Sometimes You Just Have to Start Over ends a second series of posts by Jane Burke appearing in the blog Infoviews. The message here is short and sweet, it’s time to trash the ILS, or integrated library system. The underlying argument for this bold proposal is that the ILS was fine when print collections were the library’s main concern but with our collections increasingly dominated by digital content, the ILS only does “part of the job.” Jane insists that “today, libraries don’t so much work with their ILS as around it for the majority of what they license and purchase.” And getting even more specific, she says that the “ILS does not easily or inherently manage database licenses, PDA agreements for eBooks, link resolution, or assessment of the digital materials.”
Admittedly this is a bit self serving in that Jane and Serials Solutions are promoting and trying to sell systems that claim to address these ILS shortcomings. Nonetheless, this brief article offers food for thought. Are libraries at a tipping point? Do the inefficiencies of trying to adapt the ILS to managing digital collections require exploring whole new solutions? What about the costs? Are there enough savings in staff time and in streamlined processes to justify a costly expenditure on new systems? The next few years should be a real challenge for libraries as they try to sort these issues out.
Other posts in this series include:
- Why Can’t We Keep Up?
- Why are Our Library Collections Managing Us?
- The Past vs. The Future — The Problem with Cataloging