The Cloud is one the key attributes that distinguishes a library services platform (LSP) from a library management system/integrated library system . A conventional LMS/ILS may be installed in hundreds of libraries in multiple versions, on a variety of hardware using different operating systems. Each new release must be tested with all these variables and then implemented in each separate library system. This is time-consuming and takes up significant vendor and customer resources. It also militates against interoperability. Cloud computing could help break this paradigm. LSP customers are ‘tenants’ on the same ('multi-tenant') Cloud system
[From Research Information October/November 2020.]
“Libraries, like many institutions, have shifted away from local hardware and software installation and towards the access of services over the internet. The shift has been driven by the promise of both cost savings and the provision of better services. The Integrated Library System (ILS) has traditionally been the centre of a library’s technological infrastructure – integrating acquisition, cataloguing and circulation information – and these were some of the first services that libraries started to move across to the cloud around 10 years ago.
An increasingly integrated ecosystem As cloud computing has become the ‘new norm’, it has enabled an increasingly integrated system of services. As the different parts of the library ecosystem move to the cloud it becomes easier for them to connect with each other – and as more institutions move to the cloud, it becomes more financially viable for new services to be developed
Artificial intelligence As well as integration, the great swathes of data that are being collected and shared via the cloud also opens the opportunity for artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer new insights and improvements to the way services are used.”.
Libraries, the cloud and Covid-19. Remote access to a library’s resources and services has become especially important following the emergence of the new coronavirus. David Stuart. Research Information October/November 2020.
While most library system vendors offer the option of hosting ‘in the cloud’ only a few offer multi-tenant cloud systems:
“[A multi-tenant system] is essentially a single system with the multiplicity of client libraries being ‘tenants.’ These ‘clouds’ may be regional (e.g. European) in order to meet legislative requirements but, within each multi-tenant environment, there is only one copy of the application software, one operating system and one database supporting multiple organizations on a single bank of servers. The vendor only has to deploy, develop, maintain and upgrade one copy of the software. In contrast a hosted solution is much less efficient. While the hardware infrastructure may be shared the vendor still has to support a multiplicity of client systems that need to be maintained separately. The efficiency benefits to the vendor of what is in effect one single global (or at least multi-national) library system are clear.”
Library management system to library services platform. Resource management for libraries: a new perspective DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4315.3128 Ken Chad. Higher Education Library Technology (HELibTech) Briefing paper. August 2015.