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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Perceptions 2018: An International Survey of Library Automation

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Selected Survey Findings: Top Performers
Apollo led in all categories for very small public libraries and for all small public libraries except for electronic resource management. Apollo has been very well received by small public libraries and the narrative comments given are overwhelmingly positive.
ByWater Solutions, received top scores for its support for Koha from mid-sized public libraries in general satisfaction, ILS support, and company loyalty. Among Small Public Libraries, ByWater Solutions received top ratings for satisfaction with managing print resources. Koha with support from ByWater Solutions also received generally positive ratings from small academic libraries, though it didn’t receive top scores. It is notable that Koha with support from ByWater Solutions has been implemented by both academic and public libraries and receives generally positive ratings in these diverse libraries contrary to the trend toward specialization by library type.
Symphony from SirsiDynix, for the second year in a row, received top scores among large public libraries and large academic libraries for customer support. It is notable that even through Symphony receives weaker marks by large academic libraries in categories related to functionality, SirsiDynix receives very positive ratings for its support services.
Polaris received top rankings among large public libraries for general satisfaction, overall functionality, print resource management, electronic resource management, and company loyalty; they ranked Innovative's support servicdes less positively.
Alma from Ex Libris continues to be evaluated as the top performer among large and mid-sized academic libraries for general ILS satisfaction, overall functionality, end effectiveness in managing electronic resources. Alma receives weaker scores for its management of print resources. For large and mid-sized academic libraries, Ex Libris received top company loyalty scores for its three products: Alma, Aleph, and Voyager.
OPALS, an open source ILS developed by MediaFlex, received highest scores in all categories among school and small academic libraries. The narrative comments voiced unanimous support for the capabilities of the software and especially for the implementation and support services.

I have posted the results the twelfth annual survey of data collected on how libraries rate their current integrated library system, the company involved, and the quality of customer support. Perceptions 2018: an international survey of library automation gives the general conclusions and presents all the statistical results derived from the survey. As usual, some of the most interesting and valuable information can be found in the comments offered by responders.

"Several themes are evident in the last few editions of the perceptions survey. Large libraries of all types have complex requirements and evaluate their systems on a much harsher scale than smaller organizations. Conventional integrated library systems dominate public libraries, with top scores going to proprietary products in the largest tier and to those based on commercially supported open source software in the mid-size category. Small and very small public libraries also favored proprietary ILS products. In the academic library sector, survey results reveal interesting patterns regarding the newer generation of library services platforms. These products received strong marks in most categories but are perceived as less capable for managing print resources than legacy ILS products. Small libraries give superlative scores--with little differentiation among question categories--to products able to meet their basic requirements without complex features they don't need."

Just as I did for the previous editions survey, I created an interactive tool for viewing the statistical summaries and comments. The main tables in the article show statistics only for those products that had more than 15 survey responses. You can use the ILS Product Report to view the statistics on any of the products mentioned in the survey and to read the comments about that system, even if the number of responses did not meet the threshold. The comments that display have been edited to remove any text that identifies the individual or institution, preserving the anonymity of the responders. The narrative data in the comments largely corroborate the statistical responses and makes for interesting reading.

Feb 11, 2019 16:59:47
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Participate in the 2018 International Library Automation Perceptions Survey

Please respond to this year's International Library Automation Survey conducted through Library Technology Guides. The survey measures the levels of satisfaction that libraries have in their strategic technology products and their perceptions of the quality of service and support that they receive. The results of this survey provide valuable information to libraries as they formulate technology strategies and to vendors as they refine their support services and product development.

The report based on the 2017 survey, with links to previous reports is available:

2015 Library Automation Survey

I am now collecting responses for the 2018 edition of the survey. Please take this opportunity to register the perceptions of the library automation system used in your library, its vendor, and the quality of support delivered. The survey also probes at considerations for migrating to new systems, involvement in discovery products, and the level of interest in open source ILS. While the numeric rating scales support the statistical results of the study, the comments offered also provide interesting insights into the current state of library automation satisfaction.

Note: If you have responded to previous editions of the survey, please give your responses again this year. By responding to the survey each year, you help identify long-term trends in the changing perceptions of these companies and products.

As with the previous versions of the survey, only one response per library is allowed and any individual can respond only for one library. These restrictions ensure that no single organization or individual can skew the statistics. While all the individuals that work in a library may have their own opinions, please respond to the extent that you can from the general experiences of your library.

How to participate

The survey links each response to the listing for a library in the libraries.org directory. This connection provides the ability to correlate responses with the extensive library demographic data in libraries.org.

  1. Find your library in libraries.org:
    Find your library:
    (hint: for public libraries, enter city or county)
  2. Select and view the listing for your library
  3. Press the button
  4. Complete the form and write in your comments!

When viewing the entry for your library in the libraries.org directory, please check for any incomplete or inaccurate information and let me know of any needed changes.

If your library isn't listed in libraries.org, please submit its information.


Nov 4, 2018 10:49:03
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Caveat and Credit

Library Technology Guides was created and is edited by Marshall Breeding. He is solely responsible for all content on this site, and for any errors it may contain. Please notify him if you find any errors or omissions. (off)

Industry News

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Full Automation News Report

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April 16, 2019. OverDrive Releases New Survey Showing Technology is Enabling Reading in More Ways in Today’s Fast-Paced World. A study released by Rakuten OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries worldwide, reveals that technology has helped Americans find more opportunities to consume books. The shift t ... <<more>>


April 16, 2019. New book aims to help school librarians become learning leaders in digital age. Education leaders Bill Bass and Shannon McClintock Miller have collaborated on a new book for K-12 school librarians designed to show them their full potential to empower their schools, students and c ... <<more>>


April 16, 2019. The Library of Virginia adopts Ex Libris Alma, Primo, and Rosetta Services to support its initiative to preserve, manage, and share historical archives. Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is pleased to announce that the Library of Virginia has selected the Ex Libris Alma library services platform for library management, the Ex Libris Primo solution for di ... <<more>>


Full Automation News Report