Welcome to the eleventh issue of the Ex Librian newsletter, by now a well established communication channel between Ex Libris and our customer community.
In recent decades, we have been witnessing processes of consolidation on many levels—geopolitical consolidation, as in the forming of the European Union; corporate mergers, extending also to the library systems industry; and even the aggregation of information, available through Web search engines for general information discovery, scholarly oriented systems such as Google Scholar, and, more recently, amalgamated repositories of scholarly materials offered by libraries, information providers, and library vendors.
On the one hand, consolidation helps organizations—even those as large as countries—to perform more efficiently and more cost effectively. It enables them to share responsibilities and tasks and often breaks down barriers between nations, people, and silos of information. It simplifies processes and creates new synergies. Yet we can also see an opposite trend, the emergence of national, cultural, and community-driven movements whose goal is to preserve and even encourage uniqueness and independence.
Ex Libris has embarked on a new, exciting route by offering Primo Central—a huge, centralized, consolidated index for scholarly materials that are of value to researchers around the world. By overcoming the challenges of remote searching in numerous information resources, on the one hand, and by sparing individual libraries from the task of harvesting large collections and maintaining immense repositories of indexes, on the other, a centralized index broadens library users’ search scope, seamlessly encompassing the wealth of the world’s scholarly materials together with the local library’s collections.
In this world of collaboration and networking, centralized indexes are sure to become a blessing for libraries and their users, though global indexes might raise a concern about the role of the individual libraries. For thousands of years, libraries have kept their focus on the specific community that they serve. Libraries have invested in fulfilling all aspects of their users’ needs—from erecting buildings and developing unique collections to designing the library branding and tailoring services to accommodate their users. In offering a huge repository of scholarly materials along with local, and sometimes unique, library collections, libraries still need to keep their own users in mind.
Our philosophy in creating the Primo Central index is to place the library and the user at the center of the research environment and to enable libraries to keep tailoring that environment and their services to their users. Not only will Primo Central subscribers continue to offer their users a locally branded look and feel and to shape the scope of available scholarly materials, but the Primo system will also help prevent the individual collection of any given library from “drowning” in the overall search scope of hundreds of millions of scholarly articles and e-books. We are building the world of knowledge around the library nucleus. We want to give you the best tools to help you carry on with your role in serving your user community, delivering the information that your members seek, and promoting individual thinking and creativity in the midst of globalization.
Matti Shem Tov
President and CEO, Ex Libris