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What's True of The Loop Is True of the Industry

To get from here to there at ALA it's best to take the shuttle buses

To get from here to there at ALA it’s best to take the shuttle buses

Ah, Chicago.  Hog butcher, etc., etc.  When I arrived yesterday afternoon I took a quick walk through The Loop, Chicago’s historic downtown district.  I even stepped into the old Marshall Fields department store, which reminded me a lot of the old John Wanamaker department store in my hometown of Philadelphia.  Both from the same era.  Both now owned by Macy’s. We live in a world where things seem destined to consolidate.  And expand in the process.

It’s true in the information industry, too.  Coming out on the plane yesterday–we actually took off early from  Philly and arrived early at O’Hare!–I was catching up on the last couple of days of newspapers, devouring reports about Google’s foray into the operating systems space, with a free open source platform potentially challenging MS-Windows.

At SLA a couple of weeks ago, the ITI blog team was invited to a private breakfast with ProQuest, where we were briefed on developments related to Proquest, Dialog, CSA, and Serials Solutions–now all operating under the ProQuest name.  At ALA, we’ve been invited to another (this time public) breakfast where ProQuest is going to announce its platform integration strategy. It used to be you could pigeon hole the vendors into a single category of service offerings, but more and more they are–how to say this?–becoming more and more.

Later today, I’ll be interviewing Jay Jordan, President OCLC, about recent announcements coming out of Columbus (OH), about OCLC’s ambitions to expand its offerings to what it describes as a “web scale coperative library management” system, which sounds to me as if the world’s largest cataloger wants to be an ILS vendor, too. More on that later today.

Meanwhile, it’s drizzling in Chicago, so if I were you, I’d take the shuttle bus, operated as always by Gale, now owned by Cengage Learning, down to McCormick Place.

Dick Kaser, ITI V.P., Content

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