Survey of Library Use of Cloud Computing

This report examines closely how academic, public and special libraries are using cloud computing services. It looks at use of specific services from Amazon, Google, Rackspace, DuraCloud, DropBox and many others, as well as more general questions regarding the use of cloud services, such as security issues, overall cost, impact on IT staff, data reliability and other issues.

Just a few of the report’s many findings are:

  • 22.54% of libraries sampled use paid subscription software as a cloud computing service, including just 13.64% of libraries outside the United States.
  • Major cloud computing services have been used for hosting and/or distributing special collections by 2.82% of libraries in the sample.
  • 63.04% of libraries categorize Google as trustworthy and 8.7% as highly trustworthy. The remaining 28.26% say that Google is usually trustworthy and none consider it untrustworthy.
  • 66.67% of libraries agree that, while data and file losses are possible with major cloud computing services, these losses would not be any worse than those occurring with traditional storage systems.
  • Less than 3% of libraries currently use platforms as a service (PaaS), which enable end users to build their own applications online.
  • 2.82% of libraries are considering using Rackspace in the future, including 5.56% of public libraries and 2.44% of academic libraries.
  • 15.38% of libraries with budgets between $750,000 and $5,000,000 use server space rented from cloud computing services,
  • 16.9% of libraries have adopted Google Apps as their default means of word processing.

The report’s conclusions are based on data from 72 academic, public and special libraries predominantly from the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK.

The 76-page report helps libraries and IT staff to answer questions such as: what has been the experience of libraries with cloud computing to date? What are they using it for? What do they plan to use it for? How satisfied are they with their experience? What has been and will be the impact on the library budget?

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