The Tech Set 11: Cloud Computing for Libraries

Sarah McNicol (Researcher)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 4 January 2013



McNicol, S. (2013), "The Tech Set 11: Cloud Computing for Libraries", New Library World, Vol. 114 No. 1/2, pp. 88-88.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Cloud Computing for Libraries is intended to assist library staff interested in moving away from owning and operating local servers to using web‐based servers. It one of ten new titles in the Tech Set series, which provide practical instructions and advice on emerging technologies.

As the author, Marshall Breeding, points out, cloud computing represents one of the most important current technology trends, but it is a term which attracts a great deal of hype. In this context, this volume offers a highly practical, realistic view of the benefits and limitations of cloud computing options within a library environment.

The first chapter briefly describes different models of computing services to explain what exactly cloud computing is. The book then goes into greater depth, describing the various computing solutions available to libraries and considering the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Having thus set the scene, Breeding presents an overview of planning issues that which need to be considered when introducing a cloud computing service, including service level agreements and bandwidth issues. He also examines the softer, social mechanics considerations, such as the need to reshape personnel, policy and privacy issues and institutional co‐ordination.

The largest section of the book, chapter 5, is devoted to implementation, as a variety of cloud computing solutions are described in detail, including using Google Apps, cloud‐based e‐mail and web‐driven catalogues. The following chapters deal with marketing and metrics, before looking at emerging trends. The emerging trends section is especially helpful as it not only draws attention to new developments, but offers sensible advice for libraries when carrying out their own future planning.

Of course a slim volume such as this can only cover so much, but there is a recommended reading section, including short summaries of the resources listed.

In summary, Cloud Computing for Libraries would be useful to both technical staff and library managers considering the options that cloud computing offers. It describes current trends and sets out the options available, considering the strengths and weaknesses of each. Most importantly, it looks holistically at the process to switching to cloud services, pointing out the implications for staffing, accommodation, budgets and security as well as considering the technical issues involved.

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