Chapter 2 examines themes that commonly arose in the comments: cost; the benefits and drawbacks of consortial membership; ILS functionality; customer support; and open source software. While comments on cost are almost universally negative, the other topics reflect a range of opinions. Librarians want mature, intuitive software with responsive vendors. They disagree on whether their current products, or open source alternatives, provide this.
We categorized the comments from the free text field to look for hot-button issues. Popular areas of interest included costs; consortia; open source (no doubt partly because other survey questions directly addressed this); ILS functionality; and customer support. Libraries commenting on their support typically either loved it or hated it, and this issue will be addressed in more depth and in the context of specific vendors in chapter 4. The other themes will be addressed here.
A very large number of comments centered on the costs involved with annual maintenance and support. Not only were the costs perceived as high, but the annual increases were burdensome. Many libraries noted that given budget pressures, current levels of cost for maintenance were not sustainable. A few were satisfied with their ILS and support, but still considering migration due to cost concerns. Some knew they were making tradeoffs in terms of functionality to reach a good price point, but were satisfied with the overall package. For many, however, the costs, in terms of both funds for a new system and the personnel efforts required, precluded change and …