Today’s libraries are facing the challenges posed by a diverseand rapidly expanding information universe. Increased user expectations for faster and easier access to relevantinformation go hand in hand with institutional demands forincreased operational efficiency.
Integrated library systems (ILS) are multifunction, adaptable software applications that allow libraries tomanage, catalog and circulate their materials to patrons. In choosing ILS software, libraries must base theirdecision not only on the performance and efficiency of the system, but also on its fundamental flexibility toreadily adapt to the future demands and needs of their patrons..
- The duplication of effort to create and maintain multiple copies of bibliographic records is eliminated in an integrated system.
- Opportunities for errors are reduced when records are entered only once, and changes are automatically propagated throughout the system.
- Library staff and patrons can have access to all pertinent information at one location.
Just as important as, or perhaps more important than selecting the right system is the process of implementing that system in the library and dealing with the associated management issues. As described above, one of the main features and advantages of an integrated system is the sharing of bibliographic records among the various system modules. The single feature can have far reaching implementation for the management of the library. Some organizational changes, which have accompanied the implementation of integrated systems, include:
- New patterns of communication among library staff, especially between technical services staff and public services staff;
- Increased in responsibility and decision making among lower level staff; and
- Increased requirements for all staff to acquired technical knowledge and skills.
Many Libraries have redesigned their operations to take maximum advantage of the new technology.