Users Trump Library Vendors Again!

Users Trump Library Vendors Again!.

Everyone is (rightly) talking about Peter Rukavina's homegrown RSS feeds for what he has checked out from his library (and new DVDs).
I am overjoyed to see this, but saddened to see that once again users
are having to route around library services because we're not providing
the service ourselves (Your Honor, the prosecution submits LibraryLookup into evidence as Exhibit A).

I was going to leave the following comment on Aaron's post, but I was getting so agitated that I decided it made more sense to post it on my own site.

Rant: It's true libraries have limited resources, but they already have a vendor for their catalog, and that vendor should be the one leading the way. Libraries must
begin demanding these types of services from the vendors. It's crazy to
see users writing code to compensate for a lack of services from
library OPACs. Granted RSS has come on relatively quickly, but
companies like Innovative and Sirsi need the equivalent of Google Labs
in order to react faster to these types of disruptive technologies. If
a user can write code to produce an RSS feed from the catalog,
certainly the vendor can do even more on the backend.

This is a MAJOR wake-up call for integrated library system vendors, and libraries must
force them to follow-through on this. I realize vendors don't have
unlimited resources, but they could do a hell of a better job of
listening to their customers and tracking trends. I've been trying to
talk to Innovative about RSS feeds for MORE THAN 2 YEARS
and they have never once contacted me in response to my comments,
suggestions, or feedback. I talked about this at length with the ProQuest
reps at the Texas Library Association conference, and I never heard
back from them, either. In fact, it's embarassing to note that I've
talked to several different vendors at various conferences and NONE of
them have ever followed up with a response. That's pathetic, and I'm
calling them on the carpet about it. From now on, when I go to a
conference, I'm going to post the name of every vendor I talk to about
RSS and we'll see if any of them have so much as the courtesy to follow
up with me afterwards. I don't expect the floor reps to really get what
I'm saying, but the promise of “I'll take this back to the home office”
no longer holds any water for me without some type of follow-through.

Robert Scoble says,
“If you're in PR now and not watching what several hundred of your best
customers are saying about you you're at a severe disadvantage.” I
would expand that quote beyond just PR because there's enough going on
in the online world of pagerank, trackback, social networking, and
permanently-cached word-of-mouth to warrant tracking your brand no
matter what industry/field you are in. Compared to most sectors, the
library blogosphere is large, incestuous, and not afraid to speak its
mind. It still amazes me to think that companeis devoted to library
services don't pay attention to it.

Here's hoping they start. Soon. [The Shifted Librarian]

Leave a comment