ALA — Open Source Everywhere

Just back from California and the ALA conference in Anaheim had plenty of open source programs from which to choose.

Mike and I attended “Planning for Open Source in Consortia” on June 29th. The panelists were Monica Shultz, IT Director of the Peninsula Library System in San Mateo, CA and Randy Dykhuis, Executive Director of the Michigan Library Consortium.

The Peninsula Library System is currently testing the functionality of the Evergreen system. They have not yet committed to migrating to the system, but so far their testing is showing it to be very flexible for their needs.

The Michigan Library Consortium has already begun their migration process to Evergreen and have selected a group of pilot libraries to move over to the open source system this summer. The Grand Rapids Public Library will be included in a later migration phase.

OPEN SOURCE INTEREST GROUPS AT ALA
Brendan attended the very first organizational meeting of KUDOS, the user group for the Koha open source system. They plan on setting up a 501c3 non-profit to support their efforts.

And Brendan and I attended the Koha interest group meeting in which those interested in Koha and those actually using Koha (in test and production) could share information and ask questions of each other and LibLime staff. who organized this interest group meeting.

–Amy

Howard County Library System (MD)

I talked with Amy DeGroff, the head of Library Technology Services, at the Howard County Library system, in Maryland. They have six public libraries and about 1 million items. They circulate about 5 millions items each year. Howard County is a SirsiDynix Horizon library and they are in the process of migrating to Koha. Their go-live date is scheduled for December 2008.

Their original go-live date was supposed to be this fall, but they are now waiting for the new Koha acquisitions module, Get It, to be finished. They are co-sponsoring development of this with WALDO. It will be released in November, at a conference in North Carolina.

They chose Koha over Evergreen because they did not need the consortial features present in Evergreen. Howard County libraries function as branches in one system, with the same circulation rules and little need for individual autonomy. Although Koha does allow for this flexibility, Howard County is shutting that flexibility down.

Amy is really impressed with Koha’s patron catalog. There is much innovation to be excited about. It is very easy to create public lists, pathfinders that bring up specific search results for patrons. Faceted searching works very well, too.

Howard County is working with LibLime as they work toward their migration over to Koha. LibLime imported their data. They have both a test server and production server.

Howard County has a web designer who is interested in contributing to the open source development. This staff person will receive computer programming training (Perl, etc.).

Amy was receptive to the idea of a visit from Bibliomation once they have gone live to see Koha in action.

Bibliomation’s ILS Steering Committee

At the June User Council meeting, Janet Woycik, chair of the Bibliomation Strategic Planning Committee, asked for volunteers to serve on the Bibliomation ILS Steering Committee.

The ILS Steering Committee will meet at specific times during our open source testing period so that we can discuss with them our progress and findings. We will be making a list of those open source ILS features that would require policy decisions and presenting these to the committee.

ILS Steering Committee Members:

  • Janet Woycik, CH Booth Library
  • Bernadette Baldino, Easton Public Library
  • Valerie Annis, Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury
  • Heather Morgan, Mark Twain Library
  • Lynn White, Terryville Public Library
  • Emmett McSweeney, Silas Bronson Library
  • Sue Phillips, Hall Memorial Library
  • Beth Lovallo, Woodbury Public Library
  • Jane Gallagher, Middlebury Public Library

We will also ask for volunteers to serve on our various taskforces, to be created later this summer.

The Green Mountain Library Consortium (VT)

As Bibliomation begins our own open source investigation, we are very interested in talking to those libraries who have already decided to migrate to open source.

I had the chance earlier this month to talk with Stephanie Chase, the library director of the Stowe Public Library, in Vermont. Stephanie, along with some of her colleagues, have banded together to form the Green Mountain Library consortium. Originally formed to provide their patrons with OverDrive downloadable audiobooks, they have expanded their mission to moving from individual Follett systems to Koha’s ILS.

Phase One of their plan involves bringing up individual Koha systems for 20 of these interested public libraries. They will be using committees (PAC improvements, circulation, etc.) to focus on the various improvementst they will need to develop in the existing Koha software. They plan to hire a programmer and web designer and share their time among all library participants.

They chose Koha because they viewed the software as more mature than the other open source ILSes available to them. Koha is programmed in Perl and uses MySQL and they had some experience with these programming languages.

They have version 3.0 up on a test server and are currently testing data importing. They plan to bring up Koha on inexpensive Linux servers and roll them out to all libraries by January 1, 2009.

Phase Two will involve blending all of these individual databases together to make one consortial system. They will begin work on phase two in June 2009.

To follow their progress, you can check out their wiki.

Since our paths are running somewhat parallel, we plan to stay in touch with them so that we can exchange information along the way.

On Wednesday, I plan to talk with Amy DeGroff of the Howard County Library System, in Maryland. Howard County is in the middle of their migration to Koha and they plan to bring up their new system this fall. I will post the summary of my phone call with Amy to the blog later this week.

Koha Test Server — Up and Running!

Brendan was able to bring up our first Koha test server yesterday. He installed version 3.0 on it. We are now familiarizing ourselves with the various administrative settings and seeing how much we can customize the setup for all Bibliomation libraries.

This will not be the final test server, but it’s a good start for us to begin the learning process!

Welcome to BOSS!

This blog will be used to detail Bibliomation’s exploration of the open source ILS as a possibly viable next generation library automation system for our member libraries.
Stay tuned. We plan to provide regular updates as we move forward with our exploration!
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please read our “Open Source FAQ” for a better understanding of open source and its relevance to Bibliomation libraries.