This week I had the good fortune to participate in a Talk with Talis with Richard Wallis. I can’t quite tolerate listening to the sound of my own voice, but I hope others will give it a listen.
One of the questions he asked me was about OCLC’s use of the term ‘web-scale’ (often hyphenated as a compound adjective, and not hyphenated otherwise, but I am now erring toward hyphen consistency). Some have referred to it as synonymous with ‘the web’, however, I think there is a distinction that those more familiar with the history and state of library automation can better appreciate.
The sad truth is that most locally deployed inventory management systems are not built for massive scalability. This is partly the nature of the the age of the pre-web technology on which these systems were built, and partly the fact that a solution built to scale to hundreds or thousands of libraries was simply never within the defined scope of library management systems.
So, from the perspective of library automation, “web-scale management services” is an important distinction–as important as the cooperative nature for which the web-scale solution is built.
So, okay, that was not a very technical explanation. Never send a product manager to do an engineer’s job. Thankfully, we can turn to the inaugural post of “OCLC Engineering” to help clarify Web-scale. Thank you, Mike Teets!
In case you didn’t realize it, OCLC Engineering is not just one of a dozen OCLC blogs, covering everything from products, research, and various musings of OCLC bloggers!