Mark Allcock, Products & Services Portfolio Manager at Axiell:
I am delighted to have this opportunity to outline Axiell’s thinking about how we approach the challenges we have seen in 2016 and 2017 and what we see coming in the future.
Axiell’s new move to One Axiell, combining our ALM and Public Library offers into one, represents an innovative response to the needs of the UK’s “cultural” customers. I’m not sure if people think in silos defined by object type – books here, objects there, events over there – or by subjects and needs – I need support for my new business idea, I need a place to entertain my toddler, I need research support, to name a few.
The continued pressure on budgets – our host city Nottingham are advertising an 84% decrease in central government funding for 2017 – coupled with a competitive market place for knowledge (Wikipedia, Google, Amazon) and libraries’ offer to a millennial generation fragmented across 208 local authorities in the UK – plus the rise in mobile devices usage, means that libraries, museums and archives have to break down those supply side silos and present their “offer” in ways that meet the needs of the consumer.
Moreover, the rise in “fake news” demands a broad response from us all to provide wide access to information, content and things by which any of us can come to our own informed decisions. But making access to that content, physical or virtual, as seamless as possible is critical. The success of Amazon, Google and Wikipedia and the other platforms is built on making the access as frictionless as possible.
What have I seen this year that indicates libraries are adapting to these challenges?
- A continued willingness to cooperate – as evidenced by the JISC Single Sign On pilot.
- A shift in attitudes towards income generation – still a sensitive topic for some, but for others income generation is clearly a critical part of their strategic planning.
- The opportunity to leverage new technology more quickly than ever before – as evidenced by the continued adoption of open libraries technology, of which Axiell has been a forerunner. Again, this is a sensitive issue – the impact on library staff on one side vs closing libraries and failing to meet borrowers’ needs on the other.
…so our approach is to:
…so as to make using an LMS as secure and flexible as possible and something that can be taught to a volunteer with the minimum of input – recognising that switching costs of LMS systems are largely tied to training costs.
Spark is maturing as a product all the time, thanks in large part an agile development methodology and testing from key customers. Find out more about Axiell Spark.
…as widely as possible. Our view is that libraries need to account for their performance more than ever, but also need to focus their offer where it is needed most. But pragmatically – using analytical tools that are easy to use, comprehensive in data coverage, up to date and value for money. Find out more about Axiell Trend.
Invest in Quria
Our flagship platform which will redefine how libraries manage all of their capacities in the 21st century. We have been greatly encouraged by the response from our current customers and non Axiell libraries who have tested Quria. We aim to have a pilot site in the UK in 2017. Find out more about Quria.
Support and enhance the Solus partnership
Responding to the migration of internet traffic from PC to mobile we will continue to invest in this relationship. More on the Solus App.
Get the message over about Arena, eHUB and Axiell Content
Access to e-content is still a major issue for all of our customers, and their users. eHUB has matured over 2016 and we will add new partners to the product in 2017. It is still a unique solution, aggregating Overdrive, Askews, 1CD, Ulverscroft, Bolinda and Zinio (with Arena 3.2) into a single search alongside the library catalogue, and not taking the user to another interface to read the book (with the exception of Bolinda), and reporting all the users’ transactions in one place in Galaxy, or Trend.
Axiell Content takes Axiell into the content space too, offering 3 purchase options from our Axiell Content Marketplace, a mobile app for users on the go, and a compelling eBook Club enabling libraries to offer a virtual book club as a way to really motivate users to use eBook content. We are looking for early adopters to help us build out this offer in 2017. More on Axiell Content.
All of this shows, I hope, a continued commitment to all UK public libraries, our customers, their patrons and the market as a whole.
We really look forward to sharing this vision with you at the User Conference on 3rd May in Oxford, where I do hope to see as many of you as possible.