Still Here

Posted On Aug 21 2007 by

No, I did not drop off the face of the planet, and I recognize that 13 days without a post is the blogospheric equivalent of digital disappearance. Vacation, followed by vacation recovery, was the cause of my absence. Summer is coming to an end. Classes at NCSU start today. My kids go back to elementary school next week. We made it through another summer. In the meantime, there have been some library automation happenings of note.

I think we made it through the entire summer season without the loss, merger, or acquisition of a single ILS entity! Some attrition at ILS giant SirsiDynix continues, but the firm did appoint a new COO. Matthew Hawkins will be responsible for the company’s Client Care, Implementation, and Consulting & Education organizations. He will be based in Provo, Utah.

A long, hot summer still has room for some acquisitions. The Berkeley Electronic Press (BePress) announced that it would be purchasing Digital Commons, a turnkey Institutional Repository (IR) solution, from ProQuest. This is not a huge surprise given the rise in IR awareness and the fact that BePress created the software in the first place.

Don’t go thinking that ProQuest is going anywhere. On one of its many other fronts, AquaBrowser (owned by Bowker, which is owned by ProQuest) announced today that it would be setting up dedicated sales and support in North America, namely New York City. And who better to lead that group than the person who led AquaBrowser sales for The Library Corporation? Jimmy Thomas, former Director of Strategic Products with TLC, will become the AquaBrowser Library Product Director, North America. Of course, this does reposition TLC’s exclusive distributorship deal with Medialab, the former owner of the AquaBrowser software. Quoting from the release:

“The Library Corporation will remain an external AquaBrowser distribution partner of Medialab in the U.S. and Canada. New AquaBrowser customers now have the choice to purchase AquaBrowser either directly through the new dedicated AquaBrowser team in the U.S., or through the proven services from The Library Corporation.”

It seems moderately odd that AquaBrowser would juxtapose its “new-ness” against TLC’s “proven-ness.” But who am I to judge? AquaBrowser has even more to be happy about with the incorporation of LibraryThing data in its interface.

Making stranger bedfellows is a deal between Care Affiliates and WebFeat for the latter to provide its library of database connectors for Index Data’s Masterkey federated search solution. This could very well be a model for open source and proprietary software collaboration, in that open source metasearch solutions have a “last mile” problem in connecting to databases for which there is no standard connection protocol. Whether the connectors themselves will now be available as open source remains to be seen.


[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]

Last Updated on: January 19th, 2024 at 12:22 am, by Andrew K. Pace

Written by Andrew K. Pace

2 responses to “Still Here

  1. Perhaps not as strange as you think. There will always be room for both proprietary and open solutions and they’ll serve libraries best if they work together, where appropriate, to meet the needs of those libraries. Your comment that this could be a model for collaboration is totally accurate and you’ll see more announcements of this type forthcoming. As for WebFeat connectors becoming open source, I think I can safely say that’s not likely but let me also say that WebFeat is an important and strategic partner in our future plans and that we intend to keep things more than interesting out there. I promise you’ll want to stay tuned…

  2. I think it is important to note the fact that the vast majority (thousands) of databases do not serve up results in a structured/parsed way. Our connectors interpret the citation text blobs returned from these databases and structure and parse these cites. This is a tremendous amount of additional programming work for the 9,000+ databases we support at WebFeat, but it provides a tremendous value add for this content. Though it’s true that I would not recommend holding your breath for open access connectors, an open access interface to the application that talks to these connectors is rapidly becoming a reality. This will enable open access applications to search just about any database, and return parsed results, regardless of whether or not the native search interface is capable of providing structured content. Our relationship with Care Affiliates and Index Data is an important first step in providing this seamless access to thousands of databases, regardless of the nature of the connection with the resource – standards-based, API, HTTP, etc.