In an article published in the May 1997 issue of College and Research Libraries Merri Beth Lavagnino traced the history of the systems librarian and systems department in academic libraries. She identified four evolutionary stages, where Stage One was no automation and Stage Four was characterized by the effects of networking and distributed computing. Lavagnino ended her article by predicting the emergence of a fifth stage. However, she pointed out it was too early to describe that stage. This paper examines the growth of automation at two university libraries, with particular attention to the four stages described by Lavagnino. The authors then attempt to provide a more complete description of Stage Five. It seems to be an outgrowth of the distributed computing and networking components of Stage Four. New factors include a growth in digitized resources, integration of systems, and developments in client/server technology, especially as they relate to the World Wide Web. Finally, Stage Five libraries seem to have made changes in the organizational structure, reflecting a need for a technical person at the upper management level.
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