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Automated and Integrated Library Systems

This version was saved 9 years ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Laura Kessler
on November 29, 2011 at 7:14:16 am

ALS & ILS Roots: Bibliography & Business Records:


1789 Paris: Constituent Assembly orders that  “appropriated” books be recorded on the backs of playing cards due to paper shortage during French Revolution

•1876 US: Handwritten bib cards become norm after Dewey Decimal System became popular 

•1901: Library of Congress sells pre-printed cards

Library business tracked by hand, before typewriters became prevalent 

•1960's: Introduction of computers in libraries brings MARC & development of Online Public Access Catalogs 

Rest of library business computerized w/ Automated Library Systems


Automated Library Systems: “Modernization Phase”


•1960's: Originally basic databases to store & access catalog 

•1970's: Some online database searching, but extremely expensive & difficult to do; Specific librarians trained to run; charged patrons 


  • CDRoms introduced w/ database information, so more accessibility; OPACS offer patron access– but still difficult to use; end to buying cards & maintaining card catalog 

  • Capable of tracking fines & usage 

  • Crude acquisition programs

  • Vendors: SirsiDynix, NOTIS (Northwestern Online Total Integration System)

  • Problems: Mainframes enormous & expensive; Librarians lost hands-on control to computers 


Integrated Library Systems: “Innovation Phase”


Computer systems now being created to handle:

  • Acquisitions & serials management/licensing
  • Reference
  • Circulation
  • OPAC
  • Library website 

Downsized from ALS’ mainframes & mini-computers to smaller servers & software loaded on PC’s

Proprietary Vendors: SirsiDynix, Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces (major consolidation in early 2000’s)


  • Increased need for more hardware, servers & disk space as added functions to ILS
  • Cost to replace aging hardware (in particular, servers)
  • Forced software upgrades by vendors
  • Contract/support fees & licensing issues
  • Lack of hardware options due to vendor requirements


Cloud Computing: "Transformation Phase” 



  • Access program through web portal, so don’t need to replace old servers, hardware, or software
  • Vendor handles patches, IT, etc.
  • Can pay by usage or monthly contract 
  • Better use of librarian’s time

Reduced fear of data loss from aging servers

Libraries can control/tailor programs

Frees librarians’ time to do other projects

Vendors: SirsiDynix, 3M, Innovative Interfaces, Amazon, OCLC’s Web-scale Management System

DuraSpace (Open Source product of 501c3 organization) offers ability to use one web-based dashboard to manage data on three different clouds


Open Source Software


Avoid vendor lock-ins

Access & ownership of data w/o restriction

Peer reviewed & rapidly evolving

Libraries tailor programs to fit needs = CONTROL back in librarians' hands

Easy-to-use Circulation features & navigation

•Librarians can manage book clubs & outreach

Better programming to manage vendor contracts, invoices, pricing, etc.

Ability for librarians to manage holds, change import batches, replace old records, etc.

Patron interfaces and management more user-friendly

Programs: LibLime’s Koha*, Georgia Pines’ Evergreen

Koha, Evergreen & Voyager cost comparison data


  • Expensive to set up if must buy hardware
  • Must pay IT person to code (unless purchase maintenance plan)







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