Where Angel Investors Fear to Tread: Library Technology Innovation in a Time of Austerity

Suhonos, M. J. (2013) Where Angel Investors Fear to Tread: Library Technology Innovation in a Time of Austerity. In: Access Conference 2013, September 23-26, 2013, St. John's, NL. (Unpublished)

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The library automation industry is in a time of rapid technological transition: cloud-deployed services, web-based software, and digital systems which were all unimaginable only a few years ago. A steadily decreasing number of vendors continue to compete in a vicious oligopoly, while at the same time, a booming number of open-source projects are challenging established business models. Within this environment, libraries are facing massive budgetary cuts, staffing freezes, and increasing technology licensing costs as vendors seek to retain profit margins. While libraries reluctantly weigh their vendor relationships, lack of funding for open-source software development makes for a frustrating lack of options in a shrinking industry. Much like the serials crisis before, the de facto “wait-and-see” stance has become untenable for systems librarians. We now need to search for sustainable and scalable business models that can disrupt the existing market and provide much-needed alternatives. A startup is “a partnership or temporary organization designed to create new products or services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” And yet, in a time that seems ripe for a surge of library startups, we are yet to see more than a handful. Why? How can we balance organizational agility and sustainability? Whose responsibility is it to develop technology solutions? How do we minimize risk while incentivizing innovation? Where is the support for startups who can disrupt the library technology sector? This presentation will explore these questions from the perspective of a young startup trying to navigate such treacherous waters.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6028
Item ID: 6028
Department(s): Memorial University Libraries > Access Conference 2013
Date: 26 September 2013
Date Type: Completion

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