Contact: Louisa Worthington

Public Library Association

(312) 280-5024


For Immediate Release

July 22, 2008

Tech Notes available at

The Public Library Association (PLA) has announced the newest titles in the series
Tech Notes, which provides technical information on issues affecting public libraries using contemporary technology.

The newest titles were written by technology consultant and writer Richard W. Boss, a member of the American Library Association (ALA).

Tech Notes are published by the PLA several times a year and posted free of charge on the PLA Web site. The latest articles address such issues as “open source” software and automated storage and retrieval.

The new titles include:

  • Application Service Providers: An application service provider (ASP) is a business that provides computer-based services to customers over a network. There are several forms of ASP business models. The focus of this Tech Note is the vertical market ASPs that serve libraries.
  • Automated Storage/Retrieval and Return/Sorting Systems: While librarians don't like to think of libraries as warehouses for books, there are a number of technologies developed for warehouses that can be beneficially used in libraries. Among these are automated storage/retrieval systems (AS/RS) and return/ sorting systems.
  • Library Portals: Thousands of libraries worldwide have implemented a “library portal,” a single user interface for access to a wide variety of electronic resources both within and outside of the library. A portal is more than just a gateway or a way out to resources.
  • "Open Source" Integrated Library System Software: A number of public libraries have been investigating “open source” integrated library system software. Their motivations appear to be both financial and a desire to tailor a system to more closely meet their requirements than the proprietary products allow.

  • Open Source Software
    : The term “open source” refers to software that is free and includes the original source code used to create it so that users can modify it. There are tens –of thousands of open source software products, many of which are used by libraries.

  • Unicode
    : Unicode is an international character-encoding standard designed to support the electronic exchange, processing, storage and display of the written texts of all of the world’s languages and scripts. Libraries need to be able to borrow or lend materials in a wide variety of languages and scripts on behalf of patrons who cannot find what they need in their own libraries.

Tech Notes were conceived and are produced by the Technology in Public Libraries Committee, which will transition to a PLA Community of Practice under the new bylaws.
Tech Notes are available for download at

PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve, and its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.