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Magazines > Computers in Libraries > March 2004
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Vol. 24 No. 3 — March 2004
Performing Integral Functions
by Kathy Dempsey

This issue is all about Library Systems Management, which is a core competency for most of our subscribers and therefore central to CIL's mission.

Today, the buzz is around integrating systems, as in making diverse functions work together simply. Can your OPAC "talk" directly to your ILL module? Does a patron have to log in only once to perform many different tasks? As feature author Kyle Banerjee and columnist Marshall Breeding will tell you, those traits are desirable! Your systems should make it easy for users and researchers to do their work. If it's too complicated, they'll turn elsewhere to fill their information needs.

Integrating different services so they work together seamlessly is not always easy, or even possible. CIL columnist Andrew Pace just weighed in on that concept, even though he doesn't appear in this issue. To see an article that differs from those of Banerjee and Breeding, check out the Feb. 1 Library Journal cover story, where Pace writes: "Today, interoperability in library automation is more myth than reality." ("Dismantling Integrated Library Systems" is also online at

Getting back to integrated library systems, one author looks at the finer points of migrating from one to another; a task that few look forward to. But when you know what to watch out for, migration can be less harrowing. And our other feature outlines an interesting twist to choosing your next ILS—getting input from your everyday users first. Are students and faculty really qualified to help create an RFP and to test-drive demo systems? Well, aren't you trying to choose a system that they can use easily and efficiently? User input was invaluable at UCLA; it could be at your library too.

When it comes to integrating new functionality into your ILS, the next big thing is RFID. Be sure to check out our special Helping You Buy series! The first installment appears on page 19, and it explains RFID and compares products from all of the vendors that are selling to libraries today.

Kathy Dempsey, Editor

Kathleen L. Dempsey is the Editor of Computers in Libraries. Her email address is:

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