Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems in the Late 2nullth Century
145 pages • 7 x 10
This fascinating tale of the rise and fall of mini-computer-based integrated library systems (ILS) offers both an explanation of the technical workingsstill being used dailyand a historical investigation.
Integrated library systems (ILS) are taken for granted today. Yet it was not so very long ago that programmers spent evenings designing major system components on napkins and scraps of paper. How such systems were developedas products of both cooperation and competitiontells us much about how they work today.
Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems in the Late 20th Century traces the rise and fall of mini-computer-based ILS. In doing so, it offers an insider's view of the process of creation, the technical challenges, and the lasting contributions of librarians and programmers at a time when librarians and their automation needs forced computer companies to innovate.
Organized around a series of interviews with computer programmers, librarians, and salespeople, the book discusses developments from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, focusing on the 1980s when both ILS and the mini-computer were dominant. It documents the time when a small group of computing vendors joined with large libraries around the world to perfect systems that automated functions such as circulation, acquisitions, cataloging, and online public access catalogs. A concluding chapter, contributed by Louise O'Neill, brings the story up to date with a discussion of current developments in library automation, including the adoption of open-source systems, open-access principles, and the Semantic Web.