SLA Legal Division Program Accepted by David Whelan Web-based integrated library systems (ILS) are fundamental in the modern library. While many systems remain mixed, with a Web-based online public access catalog (OPAC) and a proprietary internal database frontend, more and more systems are available written entirely for Web. A program was proposed for next year’s Special Library Association meeting in Denver, and I’ll be on the panel!
I have two takes on these systems. First, they appear to enable faster development and because of Linux Apache MySQL and Perl/PHP (LAMP), open-source options are also appearing. Systems like Koha and Evergreen offer an awful lot of power and customization for not a huge amount of money [kind of like Plone!].
Second, Web-based ILS can be scaled and hosted in ways that were impossible with older systems. Some of the behemoths of ILS are still trying to get a “hosted solution” using Citrix or Terminal Server, forcing their bloated database interface through a virtual window. Better are systems like that from EOS International (a vendor I eventually selected for my own library‘s system in 2006) where both the OPAC and staff interfaces are built using a Web architecture. Unfortunately, in the case of EOS, it’s an entirely Microsoft archictecture, but it’s still a step forward.
We have already seen a substantial cost savings in outsourcing our ILS and taking advantage of a Web-based system, if not an entirely Web standards-based system. It will be interesting to see in what direction the moderators and panelists for this SLA Legal Division program go!