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Purchasing an ILS (Part 2): Identify your current resources

What are resources? The first resource that will likely come to mind will be budget, but resources also include the human and technological resources required to get this system off of the ground.


It goes without saying that your allocate budget will significantly influence your decision. Get a clear idea of what you’re working with beforehand; there is little point in speaking with a vendor that sells a system with a price tag that far exceeds your budget. Some solid and affordable systems are out there, so don’t worry…there’s a system for your library.


Human resources and technological resources are connected.

Hosting the system yourself: Most ILSes are databases, so if you intend to host the system yourself, you’ll require a database server. To provide public access to your catalogue via an OPAC, you’ll need a web server and an Internet connection. So, in addition to your software purchase (your ILS), you could also be looking at hardware purchases. 

On the human resources’ side, you’ll need to learn about the hardware you’ll be implementing and ensure its proper configuration, or hire a technical services consultant to assist you during this process. Vendors will also assist with the initial installation, configuration and support, but ongoing maintenance would likely become your responsibility. 

Hosted option: If you don’t have the technological or human resources’ capacity and don’t have plans to build it, explore the hosted option. Many vendors are offering this service. What it means is that you don’t have to worry (well not as much) about the technological end of the system; they do it for you. If you go this route, there will be a monthly hosting fee that you’ll need to factor into your budget.


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