oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - The migration of integrated library systems with special reference to the rollout of Unicorn in the province of KZN

Volume 73, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



New technological advancements have significantly influenced the development of integrated library systems (ILS). Selecting such an integrated library system, either as an introduction or a replacement, is a complicated process that requires careful planning. However, this selection process becomes even more complicated given the fluidity of the vendor market and the continuous enhancements to integrated library systems. A more recent issue for debate in the selection process is that of 'buying' or 'building'.

The purpose of this paper is to identify, via a review of the literature, the factors that influence the selection of an ILS and the implementation of the migration process. In the context of this review of the literature, this paper discusses the migration of three institutions in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, namely ESAL, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the eThewini Municipal Library, to such systems. All three institutions have migrated from a common product in Urica to a common vendor and product in SIRSI's Unicorn. Each followed its own strategy of selection and implementation.
A growing trend is the move away from purchasing a system 'off the shelf' to building a system, using open access software, that meets the needs of a particular LIS environment. The authors make the recommendation that there should be an investigation into the possibility of developing a South African ILS product that would ensure the retention of financial resources within the country, the creation of job opportunities for local communities and the generation of local know-how and expertise in this area.

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