Library Systems Landscape:
Putting the Pieces Together
Open Source Options
Ontario, CA; 800-776-6939
Auto-Graphics offers a suite of modular, integrated automation and resource-sharing products including the VERSO integrated library system (ILS), SHAREit interlibrary loan (ILL) and consortial borrowing solution, SEARCHit federated search tool, and MARCit cataloging resource. Following a partnership with FastPencil, first announced in 2012, Auto-Graphics recently added COMPOSEit, which offers library patrons access to FastPencil’s book publishing engine in order to write, design, and publish books in print or digital formats.
VERSO’s customer base comprises primarily small North American libraries, but the release of Version 3.9 in early 2012 added new functionality to meet the needs of consortia and larger library systems. VERSO has since been selected by the Library Management Network consortia in Alabama, the Central Utah Collaborative ILS Project, and in July 2013 VERSO was successfully implemented as a consortial solution for 95 public libraries across Tennessee as part of an ongoing initiative of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Lund, Sweden; (011) +46 46 270 04 00
Ottawa, Ont. (for Selago Design); 312-239-0597
Axiell Group made its first foray into the North American market with the November 2013 acquisition of Ottawa, Ont.–based Selago Design, developers of the Mimsy XG logistics and collections management system used primarily by museums, galleries, and archives.
The move fit with the company’s goal of international expansion. Axiell’s March 2013 acquisition of the Netherlands-based Adlib Information Systems netted the company 1,600 new clients in 30 countries—predominantly Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, and Ireland—solidifying its position as the largest library, museum, and archive technology provider in Europe and the fifth largest in the world.
Axiell library management systems are used in more than 1,000 public libraries and 3,000 school and special libraries, primarily in northern Europe, and, in May 2013, the company announced plans to intensify its strategic focus on schools.
BiblioCore is the foundation of BiblioCommons’ suite of patron interface tools. It integrates with a library’s ILS and replaces the functions of a traditional online catalog, adding features including patron-friendly discovery tools, faceted searching, and social media functions such as user commenting and tagging. The company’s suite of tools also includes mobile apps, an events platform, an integrated online platform for managing reading programs, a content management system (CMS) for customized website development, tools for making public library resources available through school library catalogs, and a suggest-for-purchase module to track patron requests.
More than 200 public libraries in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand use BiblioCore, including prominent U.S. clients such as the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR. In 2013, the Chicago Public Library and Washington’s King County Library System also came on board. In May 2013, BiblioCommons went live with a beta version of BiblioDigital, an ebook platform that fully integrates into BiblioCore, enabling discovery and checkouts of ebooks from any vendor directly from the catalog.
Austin, TX; 877-800-5625
Austin, TX–based Biblionix offers the Apollo ILS, specifically tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized public libraries and consortia. Deployed as a hosted software as a service (SaaS), Apollo doesn’t require on-site servers; all patron and staff interfaces are fully web-based. For small libraries that have never had an ILS, the company offers Biblionix Automated Retrospective Conversion (BARC), a flat-fee service that enables those libraries to function with volunteer labor to upload their collection by simply scanning ISBN barcodes or keying in ISBNs.
In addition to standard ILS capabilities, Apollo has a robust set of features including automated text and email reminders for patrons, a mobile-friendly catalog, and free integration of public domain content, such as ebooks from Project Gutenberg and audiobooks from LibriVox.
The company has integrated with OverDrive and, more recently, Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform to enable patrons to discover and checkout ebooks and other digital content from within the Apollo catalog.
West Haven, CT; 888-900-8944
ByWater Solutions offers support for Koha, an open source ILS that is generally most popular with small and medium-sized libraries. ByWater’s services include migration support, Koha training, 24/7 tech support, and hosting solutions that enable libraries to deploy Koha without using local servers.
ByWater also offers development support for libraries that wish to customize and enhance Koha. For example, in September 2013, eight Koha libraries pooled funding to pay ByWater to bring OverDrive integration to the Koha community.
In June 2013, ByWater announced that it would begin providing hosting, installation, and support for Libki, an open source PC reservation system that integrates with the Koha ILS. In February 2014, ByWater partnered with library consulting and tech support firm the Donohue Group to develop an advanced cataloging module for Koha, featuring direct import and export of USMARC/MARCXML records, integrated Z39.50 searching, free entry of tags and subfields, support for macros, and more.
EBSCO Information Services
Ipswich, MA; 800-653-2726
EBSCO Information Services is a leading provider of research databases and offers the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) discovery layer, which indexes content from more than 20,000 journal publishers and 70,000 book publishers—providing full-text search capabilities for much of this content—and enables patrons to search their library’s entire catalog alongside other EDS content via a single search box.
Through EDS, EBSCO partners with several ILS and discovery providers including SirsiDynix’s eResource Central, Innovative Interfaces’s Encore, OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services, and many other U.S. and international library technology providers. In June 2013, EBSCO and the Kuali Foundation announced that EBSCO would work to advance discovery layer implementation with the anticipated open source Kuali OLE platform.
EBSCO regularly announces new additions to EDS, most recently 30,000 new publications from the California Digital Library in February and in December 2013 full-text content from 1976 to the present and PDFs from 1790 through the present from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Duluth, GA; 877-673-6457
Founded by the original developers of the open source Evergreen ILS, Equinox Software offers hosting, training, and development support primarily for Evergreen, as well as the open source Koha ILS.
Equinox is in the final stages of translating the Evergreen staff client into a browser-based client. In January, the company introduced a new suite of services: Idea Lab, a service that will help fund Evergreen development and offer subscribers a greater degree of input into Equinox’s development goals; AIM (active integrated maintenance), a service that will allow subscribers to prioritize bug fixes; and Sequoia, a new cloud-based platform that will offer Evergreen libraries the option of dispensing with local servers and let Equinox deliver AIM-derived bug fixes and QA releases to customers immediately.
Separately, in February, Equinox announced the version 1.0 release of FulfILLment, an open source ILL product designed to allow direct patron requests of ILL materials and reduce staff mediation of requests. The system is designed to work seamlessly with multiple ILS platforms.
Ex Libris Group
Jerusalem, Israel; 972-2-6499100;
Des Plaines, IL; 847-296-2200
More than 5,500 libraries in 90 countries around the world use Ex Libris products, which include the Primo discovery solution, the ALEPH and Voyager ILS, Rosetta digital preservation system, bX Usage-Based Services suite, SFX OpenURL link resolver, Verde electronic resource management (ERM) solution, and the DigiTool digital asset management suite.
First announced in 2011, Ex Libris Alma consolidates many of these solutions into a single, next-generation library management service (LMS) that unifies the management of print and digital resources, eliminating the need for staff to synchronize data across multiple systems. The unified environment also enables comprehensive analytics of a library’s entire collection.
Alma also features deep integration with Primo as a discovery layer and includes a Smart Fulfillment framework that presents patrons with a single place to find available resources and place requests for ILL or demand-driven acquisition purchases. Since its general release in 2012, Alma has enjoyed rapid adoption, with 170 new customers transitioning to the cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) platform in 2013.
Follett Software Company
McHenry, IL; 815-344-8700
A division of the Follett School and Library Group, the Follett Software Company (FSC) offers the Destiny family of resource management products for K–12 schools, including the Destiny Library Manager ILS and the Destiny Textbook Manager, Destiny Media Manager, and Destiny Asset Manager for districtwide inventory tracking, budgeting, and cost control of various school resources.
FSC issued two new releases of Destiny Library Manager in 2013. Destiny 11.0, released in March 2013, implements resource description and access (RDA) cataloging support. The release also expands Destiny Quest mobile app support to include Kindle Fire devices, in addition to existing Apple iOS and Android support, and has a new dashboard that allows staff to view circulation statistics, overdue notices, and holds requests in a single, user-friendly graphical representation. Destiny 11.5, released in October 2013, streamlines the discovery of ebooks with book cover images from Follett’s TitlePeek and provides enhanced integration with Follett’s Titlewave collection development and curriculum support tool.
Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
Emeryville, CA; 510-655-6200
Innovative Interface Inc. (III) offers the Millennium ILS, as well as the next-generation Sierra Library Services Platform (LSP), Encore Discovery Services Platform, SkyRiver cataloging utility, Decision Center data-driven collection management solution, and Content Pro digital asset management system, among other products. [Shortly after the publication of this article in print, it was announced that III had acquired Polaris Library Systems].
Since the Sierra LSP was first announced in 2011, it has enjoyed rapid adoption. At year-end 2013, it was deployed at 430 library systems worldwide, including many III customers that have migrated from Millennium. Sierra employs an open source PostgreSQL database and an open source Apache Lucene index. Combined with Sierra’s suite of application programming interfaces (APIs), the open architecture of the system is designed to make it easier for libraries and third-party developers to integrate new applications into the system, or to facilitate interaction with social networking sites.
In 2013, III announced integration efforts involving Encore, Sierra, OverDrive, and the 3M Cloud Library, which will enable patrons to discover, check out, and place holds on OverDrive and 3M ebooks from their library’s catalog. In January, the company announced Mobile WorkLists, optimizing paging lists for display on mobile devices.
LibLime, a division of PTFS
North Bethesda, MD; 301-654-8088
LibLime provides services, training, and development support for the LibLime Koha and LibLime Academic Koha forks of the open-source Koha ILS. Since 2010, LibLime’s variants of Koha have proceeded down a different development path from the broader Koha community, but LibLime has continued to publish its version of Koha as open source.
All instances of LibLime Koha are installed as software as a service (SaaS) in LibLime’s distributed computing cloud platform, eliminating the need for local servers. An annual subscription fee based on a library’s total bibliographic record count includes hosting, maintenance, and tech support. LibLime also offers sponsored development, enabling libraries to pay for customization and enhancements to the ILS, which later become available to other LibLime Koha users. This process has led to the development of LibLime Koha features such as patron notices by phone or email, social networking features, patron-managed holds suspension, customizable OPACs, patron reading history retention or anonymization options, support for enriched content subscriptions, and more.
The Library Corporation (TLC)
Inwood, WV; 304-229-0100
The Library Corporation (TLC) offers the Library.Solution ILS for public, academic, and special libraries; Carl.X for large libraries and consortia; and Library.Solutions for Schools for the K–12 market, each of which can be installed on local servers or hosted by TLC. Implemented at more than 4,500 libraries worldwide, Library.Solution presents patrons with a touch-screen optimized interface with tablet-friendly functionality. Modules for Carl.X and Library.Solution include the LS2pac catalog interface; LS2kids, a separate version of the OPAC designed for children; the LS2Mobile catalog interface for smartphones; and the LS2Staff and online selection and acquisition (OSA) tools for staff.
In July 2013, Baker & Taylor (B&T) announced that Library.Solution and Carl.X had become the first systems seamlessly to integrate with the B&T Axis 360 ebook and digital media platform, enabling the discovery and checkout of Axis 360 content directly from the catalog. TLC announced integration with OverDrive using OverDrive’s initial round of APIs in January 2013.
In January, TLC announced RDAExpress, a new service that converts a library’s catalog records to resource description and access (RDA) standards.
Mandarin Library Automation, Inc.
Boca Raton, FL; 800-426-7477
Mandarin Library Automation offers the Oasis/CMS cloud hosting service, a fully web-based, cloud-hosted ILS that requires no local servers and includes an integrated content management system (CMS), enabling libraries to customize their website and incorporate Mandarin ILS functionality into the site. Current modules for the CMS make it easy for libraries to manage top ten lists, a built-in events calendar, RSS feeds, slide shows, a newsstand, embedded videos, and suggested reading lists.
Mandarin also offers the M3 ILS and has been encouraging M3 customers to upgrade to Oasis for free. Both ILS solutions can be further customized with a variety of additional modules, including a serials and acquisitions module, a module for tracking and management of textbook inventory, a mobile OPAC module, a Z39.50 server module that enables a Mandarin library to be a part of a union catalog, and a MARC Magician handheld scanner solution. Recent developments include the launch of a brand-new kid’s OPAC, which incorporates reading-level-range search functions to help align materials with Common Core standards.
Dublin, OH; 614-764-6000
Members of OCLC, the Dublin, OH–based nonprofit, global cooperative, collectively produce and maintain WorldCat, a union catalog that includes the collections of more than 74,000 libraries in 170 countries. The cooperative has been increasingly involved in library automation efforts, with products including the CONTENTdm digital asset management system, EZproxy for remote user authentication for licensed content, and the WorldShare platform.
In January, OCLC launched WorldCat Discovery Services (WDS), a suite of cloud-based applications combining the functions of FirstSearch and WorldCat Local, offering subscribers access to a central index representing nearly 2,000 e-content collections. WDS enables the discovery of 1.3 billion electronic, digital, and physical resources via a single search.
In April 2013, OCLC launched Library Spotlight, a free service for members that uses data from the WorldCat Registry to make it easy for patrons to discover library location and contact information on the web. Also in April 2013, OCLC began supporting demand-driven acquisition through its WorldCat Knowledge Base.
Polaris Library Systems
Syracuse, NY; 800-272-3414
Polaris Library Systems describes its eponymous Polaris ILS for public and academic libraries as a solution offering “a truly integrated discovery experience for your community.” In addition to being the first ILS to conform to ReadersFirst principles by fully integrating with the 3M Cloud Library in 2012 and performing similar integrations with OverDrive and B&T’s Axis 360 digital content platform in 2013, Polaris has embarked on efforts that reimagine what an OPAC can help patrons discover. [Shortly after this article was published in print, it was announced that Polaris had been acquired by Innovative Interfaces Inc.]
In March 2013, Polaris went live with Community Profiles, a new add-on component that enables local organizations to create profiles, upload information, and share a calendar of events within a library’s catalog, all of which patrons can then discover alongside other resources via regular catalog searches. The OPAC also includes the Feature It discovery tool, which allows library staff to promote specific catalog items or other resources based on keywords in a patron’s search queries.
This year, Polaris will introduce LEAP, a next-generation platform that will enable librarians to use the Polaris staff client on tablets and mobile devices.
Seattle, WA; 206-336-7691
ProQuest retired the Serials Solutions brand name in January, but the company continues to support its portfolio of products including the Summon web-scale discovery service and the new, next-generation Intota cloud-based library services platform (LSP).
In November 2013, ProQuest launched the collection analytics service Intota Assessment, designed to enable academic libraries to work with print and electronic resources together, combining circulation data with qualitative information from sources including Books in Print, Resources for College Libraries, and Ulrich’s to generate dozens of reports such as cost per use, cost by subject, and peer analysis.
Intota Assessment can operate as a stand-alone collection analytics solution integrated with a library’s existing ILS, but it is just the first component of the Intota LSP, which is designed to replace the traditional ILS. The next component, the Intota E ERM (electronic resource management) and patron-driven acquisition suite, is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2014, and by the end of 2014, ProQuest hopes to have a full beta version of the Intota LSP, including financial management tools, ready for testing.
Lehi, UT; 800-288-8020
Offering the Horizon, Symphony, and Unicorn ILS platforms, as well as the Portfolio and Enterprise discovery solutions and the BookMyne mobile app, among other products, SirsiDynix has one of the largest customer bases in the field, supporting more than 23,000 library facilities in over 70 countries.
In March 2013, SirsiDynix announced BLUEcloud Suite (BCS), a next-generation library services platform that integrates Horizon, Symphony, and the company’s other products into a cloud-based architecture without requiring existing customers to migrate their databases. Most functions of BCS, including administration, cataloging, circulation, serials, analytics, and BLUEcloud PAC discovery, will be covered by existing maintenance contracts. The company has made significant investments in BCS, increasing its development staff by more than 30 percent between 2012 and 2013.
Separately, SirsiDynix launched eResource Central last year, an ERM system designed to make ebooks and other digital content from multiple vendors discoverable and accessible through Symphony and Horizon via Enterprise and Portfolio.
Blacksburg, VA; 540-557-1200
VTLS offers a full suite of automation products including the Virtua ILS; Chamo Discovery, an OPAC with integrated social media functions; VITAL, a digital asset management solution; Vorpal Solutions for Drupal design and consulting; the MozGo mobile app; and Fastrac RFID solutions.
In 2012, VTLS announced the next-generation Open Skies library services platform (LSP). VTLS’s strategy with Open Skies has been to build new functionality into its existing Virtua ILS technology and incorporate features from its suite of products into a single platform. This approach will allow existing Virtua customers to move to the new system without undergoing a database migration. Open Skies features a unified framework that enables staff to manage print and digital resources together and for patrons to discover print, digital, and subscription content together. The LSP can be deployed on local servers, as an individual system in a cloud-hosted environment, or as a cloud-hosted software as a service (SaaS). In 2013, VTLS also integrated OverDrive and 3M Cloud Library content into Chamo Discovery and its MozGo Mobile App.