Hello -

There is considerable ferment these days in the library
community about the shortcomings of the current generation
of opac systems.  A number of libraries are investigating
replacement discovery systems divorced from their
Integrated Library Systems (ILS), and a few have already
implemented alternatives.  Replacing an integrated opac
with an external generalized discovery system raises some
difficulties, as opacs provide functions beyond simple
bibliographic discovery.  Among the areas of difficulty

* the handling/displaying of complex non-bibliographic
library data, such as detailed serial holdings;

* providing access to highly volatile ILS transaction data,
such as circulation status;

* supporting ILS-specific patron functions, such as renewing
charged-out books;

* supporting institution-specific services, such as
requesting the delivery of books from a remote storage

The inability to provide such popular functions will inhibit
the freedom of libraries to use alternative (frequently more
modern) discovery platforms for their catalogs.

 From the standpoint of libraries it would be ideal to be able
to mix-and-match ILS and discovery platforms to suit local
needs.  To create such a rich environment the library and
vendor community will need agreement on the specific technical
details of how discovery and ILS systems are to integrate.

DLF is planning to establish a Task Group to analyze the
issues involved in integrating ILS and discovery systems, and
to create a technical proposal for how such integration should
be accomplished.  We are seeking nominations of knowledgeable
people to serve on the Task Group.  Candidates should have
analytic skills, be familiar with ILS and discovery systems,
and, ideally, have some experience in systems interoperation.
We hope to create a group that has a balance of experience
with a variety of specific ILS and discovery systems.  We
encourage both self nomination and the nomination of people
from the community you believe can contribute to this
important effort.

Because we believe the need to regularize interoperation is
immediate, we are hoping to name this Task Group within the
next several weeks, and that its work can be completed by the
end of the calendar year.  We expect most of the work of the
group to be carried out through telephone and electronic means,
although one or two face-to-face meetings may be needed.  I
have also asked a few experienced people to serve as advisers
for the Task Group, to offer help and advice as needed.

Nominations should be sent to me by June 8.

Thank you!!