Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems in the Late 20th Century

Overview

Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems in the Late 20th Century traces the rise and fall of mini-computer-based ILS. In doing so, it offers an insider's view of the process of creation, the technical challenges, and the lasting contributions of librarians and programmers at a time when librarians and their automation needs forced computer companies to innovate.

Organized around a series of interviews with computer programmers, librarians, and ...

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Overview

Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems in the Late 20th Century traces the rise and fall of mini-computer-based ILS. In doing so, it offers an insider's view of the process of creation, the technical challenges, and the lasting contributions of librarians and programmers at a time when librarians and their automation needs forced computer companies to innovate.

Organized around a series of interviews with computer programmers, librarians, and salespeople, the book discusses developments from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, focusing on the 1980s when both ILS and the mini-computer were dominant. It documents the time when a small group of computing vendors joined with large libraries around the world to perfect systems that automated functions such as circulation, acquisitions, cataloging, and online public access catalogs. A concluding chapter, contributed by Louise O'Neill, brings the story up to date with a discussion of current developments in library automation, including the adoption of open-source systems, open-access principles, and the Semantic Web.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591587927
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 145
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Commonly Used Terms and Abbreviations xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Interviews xvii

Introduction xix

1 Origins of Magic 1

Era of Conceptualization 1

Era of Commercialization 4

Making Systems as Error Free as Possible 7

Advent of Bibliographic Utilities 7

Developing National Bibliographies 9

Programming Languages and ILS 10

Bibliographic Databases, Bibliographic Utilities, and Regional Library Consortia 10

2 Customers' Perspectives 13

A First Experience of Computing 14

User Manuals 16

Consortia Customers and Vendors 18

Burlington Public Library 18

A View from Australia 19

CLANN Goes Online 21

AUSMARC 24

Authority Files 24

MARC Records 24

Communication Lines 25

Incorporating Research Databases 26

AARNET and JANET 26

CD-ROM 27

The Customer and the ILS Vendor 27

3 At the Interface: Librarians and the Vendor Environment 35

Working Conditions 36

Being on the Road 37

Fair Warning at Hiring 38

Librarians as Trainers 39

Librarians as Project Managers 44

4 The Nature of the Vendors' Work 47

Age of Respondents 47

Education and Training of Respondents 48

Types of Work Performed 48

Job Satisfaction 49

Work Environment 50

Financial Benefits 52

Summary 54

5 On Company Time 57

Social: Cohesion and Group Identity 58

Recreation or Learning 59

6 Transformations 63

Campus Mainframes 64

Plessey Data Systems 65

Batch Mode Circulation Systems: York University 66

Geac Library Information System 72

Upgrades and Migrations 73

Requests for Information 73

The RFP Process 73

Transformations: The Technologies 76

Transformations: Technical Aspects 79

Characteristics of the Bibliographic Data 80

Small Capacities and Compact Computer Code 82

Circulation Transactions 84

Cataloguing and Authorities 85

Overnight Processing 86

Local Initiatives and a Typical Offline-Processing Cycle 86

General Indications of System Activity and Database Contents 90

RAT 40K 93

Computers and Peripherals 97

Mainframes, Minis, Superminis, and Micros 97

Data Structures and Transactions-The Case of NOTIS 99

Library Requirements, Data Representation, and Transactions 101

A Circulation Scenario 103

Accommodating Library Policies 106

Acquisitions Systems 107

7 Consolidation and Lasting Achievements 111

The Business of Library Automation 111

Changing Business Models 114

Product Maturation 117

Competition Among Vendors 117

The Age Factor 119

Advances in Computing and Information Science 121

End of an Era 122

Conclusions 125

8 The Future of Library Technology 131

Louise O'Neill

Integrated Library Systems 131

Open Source Software 132

Increased Focus on Library Users' Experience of Technology 132

Description and Discovery Tools 133

Nonlocal Information Resources and Delivery 134

Mobile and Ubiquitous Access 134

Other Library Technology Future Directions 135

Institutional and Digital Repositories and Open Access 135

Libraries as Publishers 135

Adoption and Convergence of Library and Nonlibrary Technologies 136

Future Librarians and Technology 136

Index 139

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