Here is Marshall Breeding‘s 2009 summary of his latests “International Survey of Library Automation ”…regarding the perceptions of libraries toward their automation systems, the organizations that provide support, and the quality of support they receive. It also aims to gauge interest in open source library automation systems”…
Most Positive Perceptions
Polaris emerged this year as the ILS product with the highest positive ratings in the categories of product and company satisfaction. Libraries using AGent VERSO from Auto-Graphics gave the highest rankings for customer support and loyalty to the company for future business. Library.Solution from The Library Corporation received highly positive marks from its customer libraries in all categories. Libraries using Polaris, AGent VERSO, and Library.Solution showed the least interest in open source ILS products. These three companies received extremely high satisfaction ratings from their libraries, with average scores separated by very thin margins.
The survey results reveal high levels of dissatisfaction by libraries running legacy ILS products. Athena and Winnebago Spectrum, both systems acquired by Follett Software Company that will not receive ongoing development, received the lowest ILS satisfaction scores and indicated the least likelihood that they would purchase an ILS in the future from this company. Libraries using Dynix gave low marks regarding their satisfaction with the product (5.14) and for SirsiDynix as a company (4.81), but rated support more moderately (5.76). Horizon libraries gave SirsiDynix very low marks as a company (4.32) but registered moderate satisfaction for the product itself (5.68).
The number of negative comments provided on the survey forms overwhelmingly exceeded positive ones.
Polaris ranked as the product that received the highest score in response to the question probing satisfaction with the library’s Integrated Library System with a median rating of 7.73. Fifty-one libraries using Polaris responded to this question. Last year a total of 59 responders rated Polaris 7.78, reflecting remarkable consistency across the two years. AGent VERSO earned second highest marks in this category (7.26), with Library.Solution from The Library Corporation only a fraction lower (7.20). Millennium from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. also attracted highly positive ratings (7.09).
Polaris Library Systems also won the highest score for company satisfaction (7.76) with Auto-Graphics (7.68) and The Library Corporation (7.33) only slightly less favored. Libraries using Millennium gave Innovative Interfaces solidly positive ratings (6.44), though a notch below the top three companies. Libraries using legacy products not surprisingly noted their vendors as least satisfactory, including those using Athena (3.92), Horizon (4.32), Winnebago Spectrum (4.52), and Dynix (4.81). The middle tier of company satisfaction included those using Koha supported by LibLime (5.84), Virtua from VTLS (5.79), Voyager (5.59) and ALEPH 500 (5.20) from Ex Libris, and Unicorn from SirsiDynix (5.05).
Satisfaction with Customer Support
Libraries using AGent VERSO rated Auto-Graphics as the company providing the most satisfactory support (7.81). Polaris (7.41) and The Library Corporation (7.07) also earned highly positive ratings for customer support, just below that of Auto-Graphics. Innovative received strong marks in this category (6.46), though again just a notch below the top tier. Users of Athena (3.63) and Winnebago Spectrum (4.57) gave Follett low ratings for support.
In response to the question probing the likelihood that the library would purchase future ILS products from their current vendor, Auto-Graphics received the highest marks for customer loyalty (7.64) only slightly edging above The Library Corporation (7.50) and Polaris Library Systems (7.33). Libraries using Millennium gave mixed results, but overall indicated strong loyalty to Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (6.54). Libraries using Athena (4.32), Winnebago Spectrum (3.95), and Horizon (4.37) seem on average not inclined to purchase their next system from their incumbent vendors.
Open Source Perceptions
It’s not surprising that the libraries already using an open source ILS registered the strongest interest in future consideration of an open source ILS, with Koha as supported by LibLime toping the list (8.05). Other than these open source true believers, libraries running proprietary systems submitted responses reflecting much lower interest, with even those most dissatisfied with their current product such as Winnebago Spectrum (4.95) indicated relatively weak interest. We also observe that libraries most satisfied with their current situation, including Polaris (2.29), AGent VERSO (2.63), Library.Solution (3.00) showed little interest in open source alternatives…”