South Dakota Library Network to switch software The South Dakota Board of Regents May 9 approved a contract for installing new software to improve the South Dakota Library Network's (SDLN's) operation, replacing an outdated system. The Regents operate the library network on behalf of member libraries across the state.
The system's $1.3 million cost will be covered by a $500,000 federal grant, along with user fees paid by the libraries.
"Anticipating the need for new system software, SDLN member libraries already set aside about $800,000 in reserve for the purchase," said Regents' Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. Perry said the $1.3 million price tag includes software, hardware, training, and implementation services.
The new software comes from Ex Libris, a worldwide supplier of software solutions and related services for libraries and information centers. The company's flagship product, ALEPH 500, is a market leader in the field of library automation for higher education, as well as for public, national, and research libraries, consortia and national networks, and large corporations.
The existing software, known as PALS (Project for Automated Library Systems), was developed by Minnesota State University-Mankato in the 1980s and distributed internationally. In 1997, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated funds for a new statewide Integrated Library System. Ex Libris was the product chosen and implementation already in progress. Minnesota State College and University System will provide limited support for the PALS system through summer 2004.
Librarians and instructional technology staff across South Dakota reviewed several software packages to come up with a recommendation. By an overwhelming margin, Ex Libris was chosen by the SDLN Advisory Council. Its benefits include:
* A state-of-the-art integrated library system with support and ongoing development.
* Enhanced Web-based services.
* Integration of the traditional card catalog with electronic resources, and;
* Continuation of SDLN's philosophy to facilitate sharing of resources among libraries statewide.
"This is a necessary move," said Regents' Information Systems Director Warren Wilson. "By migrating to the new software, we remain in step with surrounding states. Minnesota made the move to Ex Libris and North Dakota will soon replace its current software with Ex Libris." South Dakota's migration to the new software system is expected to be complete by summer 2004.