圖書館自動化系統是圖書館業務管理的核心資訊系統，亦為圖書館維持館務運作與提供讀者服務的系統。因此，圖書館每年投資於購置/更換圖書館自動化系統或系統與服務的維護費用占了圖書館資訊系統經費運作之絕大部分，成為圖書館投資最多的資訊管理系統。自 2007 年開始，知名國際圖書館資訊科技與應用專家Marshall Breeding 即開始針對全球圖書館進行整合圖書館系統 (Integrated Library System , ILS)問卷調查，透過資訊系統使用者使用的角度進行圖書館自動化系統的評估，透過系統功能、系統處理紙本資源與電子資源的支援程度、對產品廠商/代理商的客戶服務滿意度等分析全球圖書館自動化系統的使用。圖書館亦可透過填寫問卷的過程查看使用相同系統圖書館的系統使用情形並思考與反饋如何進行圖書館自動化系統的策略規劃，面對網路化、數位化、web 2.0 化與行動化等多重趨勢下，善用與加值圖書資訊系統，以前瞻、開創並整合的精神迎頭趕上全球化資訊系統趨勢。會思考的圖書館自動化系統，激發使用者進行系統思考(Systems Thinking)。
另一方面，Marshall 也希望透過問卷調查探索圖書館對開放性原始碼圖書館自動化系統的使用者意見與亞洲地區圖書館界的回饋。圖書館自動化系統建置與導入使用情形因應國情、語言處理方式不同會有不同面向的思考與評估。透過以【使用者滿意】為經，【系統使用】為緯兩個角度發現全球圖書館自動化的系統評估報告。圖書館可透過 libraries.org 查詢國別或圖書館名稱後即可在該圖書館的資訊頁面填寫問卷。
An International Survey of Library Automation
Libraries make major investments in strategic automation products, both during the initial implementation period and in annual fees paid for support, software maintenance, and other services. They depend on these products for efficient management of their daily operations and to provide access to their collections and services. Marshall Breeding, through his Library Technology Guides site, is conducting a survey to gather data regarding the experiences that libraries have with their strategic automation product. The report produced from the analysis of the responses serves as a resource to assist libraries in understanding the acceptance of the products available and the satisfaction levels of the organizations that develop and support those products. Libraries benefit from the perceptions of their peers regarding the quality of automation systems and of the performance of those organizations as they consider their own automation strategies.
Libraries in immediate need of replacing their current system, or in the process of making longer term technology strategies, appreciate having information from a variety of sources as they assess options. Technical documentation, marketing materials, product demonstrations, product vision statements and functionality checklists represent some sources of information to help libraries evaluate automation products. The vendor community naturally provides information and materials that presents their products in positive terms.
Another important avenue of investigation involves data from libraries with first-hand experience of the products and vendors. The International Survey of Library Automation aims to measure the perceptions libraries hold regarding their current automation products, the companies that support them and to capture their intentions about future migration options. It also explores interest in open source library automation systems, a key issue for the industry. This survey has been conducted every year since 2007. As libraries consider a product, they can examine both recent and historic data.
The results of each annual survey are published on Library Technology Guides. (http://librarytechnology.org/web/breeding/AutomationSurvey/) The reports provide statistical summaries of the responses to each of the questions. Since libraries of different sizes and types face unique challenges, the survey results are reported in many different categories. The report for each year’s survey also provides an interactive tool that allows readers to view responses by their own selections of library size, type, and product.
In recent years the survey has received responses from over 3,000 individuals. Each survey response is tied to a library profile entry in the libraries.org directory. This link enables the survey to benefit from additional information about each library, such as its type, collection size, geographic area, and other details. In order to ensure that no library or individual can skew the results, only one response per library is allowed. Given this high response rate, the survey is able to aggregate the subjective experience of many libraries to produce meaningful results, which can be considered as reasonably informative about the collective experience of libraries in regard to any given product or company.
Libraries in Asia have not been well represented in previous editions of the survey. Since the survey is international in scope, we are interested in better representation of the region this year. In 2013, the survey received 3,003 responses from libraries in 53 different countries. It is important to understand how well each of the automation products performs relative to the language, automation practices, and other factors that vary in each country. Please consider taking a few minutes to respond to this year’s library automation survey.