Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

PTFS to acquire Liblime

Just heard the news that PTFS is to acquire Liblime. This is quite big news, not just for libraries already using Open Source, but also for the whole LMS sector. Liblime have over 500 libraries in the US, and PTFS’ European office is gradually building up an Open Source LMS customer base in Europe. The established LMS companies have been accused of complacency in the past, but this ought to stir them!

On whether it is good news for the OS LMS sector I’m staying on the fence for the time being. On one hand if it increases the use of OS LMS that can only be a good thing from the point of view of bringing fresh insight and ways of doing things into an LMS market which has become a little stale in some areas. However on the other hand it means that the merged company has a lot of influence over Koha, perhaps more than some people are comfortable with. There was a disagreement last year in the Koha camp about the ownership of the extra work Liblime has put in to create Enterprise Koha, and there was also a little friction with PTFS at one time as well. Hopefully these issues will be managed and Koha will continue to be developed according to user priorities. There are a few more companies emerging to support Koha at the moment such as Bywater Solutions so perhaps the risk is diminishing already.

The other thing that could be interesting is that PTFS are also licensed to support Evergreen. Supporting either Koha and Evergreen need not be exclusive, indeed a bit of cross-fertilisation could be productive. However marketing one over the other might not be such a good thing – the user should be aided to select the system which best meets her/his needs. Hopefully the new company will take this attitude, and in this case I look forward to developments!

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Libraries | , , , | 7 Comments

Google Scholar and metasearching

Interesting blog from Jonathan Rochkind this morning. Metalib currently has a target for including Google Scholar in metasearches, and as a popular resource I imagine most implementations use it. However some libraries have had problems with it, and when they pursued the problem with Google they found that Google doesn’t allow metasearching and so their controls were cutting off metasearch engines as suspected bots. Ex Libris has now put out an email to customers to make them aware of this, and so the target is now being de-activated. Presumably other metasearch suppliers will have to do the same.

Obviously Ex Libris have to take this course of action so we can’t criticise them, but it is sad that Google isn’t prepared to allow metasearching. Google Scholar has targeted education, but isn’t prepared to embrace the open-ness of the best educational resources.  I appreciate that Search is a competitive market and that metasearch is in a way a competitor, but where libraries are trying to make researchers lives simpler by cutting down the multiple resources they must consult, Google isn’t willing to help in this. Hopefully if enough people point this out they may reconsider their decision.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Libraries | , | Leave a comment