Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm Tired of Hearing This From Library System Vendors:

"...our development folks have talked about...I'll let them know of your interest in such functionality and we'll consider it as potential enhancement to the system"

I was at OhioLink yesterday attending a demo of the OCLC / Illiad system. Since the presentation was by a sales rep I sent this email to Atlas after the meeting:
"As you may be well aware, a general library trend is figuring out ways to get into our customers workflow. We can no longer expect our customers to want to come into each of our silo library systems. To that end, we have been doing some pilot testing of various Google and Facebook gadgets. It makes a great deal of sense that one of the systems which we can create gadgets for is the Illiad customer interface. We would love to be able to provide our customers with an easy view of their pending requests from their iGoogle home page or their Facebook profile. We are interested in building such gadgets, which are customizable so that any Illiad licensee could modify them for their local system."

"Are their any APIs or Web Services available from Illiad/Atlas Systems which would enable us to build such gadgets for the Illiad community?"

"Exposing such services in those spaces would enable all libraries to raise the profile of the Illiad service."

The top of this post was a part of the reply I received (sigh).

Before I continue, I want to say that Illiad is a very powerful system that can save valuable staff time. The efforts that Jason Glover and Atlas Systems team have made in developing and promoting an open standard for Internet document delivery (even if as a community we continue to support a proprietary closed system as the defacto standard) are commendable.

Based on my past interactions with Atlas, part of me expected (hoped?) that they would have already thought of this. The response is unfortunate. It appears that Atlas has simply grown up into just another library system vendor, waiting until there is a large enough group requests an enhancement.

The problem is that this is exactly the kind of functionality we desperately need from our systems - today. If we are going to continue to rely upon hosted or licensed solutions we need vendors to be thinking about integration between products before we say we need them.

The reality is that by the time that a large enough group of Illiad customers realize the potential of such functionality and communicate it to Atlas, and it is developed, yet another window of opportunity will have closed behind us. Sphere: Related Content


pjb said...

Amen! I'd say, however, that this isn't just the functionality we desperately need today. It's the functionality we've desperately need for years.

Anonymous said...

From my experienec, in addition to not thinking of new innovations, Atlas isn't interested in respecting the individuality of its clients. My institution has had a hell of a time getting them to understand our needs and help us mold ILLiad into something that will REALLY work for us. When we signed on for ILLiad, we were under the impression that it was pretty darn customizable. That unfortunately hasn't been the case.