the library and made its collections much more accessible. Unicorn Haines describes her experiences during 1990 in attempting to negotiate the acquisition of an American system, Unicorn, from the Sirs Corporation, which was previously not available in Europe, for use in a British independent health fund, the Kings Fund. Sirs’ was determined not to enter the European market without a partner with expertise in library software support and with the necessary technical skills in Unix systems. This was finally achieved and the system was successfully launched in the UK in 1991. Levees with Russell reported some 37 users of Unicorn most of which were medical, legal or government libraries.
Career, for instance, outlines how Unicorn was introduced into the I-J government’s Department of Health library where it needed to be integrated with the Department’s office information system and added to a large network with multiple applications. By the end of the sass Unicorn was used in a variety of libraries including the Challenges and Gloucester College of Higher Education, the London School of Economics, the Royal Museum. Voyager Endeavor Information Systems was formed in the US in 1994 and its first product was TTS Voyager ALMS. The Woebegone module of Voyager allows web browsers to query the Voyager database, which is based on the Oracle relational database management system. Voyager became the ALMS of choice for a number of libraries looking for new systems following the demise of LIBERATE.
In Wales , for instance, the university libraries of Abernathy, Cardiff, Lamprey and Swansea as well as the Welsh College of Music and Drama were all faced with choosing a new system and they decided to approach the selection process in a consortia way, as described by West. Each institution was free to choose its own system following the selection process. In the event all chose Voyager from Endeavor and these systems were implemented, with differing OPAC interfaces in 1999. Knighting outlines the procurement and migration experiences at Worcestershire University Library in moving also from LIBERATE to Voyager. Inevitably not all the Alms offered all modules in a way that satisfied all staff in libraries. In the sass there were some examples of libraries which had one ALMS for most of its applications but used another for a specific function.
For instance, Edwards describes that although Crayon Libraries had automated its circulation ND stock control procedures for many years a decision had been made to delay the automation of the acquisitions processes as the ALMS in place (Cell’s LIB’S 100) did not satisfy the needs of the acquisitions staff. In 1997 the acquisitions module from All’s Emeritus ALMS was used, in conjunction with a network solution for EDI ordering and invoicing was implemented. The requirements for interlibrary loans (ILL) within the I-J which for many libraries involves the use of the centralized British Library Document Supply Centre have not always been met by Alms, particularly those developed outside the I-J. Levees describes solutions for automating ILL in the early part of the sass and Browse 48 describes the process of developing an ILL module for the ALEPH 500 ALMS that had been installed at KCAL. 3.
Reports in the literature of overviews of ALMS during 1991-2000 Apart from the Levees with Russell directory which includes details of users of the different ALMS there have also been other studies and surveys undertaken during the period. In 1991 Blended-Leslies reported on an update too previous survey and aimed to provide an analysis of the I-J market for ALMS in a form that complemented the US annual ALMS marketplace survey (e. G. Bridge). The data for this market analysis was retrieved from questionnaires sent to ALMS suppliers including ALLS, BALLS, CLASS, ADS, Dying, Farewell Downing, Gage, MIME and SSL. He concluded that ADS was the overall market leader and that there was plenty of evidence of suppliers enhancing their products.
In conclusion he stated that ” This market will become increasingly competitive on economic, geographic and technological levels and so no vendor, even research and development and customer satisfaction remain the key activities for the immediate future. ” By 1992 Blended-Leslies reported that BALLS had the market share with SSL as second. These were both established major forces and newer suppliers in the market at that time, I. E. Dying and MIME were performing well. In the final survey in this series Blended-Ellis and Graham extended the coverage of their questionnaire as it was sent to 38 suppliers identified by the LILT and 29 responses were received.
Previous surveys had concentrated on larger ALMS suppliers and since this survey included many smaller ALMS suppliers a total of nine market segments was identified. The Web was Just beginning to impact on libraries at the time of this last survey and the final point made was that library housekeeping systems will come Just one of a suite of services designed to deliver packaged information quickly and effortlessly. A different perspective on the use of, and growth of, ALMS in public libraries in the I-J has been provided in other surveys. In 1991 Dover reported on a survey undertaken through funding from the I-J government’s Office of Arts and Libraries through the BLUR.
Questionnaires were sent to 109 public library authorities and 95 responses were analyses. Of these only 1 5 had no computer-based system in their library and some 23 had been using computers for over 15 years. The four main revive objectives identified for using computers in libraries at that time were: Better stock utilization Improved throughput Better management information Better access to services. Beat, then of the London Borough of Crayon, carried out a series of six surveys of information technology in public libraries between 1984 and 1997. Comparisons year on year though are problematic given various local government reorganizations, such as that in 1997.
Automated acquisitions were reported in 76% of the authorities and 26% (44 of the 168) were also using EDI to communicate with a range outlines the history and current state of the ALMS market using the stages through which Christian passes in Pilgrim’s Progress. The ‘delights’ to be found at the end of the Journey were described as: improvements in the user interface. He noted that many of the Alms were developed from systems of the sass and sass which had rudimentary user interfaces access to a wider range of information improved management information systems designed for end users and not library staff implementation of standards. Yeats also wrote about how the Alms of the sass reflected a conservative view of he library as a passive repository which took little account of the needs of the users and of the possibility of dynamic interaction.
However, in a study of 10 libraries from the academic, public and special sectors which had purchased library management systems in the mid-sass Murray 57 found that some of Hostilities ‘delights’ had come to pass as he noted the following: New generation Alms are more flexible (portable and easier to use, more powerful in terms of connectivity) and incorporate industry standards. New Alms are less staff intensive (in terms of support and backup). More suppliers now offer software only packages. Client/server systems and Windows-based Alms have yet to become a mandatory requirement in the procurement process. Some of the libraries had taken the views of their end users into account when having systems demonstrated. The production of management information remained an area of difficulty for some systems.
There was unanimity in the belief that Web developments in terms of software being provided by suppliers and the ability to link from the ALMS to the Internet would dominate the marketplace. Raven 58 provides a very general review of the ALMS racetrack for academic libraries in 2000 and notes that “Deciding on a new library management system has become much more difficult for universities in the UK in the last two years. The range continues to expand rapidly and if you’ve grown with your present system for the last ten years or so , change can be a frightening prospect. ” 4. Some developments in ALMS between 1991-2000 Eukaryote provides an overview of integrated ALMS towards the end of the decade in his introductory paper to a special issue of Vine on ALMS in 1999.