Seeking Stability

Posted On May 13 2010 by
‘Stability’ is one of those words that really depends on the context in which it is used.
The Circulation and Acquisitions components of Web-scale Management Services are getting very close to launch this summer.  “Stable” is one of those words you long to hear when dealing with software, especially new software.  I’m happy to say that things are going well.
On the other hand, stability can tend to encourage evolutionary, rather than revolutionary changes.  I was pleased to see OCLC’s endeavors in the management services space described as a revolutionary approach by Marshall Breeding.  Marshall just spoke at the SCELC Colloquium in California. His presentation can be found here (about 8 minutes into the video).
“What would it look like if we built an automation system with all new assumptions?”
-Marshall Breeding, SCELC Colloquium, 11 May 2010
Michael Dula from Pepperdine University also had a chance to speak about their experience as a pilot site and planned early adopter of the new solution.  His presentation was also streamed and can be found online here (unfortunately for the posterity of Michale’s online presence, the audio is a little rough on this one, but it gets better as it goes along, and his presentation is followed by a lively presentation on Koha and a Q&A session for both speakers).
Speaking of Koha, folks in that arena may be hoping for more stability, or at least peace among its purveyors.  If you have not been keeping up with some of the drama, a concise summary of the history and current state of things can be found over at
The last bit of news in the evolutionary ILS space belongs to SirsiDynix, which has decided to close its St. Louis and Huntsville offices in favor of centralizing operations in Provo, Utah.  While some have seen this move coming for months, it still seems like the end of an era to me.  As a DRA, then Sirsi, then SirsiDynx customer in my former life, I recall fondly visiting both of those offices and working with so many people in both places, most of whom are either long or recently gone from the SirsiDynix fold.  It’s one thing when the applications once struggled with belong to the ages, but when the physical places and faces disappear from view, it seems an entirely different thing.
The last two snippets of library vendor news are very inward-looking activities.  The team I’m working with at OCLC have made a pretty big deal about involving the membership in our development and strategic direction.  In fact, two team members just returned from library visits in NC and two others are currently in Idaho visiting pilots, and our Advisory Council continues to meet regularly both face to face and virtually.  The goal is longevity, as well as stability, on a platform that invites innovation and participation.  The evolutionary approach, on the other hand, tends to invite drama and changes that create more heat than light or more cost cutting than innovation-creating, as the case may be.
“….companies distinguish themselves through defining different futures for their library customers.”
-Marshall Breeding, SCELC Colloquium, 11 May 2010


Stability and creativity do not need to be mutually exclusive options.  Many libraries (just the right number, I hope) will be embracing OCLC’s new management services as early adopters in the next several months.  They will trade in evolutionary stagnation for a more revolutionary approach to library management.  With them, we will define a different future for libraries.

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

Written by Andrew K. Pace