It’s 2020, the New Year is upon us and a new decade! Ten years have passed since the first implementation in a client site of the Soutron Library application (cataloguing and loans) on our Cloud servers. Remember Microsoft’s IE6 as the web browser! At the time we launched Soutron, the slow speed of the internet was a real challenge and WiFi was a rarity. Many said it was too early to develop for the web browser.
Today, we are already developing the next generation of Soutron Library & Archive application. As well as changing the user interface we are re-engineering our application so that we can take full advantage of the emerging web capabilities and integrate with new emerging tools. Our goal is to make the software perform at the optimum for the next decade and to help clients take full advantage of the latest time saving tools.
Artificial Intelligence & Data Automation
This month CES2020 is happening in Las Vegas, the world’s largest technology fair for consumer electronics that showcases innovation. It heralds the introduction of more AI (Artificial Intelligence) with the appearance of Lidar technology being introduced into self-driving vehicles and more voice activated devices, set to be the new norm in households.
The use of AI is something we are looking at with great interest. We are exploring how we can integrate AI to support Library and Information staff in their support of end users, particularly in managing enquiries and cataloguing content.
At the end of 2019, we successfully implemented an automated Soutron Summariser tool, so that documents can be automatically abstracted without the manual effort normally associated with this service. Two client organisations are now benefiting from this and we can offer this as an extended service for those who need it. We are also exploring the use of AI Cognitive tools with a large membership client organisation as part of the enquiry service. Their goal is to improve the already high-quality information they provide to members and AI helps them serve more members without increasing staff. This is now being prototyped and we expect to announce results of this exciting new approach in the coming months.
As well as these developments, we have been keen to find ways to integrate with enrichment services to improve the content and appearance of bibliographic records and to this end we are introducing an optional service to aid cataloguing and presentation of content. Details to follow very soon.
Client User Group Meetings
Later on, in the year, we will hold our usual User Group meetings and this year we have been asked to have one in London, so we are on the lookout for a suitable venue. This is always a very exciting day for us as we are able to meet friends old and new and share updates on what is happening. This cross fertilisation of ideas and experiences is an important part of our work and we learn so much from these events.
So off to work we go. Another year and decade packed with activity and new ideas to follow.