Company History

Merv Richter, President
Eloquent Systems Inc.

Eloquent Systems has learned a lot from Knowledge Professionals (Archivists, Librarians, Museum Curators, and Records Managers) while providing them with leading-edge software for over 40 years.

Eloquent Systems Inc. has been owned and operated by its founder, Merv Richter, since 1975. It is incorporated in the Province of British Columbia and operates from an office in Greater Vancouver. He started the company under the name Easy Data Inc. after a short career with IBM. The business developed, sold, and supported several software packages for the emerging minicomputer market. The packaged applications included an integrated library system (ILS) that quickly gained international recognition when it became the product of choice for the large research libraries of Exxon, Chevron, Tenneco and many other energy internationals. In 1982 Mr. Richter sold Easy Data to the publicly traded Sydney Development Corporation, stayed on as president of the subsidiary, and also became a director of Sydney. Three years later he resigned to reactivate his other private company, Eloquent Systems Inc., and develop software for the new personal/microcomputer market.

Although Eloquent Systems was formed over 40 years ago, its current business resulted from a strategic decision made by the founder to pivot slightly in 1999. The Company’s customers at that time all employed KM professionals who were responsible for very large volumes of knowledge resources of legal and/or historical value. Resources that were important and valuable enough for their organization to justify the cost and effort of curating and cataloging them. KM professionals ensure that others in the enterprise are more productive with easy and timely access to information they need and by not wasting time on irrelevant material.

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

In early 2000, rapid advancements in technology were taking place, creating a sub-sector of the KM world referred to as Digital Asset Management (DAM). Most of the technology-driven solutions being created at that time, such as automatically capturing email or scanning paper for saving as PDFs, did not take information governance (IG) requirements into account. They were being retro-fitted to fill the market need, but were not purpose built. Merv Richter realized that his customers already knew how to manage physical knowledge resources. With the proper software tools they could do the same for digital content. They needed software that could manage both.

Building the Web-based Software

Eloquent System’s core software at the time was GENCAT (GEN for generic and CAT for catalog). Consulting partners used it to quickly build applications for their clients and, in the process, expanded the GENCAT customer base. With a Web-based GENCAT, these customers could evolve toward a digital/paperless environment with minimal disruption to their workflows.

Mr. Richter was uniquely positioned to develop a solution for this move to digital. He has an Honours in Math from the University of Saskatchewan which included a specialty in “Boolean logic and set theory”, the basis of database design. Subsequent to his schooling, he spent a few years with IBM where he got extensive training in database architecture. Since founding his own company in 1975 his experience included designing and building software for some of the top KM professionals in the world. He was exposed to the pain points they were suffering and used his database knowledge to enhance GENCAT to solve them.

This experience included:

  • Working with the librarians (PhD’s) at the Exxon group of companies to enhance the Company’s software to meet the demanding requirements of their research libraries and their large consortium of libraries. Their team represented the top cataloging and research skills in the world.
  • Partnering with two internationally recognized Certified Records Managers, one in Toronto and one in Seattle, designing and developing software for their clients. They each had their own consulting businesses and standardized on Eloquent’s records management software for their clients. The integrated Classification Scheme and Retention Schedule ensured information governance (IG) could be professionally managed.
  • Partnering with an ex-IBM IT professional who built a consulting business around an archives collection management application built with GENCAT for several large institutions in Canada, the US, the Caribbean and Hong Kong. He promoted GENCAT as the only one in the market at that time to support the hierarchical data structure specified by the new International Standard for Archival Description ("ISAD-G").

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

By 2001 Eloquent Systems released the first version of WebGENCAT and started migrating customers to it. In the process, four applications were developed:
1. Eloquent Archives™ (Archives Management Software),
2. Eloquent Library™ (Library Management Software),
3. Eloquent Museum™ (Museum Collections Management Software), and
4. Eloquent Records™ (Records Management Software)

Customers today can use one or more of these off-the-shelf applications as stand-alone solutions or keep them integrated to form their enterprise content management (ECM) system, giving users “only one place to look” for all physical items as well as digital content in any of the applications. It also becomes their digital asset management (DAM) solution.

Mobile-Friendly to close the Circle

Customers quickly recognize the value of Eloquent’s latest Mobile-Friendly version of WebGENCAT for making all their knowledge resources available online to their “public”. All they require is their favorite browser or mobile device to find and display search results from the database, including all types of digital content. Gradually customers are also placing more power in the hands of users where workflow activity originates. Users take responsibility for filing their own resources and benefit from immediate feed-back, eliminating many clerical steps.