System migration is a fundamental aspect of library automation. It is the movement or changeover from one system or another. As online library systems become older, libraries are having to undergo the process of system migration. This migration can be either to an upgraded system from the same vendor or can be a change to an entirely different vendor. The issues involved in system migration are complex. This chapter will give several points of view to assist librarians about to begin this process. It will focus on general information about migration that is applicable to any library undergoing a migration—not the specifics only related to an individual case.
The literature on system migration can be divided into several broad categories: why libraries undergo migration; planning for migration; the use of consultants; technological considerations and processes of migration; the human and communication aspects of migration; migration as it relates specifically to serials; and experiences and sample accounts of migrations done by individual libraries. Many of the articles on migration overlap these broad categories.
According to a survey of 367 libraries, which have on online system that was installed in the last five years, conducted by Berry, ‘‘a whopping 58.5 percent of the public libraries and 40 percent of the college and university libraries have already upgraded their systems’’ (1989:56). It is because of figures like these, and because of the number of libraries about to begin upgrading their systems, that information about system migration is important. In an article about the Norwalk Public Library migration from a network-based system to a stand-alone