ITIL’s the name - you won’t wear it out!

image of white itil logon on dark background

The IT Infrastructure Library – the original name for ITIL® – is, officially, not in use!

In fact, we haven’t actively used the name since the formation of AXELOS five years ago.

However, as recently as last month there was debate on Twitter about what happened to the IT Infrastructure Library.

When ITIL was founded in the 1980s, it comprised 48 books containing information about the best way to run an IT department based on a mainframe system.

In that way, it was a library of knowledge for IT infrastructure, hence the name. In time, the full title became abbreviated to ITIL.

Today, it’s no longer treated as an abbreviation but a stand-alone name for a concept known, used and trusted by millions of people around the world.

But the shift to “ITIL” wasn’t accidental or just borne out of verbal laziness! As the IT Infrastructure Library matured, the library of books eventually reduced to five and the emphasis moved to service management and the lifecycle approach, with the infrastructure element all but disappearing over the past 10 years.

And although it has become less and less connected to its original incarnation, ITIL remains relevant and stands up as a beacon of global best practice in IT service management.

In a way, it’s not dissimilar to IBM which began life as “International Business Machines” and whose business has evolved far beyond the description embodied in its first name. Like IBM, what ITIL stands for has become so much more.

As a member of the ITIL update Lead Architect Team, I’m proud to be working on the development of the new version of ITIL. With a new era and the coming of a new ITIL, we’re happy to state that ITIL is ITIL and that the IT infrastructure Library was simply part of our ongoing journey.

So, to settle the debate once and for all, to call ITIL the IT Infrastructure Library today would be both factually misleading and, frankly, rather “retro”.  In the fast-changing world of IT and service management, ITIL is the name you need to remember, for today and tomorrow.

Current rating: 4.8 (8 ratings)


4 Jun 2018 Edgar Velazquez
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I believe that ITIL is a framework that continues to be used and will continue to be used given the needs of organizations, because although technology advances rapidly it is not so in adoption in organizations, so it turns out that ITIL is applicable.
However, not all organizations apply all the best practices for the management of IT services, some practices are used and can even spend months even years until they apply more of them.
When ITIL version 2 came out, the organizations only applied the service support processes and not the service delivery processes. When the version 3 of ITIL comes to light, the organizations applied the most operative processes and until this year they are beginning to apply some design and service strategy processes which make a lot of sense for them.
I think that an update of the frame is too early to realize it and I would rather integrate it through connectors with other agile frames like AGILE, SCRUM, DEVOPS, etc.
4 Jun 2018 Allen
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The main problem for many of the developers that some of the function that they are using are not working correctly just because of the settings that they are required and the process for which they should contact the <a href="">Hp Customer Care</a>.
10 Jun 2018 Mark E. Geres
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Yikes! CIO magazine is still referring to it as "IT Infrastructure Library"? ie. 10 IT management certifications for IT leaders, May 2018
10 Sep 2018 Marcus L Daub
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I was wondering the same thing about ITIL and what it had become.
25 Mar 2019 Carlos Francisco Ferreira
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Very good indeed. This was one of my doubts, even after being certified on ITIL 4...

Related to the application of processes, at least in Brazil, during ITIL v2, we applied most of the support and delivery processes. Same for v3. Almost all of them were used at the time. Little exceptions as Service Validation and Testing, Change evalaution, etc. These ones were joined with Release and Change... But this is just my experience and perception.

Best regards
12 May 2020 Karina Stavenes
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This is so true. As I was studying for ITIL v3, and then ITIL 4, it seemed to me that the original acronym has evolved to mean so much more in the 21st century.
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