Integrated library system

Integrated library system

An integrated library system, or ILS, is an enterprise resource planning system for a library, used to track items owned, orders made, bills paid, and patrons who have borrowed.

An ILS is usually comprised of a relational database, software to act on that database, and two graphical user interfaces (one for patrons, one for staff). Most ILSes separate software functions into discrete programs called modules, which are then integrated into a unified interface. Examples of modules include: acquisitions (ordering, receiving, and invoicing materials), cataloging (classifying and indexing materials), circulation (lending materials to patrons and receiving them back), serials (tracking magazine and newspaper holdings), and the OPAC (public interface for users). Each patron and item has a unique ID in the database that allows the ILS to track its activity.

Larger libraries use ILSes to order and acquire, receive and invoice, catalog, circulate, track and shelve materials. Smaller libraries, such as private homes or non-profit organizations (e.g. churches and synagogues), often forego the expense and maintenance required to run an ILS, and instead use a library computer system.Fact|date=November 2007

Most sizable First World libraries use an ILS. In the United Kingdom, ILSes are sometimes referred to as "library management systems".


ILSes were often known as "library automation systems" or "automated systems" in the 1970s and early 1980s. Before the advent of computers, libraries usually used a card catalog to index its holdings. Computers were used to automate the card catalog, thus the term "automation system". Automation of the catalog saves the labor involved in resorting the card catalog, keeping it up-to-date with respect to the collection, etc. Other tasks automated include checking out and checking in books, generating statistics and reports, acquisitions and subscriptions, indexing journal articles and linking to them, as well as tracking interlibrary loans.

Since the late 1980s, windows and multi-tasking have allowed business functions to be integrated. Instead of having to open up separate applications, library staff could now use a single application with multiple functional modules.

As the Internet grew, ILS vendors offered more functionality related to the Internet. Major ILS systems now offer web-based portals where library users can log in to view their account, renew their books, and be authenticated to use online databases.

Today's new systems tend to be completely web-based, i.e. all work operations by the librarians are carried out in a web browser.


A wider list of examples is available at the Library Index. [ [ The Library Index] ]


* Evergreen
* Koha
* NewGenLib


* [ Insignia Library System] (Solutions for School, Academic, Public and Professional Libraries)
* [ Aleph] from Ex Libris
* [ Virtua] from [ VTLS, Inc.]
* Dynix from SirsiDynix
* Horizon from SirsiDynix
* Symphony from SirsiDynix
* Heritage from [ IS Oxford] (mainly UK and Ireland)
* [ Libero] from LIBERO Software
* Millennium from [ Innovative Interfaces, Inc.]
* Polaris ILS from [ Polaris Library Systems]
* Talis (UK and Ireland)
* Unicorn from SirsiDynix
* Voyager from Ex Libris, formerly from Endeavor
* Vubis Smart from [ Infor ]
* [ Cybrarian] from [ CR2 Technologies Ltd, India]
* from [ LibraryWorld, Inc.]

ee also

* Library computer system


* Rubin, Richard E. "Foundations of Library and Information Science". New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2004.

External links

* [ A historical chart of major ILS vendors]
* [ MARC Records, Systems and Tools] : Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress
* [ College Center for Library Automation]
* [ LiBSUITE-Digital Library Automation Software]
* [ Cybrarian - Webbased Integrated Library Management Software based on SaaS model]

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