Library Watch 因應Marshall Breeding 即將在 2014年2月21 日出席2014 圖書館科技與創新服務研討會之特邀演講 (Keynote speech)，針對圖書館自動化趨勢與系統發展、經營lib-web-cats與 Library Technology Guides 網站的起緣與對圖書資訊產業的綜觀進行專訪。
Library Watch: 您可以告訴我們 lib-web-cats 網站建立的緣由與歷史? 是怎麼樣的原因讓您開始建立此網站? 您想要達成的目標與原本的目的為何?
我原本建立 lib-web-cats 圖書館自動化資訊資料庫的原因與之後建立 Library Technology Guides 網站蒐集圖書館自動化產業相關資源的起源回朔至 1995 年，當初想要針對圖書館自動化系統有更清楚的瞭解。之所以會選擇 [lib-web-cats] 的名稱是因為當時由Peter Scott 所建立的線上圖書館名錄 Web-Cats 與 Thomas Dowling 建立的 Libweb 網站。既然我的名錄蒐集圖書館的網站與其線上公用目錄與更多圖書館相關的資訊，lib-web-cats 的名稱因應而生。
2010年1月我在 lib-web-cats 名錄上擴充了地圖查找的應用，利用 Google 地圖的API 顯示圖書館的地理位置、地理座標等資訊。資料從原本的幾百個圖書館擴增到超過 150,000 則統計資料。透過 lib-web-cats 中不同圖書館自動化系統的更迭可看到最近圖書資訊產業的歷史與現況。
Library Technology Guides 建立於 1999年，網站提供了多樣化產業的內容與資料庫，除了包括各圖書館的名錄 (lib-web-cats)之外，還包含了將近 10,000 則圖資業界所公布的最新訊息、他人以及我所寫的全文文章、報告與其他跟圖資產業技術相關的資訊。還有包括圖資公司與其產品的介紹的資料庫。Library Technology Guides 也提供了圖資產品的技術資訊架構與對此產業的趨勢圖表，例如圖書館自動化系統的營業額報告 (ILS Turnover report) 就呈現了每年圖書館選機或更換圖書館自動化系統的統計數據與清單，並提供了完整的報告。
我建立 Library Technology Guides 的原始目的在於強化我自己對產業的研究以及將資訊更廣泛的傳播給更廣的圖資社群。我發現有許多圖書館透過此網站找尋到更多的當地圖書館。圖書館也會利用此網站去調查新的圖書館自動化系統、發現探索系統服務或是其他的自動化模組與功能。圖資產業企業會使用此網站去辨識圖書館是否對企業所提供的產品與服務感興趣。對圖書資訊學校的學生來說，網站也提供了自動化系統相關的學習資源。
在網站中有[我的帳戶]的功能，可允許使用者建立自己的興趣檔並定期的接收網站的最新資訊、更新圖書館名錄與其它的功能。會員可以註冊並選擇是否要每日、每周或每月收到最新消息。目前網站已累積了 30,000 個會員訂閱電子報。會員也可以更新圖書館名錄的正確性以及針對圖書館問卷調查做出反應與回饋。
在網站中可利用網誌的功能管理 GuidePosts ，並能夠支援其他網站的網誌。網站的其他功能還包括可以透過 lib-web-cats 圖書館名錄中各圖書館所使用的自動化系統、發現探索服務與連結解析器進行問卷調查。
為了更有效的管理不同的資料，我也針對此網站開發與強化應用軟體。Library Technology Guides 後端的資料庫是 MySQL ，並開發了將近 700 隻 perl 程式並利用 ODBC 存取資料庫，提供了前端使用者檢索與產生報表、資源設定，建立與更新的功能。
建立 Library Technology Guides 的目標在於能夠儘可能地提供使用者有關於圖書館與其相關資訊科技產品相關的資源，雖然好像此目標不太容易輕易達成，但在圖資領域中，Library Technology Guides 網站已經證明確實是有價值的且為領域中普遍被認同且感興趣的網站。
Library Watch: 您可以跟我們的讀者分享您對圖書館的個人看法嗎? 為何圖書館能夠吸引您的注意力並能夠持續投入此專業領域呢??
我一直相信圖書館在社會與其所服務的各個社區中是一個非常重要的機構。我很幸運地在我個人的職業生涯中經歷了許多不同的工作經驗，並看到了許多人對此產業的積極與其貢獻。除了在 Vanderbilt 大學工作了 27 年的經驗之外，我在全世界不同類型、大小的圖書館擔任顧問，透過演講與研討會與世界各地的圖書館員進行交流分享與互動。除了這個工作之外，我不能想像有其他更有趣與更有價值的職業領域。
Library Watch: 根據您過去30 年對圖資產業的觀察，您可以舉出影響圖書館的前五大事件或是技術嗎? 另一方面，您可以舉出哪五項技術或趨勢未能發揮其該有的影響力?
CD-ROM 的技術與系統提供了許多紙本印刷型索引與參考工具可以利用電子化的方式散布，並提供讀者新的檢索與搜尋的工具。我之前的專業在於如何在圖書館中利用網路科技的技術讓圖書館的使用者可以透過終端機使用光碟資料庫。因 CD-ROM 擁有存儲能力與可分散性，CD-ROM 在圖資技術中的重要性是明確的。
網際網路的興起可能是對圖資領域最具影響及革命性的技術。透過網際網路，可以取代早期利用 CD-ROM 儲存的資料庫。因為網際網路的興起，早期的 Gopher, Wais 技術迅速的黯然失色。幾乎所有的有關於圖書館技術資訊的發展都奠基於網際網路相關技術。
雲端計算被列為近期對圖書館影響極大的資訊技術，透過此技術可增加圖書館的營運效率以及讓共享資源協作平台的執行超越了之前的模式。另外，以服務導向的架構技術發展也是重要的資訊技術。透過 API 應用程式的擴展可讓圖書館整合異質系統，透過軟體技術將資源整合與串接並達到使用的期望與要求。
Q1. Can you tell us more about the history of the website? What inspired you to start the website? What is your goal and original purpose?
Marshall:I originally created lib-web-cats as a database of libraries and later built Library Technology Guides as a resource combines a variety of databases to capture many aspects of the library automation industry. I am not aware of another resource that provides more information about the realm of library technologies.
I created the lib-web-cats database of libraries beginning in about 1995 as part of my research to better understand the automation systems used in libraries. I picked the name lib-web-cats since at the time other on-line library directories included Web-Cats developed by Peter Scott that focused on library catalogs and Libweb created by Thomas Dowling that listed their Web sites. Since my directory would track both the Web sites and catalogs of libraries, in addition to many other details, I came up with the name lib-web-cats. In January 2010 I enhanced lib-web-cats with map capabilities, extending entries to include geographic coordinates and using the Google Map API to display library locations, either individually or collectively according to any grouping. What started as a database of a few hundred libraries has grown into a resource of over 150,000 entries that include data regarding the demographic and statistical details of the library and the sequence of automation products employed. Lib-web-cats documents much of the ebb and flow of the different automation systems that have risen and declined over the recent phases of the history of the industry.
Library Technology Guides has been available since 1999. The site provides a variety of different types of databases and documents within a cohesive content management environment. In addition to the lib-web-cats directory of libraries, it includes a repository of documents and citations that consists of almost 10,000 press announcements made by the organizations in the industry, full-text of articles written by myself and others in the field, reports, and other information related to the realm of library technologies. Another databases track details of the companies the produce technology products.
Library Technology Guides also provides a technical infrastructure to produce reports, lists, and graphs that describe trends in the industry. Examples include the ILS Turnover report that presents statistics and lists of the automation systems selected by libraries in a given year and the products that were replaced. A complementary report is organized the systems that were replaced and lists the new system selected.
I created Library Technology Guides as a repository of data related to my own research and to disseminate information to the broader community. The site finds a very high level of use from the general public when they search the Web to find their local library. Libraries make use of the site for assistance when they are investigating new automation systems, discovery services, or other automation components. Companies use the site to identify libraries that might be interested in their products and services. The site is often used by library school students and others interested in learning more about automation systems.
A MyAccount feature allows users to create profiles to request periodic distributions of news from the site, to contribute updates to library entries, and other features. Members that register on the site can opt to receive news summaries by e-mail daily, weekly, or monthly. Currently monthly news summaries are distributed to over 30,000 members. Those that want to keep their own library’s entry up to date can take advantage of the portfolio feature of the site to easily access those records for updates and to respond to surveys.
A blogging module manages my GuidePosts blog and is able to support blogs by other site participants. Other features include the ability to develop surveys, linked to entries in lib-web-cats that I have conducted on topics related to automation systems, discovery services, and link resolvers.
In addition to managing the various data stores, I have developed it’s the software that powers the site. Library Technology Guides is based on a content management framework that I created in Perl that operates using ODBC as a connectivity layer with the MySQL open source relational database. Around 700 different perl programs are employed to deliver the user interface, reports, and data processing routines. The framework provides a common set of routines used for search and retrieval, resource configuration, record creation and editing, and end-use presentation.
The goal of Library Technology Guides is to capture as much data as possible about libraries and the technology products they use. Though an impossible goal to achieve, the site has proven to be an interesting and valuable resource to those interested in the field.
Q2. Can you share with our readers about your personal feeling toward libraries. Why libraries attract your attentions and why do you stay with the profession for such a long time?
Marshall: I believe that libraries are vital institutions for society in general and for the individual communities they serve. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many different libraries over course of my career and to see first-hand the positive contributions they make. In addition to working at Vanderbilt University for 27 years, I have worked as a consultant for libraries of almost all sizes, types, and geographic locations. Speaking invitations have provided opportunities to see libraries and interact with librarians all around the world. I can’t imagine a more interesting and rewarding career.
Q3: As an observer of the Library Technology for the past 30 years, can you name the TOP 5 events or technology that made the most impact for the libraries. Similarly, can you name the TOP 5 technology or trends that failed to make real impact?
Marshall: I see many success stories in the history of library automation as I have seen it play out over the course of my career.
Going back in to the earlier part of my career, I think that the automating of libraries through integrated library systems was truly transformational. Prior to that time, libraries spent tremendous amounts of time on routine tasks such as checking out materials, preparing overdue notices, and related tasks. Taking advantage of computers to automate these activities gave them considerably more control over their collections and allowed them to channel their efforts on more meaningful activities.
CD-ROM based systems provided another advancement, enabling many printed indexes and other reference tools to be distributed electronically and to provide new search and retrieval capabilities for patrons that eliminated much of the tedium in literature searches for library users. One of my early areas of specialization included developing networks that enabled a library’s collection of CD-ROM products to be shared among all the computers in a library. Yet CD-ROM was ultimately doomed as the basis for library information systems due to its modest storage capacities and need for physical distribution.
The advent of the Web might be the most transformative technology event of all for libraries. The Web quickly supplanted earlier information distribution technologies such as CD-ROM. Other Internet-based services such as Internet Gopher, and Wais which had begun take hold, were rapidly eclipsed. Almost all subsequent developments in technologies relevant to libraries have built on the foundation of the Web and its rapidly evolving suite of related technologies.
Cloud computing ranks as a recent technology with major significance for libraries. It enables a new level of operational efficiency and collaborative resource sharing with much more potential than previous deployment models. I would also consider the service-oriented architecture as an key related technology. The ability to extend functionality and enable interoperability among related systems through APIs has great potential to enable libraries to craft their technology infrastructure to meet their local expectations or requirements.
There have also been a few technologies that have not lived up to their expected potential. Examples might include:
*Metasearch technologies, that attempted to provide unified search services by distributing queries among multiple information targets. This approach has been supplanted by Web-scale index-based discovery services.
*Products that attempted to manage a library’s electronic resources on a separate platform independent of the library’s core automation systems. The genre of electronic resource management systems never took off. Treating these materials within comprehensive resource management approach of library services platforms has great potential.