Breeding’s “Enterprise Mentality”

Marshall Breeding, who has been at Vanderbilt University Library since 1985, said in his morning presentation that today’s library environment is not technologically constrained—there’s ample processing, storage, and bandwidth available at affordable costs—so we can build big, scalable systems. One of his key messages was that libraries should not consider themselves as separate entities within an academic environment. “Libraries need to be well integrated within the business and content systems of the larger organization…We need to bring an enterprise mentality to computing in the academic environment.”

He said that currently there’s a very fragmented landscape of library systems vendors—a large number of companies chasing a fairly small market economy of about $525 million—and there’s been a “me-too” approach to innovation. He expects to see a new round of consolidation in the companies, which could be painful for customers in the short term, but, while resulting in fewer vendor choices, could ultimately offer better choices. He hopes to see integration strategies and efforts not only by the vendors but also by libraries. His words of advice include being proactive in letting vendors know what we need; “buy less, borrow more”; and be aware of and adapt to new media. “We stand at a critical juncture.”

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.

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