I'm working on an article for OLA Quarterly now about the evolution of library "discovery environments" during the web era. Maybe I'm getting a little too theoretical here, but I'm trying to come up with three distinct phases of evolution. Roughly, they are:
1. Bringing pre-web indexing systems onto the web platform (mid-to late 90s)
2. Systems that increasingly 1.) match the consumer web experience on the wider web and 2) manage (synthesize) online full text content, in both with an increasingly dis-integrated set of tools (early to mid 2000s)
3. Two-way network level systems that benefit from both global scale and local customization (specialize), systems that get better as more people (library staff and patrons) use them. Systems that syndicate (mobilize) resources (late 2000s)
The first phase is sort of Web .5. The second phase involves trying to catch up to Web 1.0. The third phase is Web 2.0 and beyond.
1. Web OPACs, static library websites, A&I databases on the web
2. JSTOR, Serials Solutions, SFX, ContentDM, DSpace, lipstick-on-a-pig library catalogs, Endeca, federated search.
3. Google Scholar, Google Books, WorldCat.org, WorldCat Local, Flickr Commons
I realize that trying to write history as it's happening is hazardous.