Collaborative Library Systems Development
University libraries have a long tradition of sharing the information they house among themselves and of making it freely available to scholars generally. This volume extends this tradition to the modern realm of automated library systems by demonstrating how such libraries can collaborate in developing automated systems and by sharing this information with 1ibrarians at large.
The Collaborative Library Systems Development (CLSD) project was a joint venture between the Chicago, Columbia, and Stanford University libraries established in 1968 by a grant from the National Science Foundation. It was formed to provide for an exchange of working data, technical reports, and ideas concerning library automation and information transfer systems among the participating institutions and to coordinate their aims and schedules.
A casual review of the automated systems described here, which are now under development at the Chicago, Columbia and Stanford libraries, would seem to indicate that each has developed independently, without cognizance of the others. In fact, their differences are complementary and have been carefully predefined in collaboration; in effect, these differences extend the range of the study in that they allow several quite diverse methods to be subjected to common review. Since 1968, senior technical personnel responsible for systems development in each institution have worked closely together with the objective of testing the feasibility of designing and implementing a common or compatible system. Early in the effort it was established that this specific objective was unrealistic for a variety of technical and logistic reasons, and it was decided that a more achievable objective would be found at a more general design level. Even at this level is was apparent that significant differences existed in terms of philosophy, approach, and scope which could not and probably should not be resolved at this stage of library automation development.
The consensus was that the most valuable contributions that these three institutions could make would be to develop individual systems, whose special features could afterward be compared, and which would reflect different yet technically valid approaches to the solution of a common problem. Grossly stated, Stanford's approach is to make the fullest and most innovative use of the on-line, interactive potential of computer technology. At the opposite extreme, Columbia's approach emphasizes using this technology conservatively, stressing off-line, batch-oriented operations. Chicago's approach falls between these two extremes, stressing the use of batched, on-line operations against fully integrated files.
The contributions presented here describe and compare these systems. They are derived from the two CLSD conferences that have been held. All the major papers presented at the New York conference (1970) are included, as are selected papers from the Stanford conference (1968). In addition, there is a paper summarizing the CLSD experience from its inception.