Since I'm always interested in new and forthcoming technology to share with my university students, I was delighted to be asked to visit with school library automation vendors for this article. The four vendors I spoke with—Follett, Sagebrush, Companion Corp., and Dynix—have been gracious in making time for me and in providing information for the article. (Note that I'll be speaking with another group of automation vendors for their perspectives in Part 2 of this story.)
My introduction to school library automation came in the late 1980s. The school district I worked for was attempting to select an automation system. We looked at and tried out every system available, but we did not select a system until 1994. Systems have come a long way since the MS-DOS, green screen, text-only programs of the 1980s. Today's school library automation system is pleasing to the eye, easy to operate, and capable of data management not even thought of 20 years ago.
Representatives for the four vendors interviewed for this article agreed that the library automation market is mature. The legacy systems—the older automation programs—established the basic functions expected in an automation system. These functions have become standard in all of the new generation automation systems. So what does a mature market today mean for the school library media specialist?
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