Modular Is As Modular Does

We work with a lot of different vendors at MPOW (my place of work). Various parts of our e-resource administration and access are powered by products from Ex Libris, Serials Solutions, and III. (We are currently a development partner for Encore by III, but I can’t say any more about that or we’ll all have to spend the next few months quarantined in Emeryville, which actually sounds pretty good given today’s forecast.) We also just launched a Grokker visualization interface for some of our e-resources; you may be familiar with Grokker if your library licenses Ebsco databases.

It’s been interesting to work with all these different tools and interfaces on the one hand, and to hear talk about everything going modular on the other hand. We have a set up that works for us, but it just ain’t that easy to get all our systems talking to each other in the current environment. ILSs are from Mars, ERMs are from Venus. It’s challenging enough to get accurate information when your link resolver and the catalog it’s querying are made by the same company; start throwing other systems into the mix and everyone is likely to end up in counseling.

Everyone wants their products to integrate so that they can expand their markets; no one wants to share too much so that there’s an incentive to stand by your vendor. I’m curious to see where things are really headed.