Another big ILS vendor merger made the rounds on library discussion lists today. Francisco Partners, owners of ExLibris, announced that they purchased Endeavor Information Systems from Elsevier. Francisco will merge Endeavor with ExLibris to create one of the industry’s leading ILS vendors. I’m not with either one of these systems so I can’t provide much insight into what factors brought about the merger, or how it’s likely to impact on the library profession (if any of our readers would like to provide details or insights please leave a comment).
I had heard some talk that Endeavor was having some financial struggles and that it was hampering development efforts, but I don’t know that for certain. I imagine that what’s in it for ExLibris is picking up all of the Endeavor customers. They’ll either go with ExLibris or start the long and sometimes painful migration process with another company – and for academic libraries the choices are starting to get awfully thin. If you don’t like ExLibris you can take either Sirsi-Dynix or Innovative. Sounds like the winners here are Endeavor customers because if they’ve been unhappy with Voyager they may find greener grass with ExLibris, a vendor that’s been aggressively developing new products. The losers, I guess, are all libraries since this industry consolidation is reducing the choices we have. We’ll have to wait and see if consolidation leads to more competitive pricing and a drive to improve the products.
The big money question is “will any of this lead the ILS vendors to make a better OPAC?” It’s ironic that with all this manuevering in the ILS industry, that The Charleston Advisor gave the library OPAC its “Vaporware/Lemon Award” in their Sixth Annual Readers Choice Awards. They wrote:
The Library OPAC- The traditional library catalog has never seemed so constrained and old fashioned. It is the most expensive piece of software typically licensed by a library and yet is shackled in its frequent limitations.
Not very encouraging is it.