On the Clarifying of a Few Things
Two kinds of responses have come in so far on my recent post on "The problem with the 'ILS Bill of Rights'".
- "Right on!"
- "You seem to think change is easy, and I can't do anything about it anyway, and it wasn't my fault to begin with."
Just to review a few things for those choosing door #2: Google et al. has recently handed us our collective hat. Agreed? Check.
Your ILS/OPAC is the centerpiece of your business. It's the primary way your community interacts with the collections you provide. Not the only way, but, still, in 2006, the primary way. Agreed? Check.
Your ILS/OPAC is failing to serve that community adequately. (You already said that. :)
So the centerpiece of your business is failing.
Hence, your business is failing (cf. hat-having-been-handed-to-us agreement above).
If your business is failing, and you care to save it, which of these responses are responses you'd be proud to be quoted on:
- "It wasn't my decision to begin with."
- "Migrating data is hard."
- "It will take a lot of convincing people, and that's hard."
- "I can't do anything about it anyway."
Not a keeper in the bunch, eh?
If you read the best literature on the best business practices (right now I'm in the middle of _Built to Last_, which is worth your time) you'll see it's full of companies whose hats had been handed to them in one way or another. But because they chose to find new ways forward, as difficult and long a road as those might have been, and stuck to their core principles, they came out on top in the long run.
I'm not saying it's easy, or that Evergreen is the answer to your problems, or that in your position it should be easy to make changes. I'm saying that if you feel changes need to be made, you have options, so stop complaining, and get on with it already.
Do you think it was easy for the State of Georgia (for peaches' sake!) to decide to go local? And how lucky they were to find a handful of gifted hackers to make it all work? It took a hell of a lot of convincing, and a lot of overcoming of doubt, and good timing. The stars eventually aligned and now they've gone forward in a way that appears headed toward success (heck, they might fail, but they might not!). Maybe the key people behind this decision -- the folks who dreamed up the new plan however many years ago it was -- realized early on just how hard it was going to be, and what the risks would be, and how long it would take.
But then they up and did it. Wow!
So what I'm saying is this: you can do it too. It has to start somewhere, in any case, so why *not* with you?
Heck... wouldn't it be interesting to hand Google *its* hat for a change?