I’m doing some research for a paper I’m hoping to write (in the next 10 days…) and I came across this quote that I can’t help but call prescient. I’m reading Julian Everett Allgood’s 2007 article, “Serials and Multiple Versions, or the Inexorable Trend toward Work-Level Displays” (yes, it’s thrilling), and he writes,
Probably the only current players likely to be displeased with this new central catalog [his proposal, which sounds a lot like OCLC’s new web-scale management scheme] would be the ILMS vendors. Had the ILMS vendors shown the initiative necessary to provide libraries with technologically enhanced ILMS systems and OPAC displays during the last fifteen years, libraries would not still be seeking solutions to display problems endemic to the automated catalog environment.
That sounds a lot like the things I’ve been saying for the past year. I do think many ILS vendors have made strides since 2007 in the display and retrieval of bibliographic metadata, and many are starting to think about how FRBR and RDA will impact online catalogs and the underlying structure of bibliographic records. But ultimately, when we start talking about real efficiencies, and the ways in which our networked world can save libraries tons of time through collaboration, well, OCLC’s central catalog sounds like a really, really good idea. And it’s perhaps unfortunate, from a free market kind of perspective, that they are the only people effectively positioned to do something like this, but, well, who’s fault is that?
I think there’s a lot of sour grapes going on in the ILS vendor world, and it sounds like Allgood thinks so, too.