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System Director’s Report
January 2010

LibLime, the company with which we contracted in April 2009 for development, data migration, training and support of our new Koha automated system, is being acquired by Progressive Technology Federal Systems, Inc. (PTFS).  On Jan. 13, the day they released the attached news story, a group of six PTFS and LibLime representatives spent the day in Madison meeting with four SCLS staff: Stef, Vicki Teal-Lovely, Jon Mark Bolthouse and me.

The purpose of the meeting was for PTFS to introduce themselves to us as individuals and as a company, for them to get to know us and to understand our needs and address any concerns we had about this change. They also wanted to clarify what software development has been delivered by LibLime to SCLS, in order to verify the worth of LibLime as they finalize the acquisition. This is an ongoing process and the target date to complete the acquisition is Feb. 15.

Under the terms of the agreement, Josh Ferraro, the CEO of LibLime, will be under contract to PTFS for 18 months to deliver the software he is currently developing for clients like SCLS and to support them through their migration to Koha. Since the plan is for SCLS staff to continue to work with the same LibLime staff we are currently working with, we are very hopeful that our current timeline will be met.

The PTFS goal in acquiring LibLime is to “Complete the Koha project to achieve a stable, reliable and easily deployable ILS (Integrated Library System) that can compete effectively in all library markets with commercial ILS software.”  Founded in 1995, PTFS provides content management support, including digital archiving systems and library systems integration services. They started out developing special products for government clients. They have a current library contract with the Government Printing Office and they implemented an ILS system in all of the US Marine Corps Community Services Libraries worldwide. They have created custom interfaces for clients as diverse as the Federal Reserve Bank and State of Utah Library.

So what does all this mean to SCLS and our libraries? We think it is basically good news. LibLime was still on target for our development project, but we could see they were having some growing pains. PTFS has been in business longer than LibLime and has over 120 employees. They have a more diverse range of product offerings, deeper pockets and a base of ongoing contracts.

They already offer Koha support and development services to libraries, but with the acquisition of LibLime, they will become the largest support vendor for the product. Several former LibLime staff members are employed by PTFS now, including some former Dynix (the vendor of our current ILS) people.

As I said when we started this journey to an open source ILS, we should expect it to be bumpy at first, but long-term I am still convinced that it is the right direction for us and our libraries. In acquiring the SCLS contract, PTFS also has a very big interest in making our installation, one of their biggest to date, a success.

Their ArchivalWare product, which they want to integrate and market with Koha, has a sophisticated search engine for digital content. This integration would give patrons the opportunity to search for both print and digital content with a single search. In their design, the ArchivalWare component can be added or activated after an initial Koha system implementation. From where we stand today, it looks good to be working with a company that has a solid track record of success and a plan to help libraries manage their digital future.

And we’ll have more to share when we see you on the 8th!