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'Moving up to the cloud': Library technology leaders to gather at VCU Jan. 9 for panel session

December 14, 2012

As one of the first major research universities to launch a pioneering new cloud-resident enterprise library platform, Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting an educational session Jan. 9, designed to help other libraries around the world prepare for the next generation of library technologies.  

VCU Libraries went live in the fall semester with Alma, cloud-resident enterprise library software from Ex Libris Inc. Alma is a unified resource-management system that replaced the system VCU had used for the past decade, which had also been developed by Ex Libris. VCU is the third library in North America to have launched Alma. 

"Libraries have always been on the cutting edge of technology," said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. "Emerging cloud technologies are building blocks for the research libraries of the future--more accessible, scalable, secure and content-rich than ever to advance scholarly endeavor."  

At the Jan. 9 event, industry leaders will discuss how emerging cloud-based technologies are transforming research libraries. 
Speakers are: 

  • Marshall Breeding, the national authority on enterprise library systems, is editor of Library Technology Guides and author of a monthly column in Computers in Libraries.
  • Mark Ryland, chief solutions architect for Amazon Web Service's Worldwide Public Sector team, began working with Microsoft Federal Systems as a senior architectural engineer in the early 1990s and has witnessed the industry mature.
  • Mark Triest, president of Ex Libris North America since 2010, previously was president of Inigral, a social-media start-up delivering applications for the education market. He also served as senior vice president of global sales at Sunguard Higher Education
  • John Ulmschneider, university librarian at VCU, is a past president and board member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, and leads VCU's growing and innovative research library system.
  • Gene Damon, panel moderator, is director of library automation for the Virginia Community College System, one of the nation's largest community college systems. He is chair of the steering committee for the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), and brings a distinguished background of leadership in enterprise library systems in both corporate and academic environments. 
An audience of Mid-Atlantic academic library leaders will participate in two sessions, which will be streamed live on the Web and posted for viewing by interested parties worldwide. The two-session discussion will consider the role of technology innovation in libraries and the implications in particular of implementing Alma.  
  • The 1 to 2:45 p.m. panel will consider cloud computing, trends in the industry, the intersection of corporate and educational worlds, the state of library technologies and their continuing evolution.
  • The 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. panel will provide a general introduction to Alma and discuss how Virginia Commonwealth University went about implementing the software, with its impact on such operational areas as acquisitions, cataloging and fulfillment.

Both panels will allow ample time for questions and audience discussion. 

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