Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Elsiever sells Endeavor

In case you haven't heard by now Francisco Partners which recently bought Ex Libris, has now also purchased Endeavor. Company press releases can be found here: Endeavor, Ex Libris.

If corporate PR is not your thing you may want to read this blog entry from American Libraries columnist Andrew Pace (at NC St Univ.) or this blog entry from former Endeavor employee (and former Taylor systems librarian) Steve Oberg.

Some thoughts. The new company which I believe will be called Ex Libris will be the 2nd biggest ILS vendor after Sirsi/Dynix. The merger may be good for Rolfing since it seemed obvious that Elsevier wasn't all that interested in enhancing some of the basic Voyager functionality that we use everyday. Perhaps the new Ex Libris will prove more dedicated to basic functionality. I believe that the general consensus is that Ex Libris' digital products are superior to Endeavor's.

On the other hand this may also be a sign that developing library software is not a financially rewarding undertaking and thus the days of the traditional ILS vendor may be numbered. A couple of big questions that I think will be discussed are: Do libraries need unique software or can we use software that is already being used in the corporate world to accomplish our jobs. Think for example of how NC St is using Endeca for their OPAC. I have also read of libraries at least thinking about using corporate purchasing and accounting software instead of ILS acquisitions modules.

Another trend to definitely watch is the move towards open source library software. Check out this website for the new open source library software that has come out of the Georgia Evergreen project. I hear that a University library south of Chicago is contemplating using open source library software. We may all discover that the ILS vendors can not develop features as fast as Amazon (or the Library Thing) and even if they could we couldn't pay for them. Developing software collectively (much as we catalog collectively) may be the way forward.


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