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Open Source Solutions for Libraries? 20

rscrawford asks: "I'm a former web developer who's been playing with open source solutions wherever possible for just over a year, and now I'm on that obsessive track toward becoming a librarian. Now, I've seen a lot of library websites and catalog software packages that are MS-based; what open-source solutions are there for libraries, and where have you seen libraries using open-source technologies (like Linux) to solve problems?"
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Open Source Solutions for Libraries?

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  • Mac OS X (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by CokeBear ( 16811 )
    Its not quite open source, but its the next best thing. Use Mac OS X, and strike a blow at evil.
    • Re:Mac OS X (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      a freeBSD rip off? That is why BSD was used by Apple, because they couldn't rip off GPL software.

      It's why M$ used the BSD TCP/IP Stack etc......

      BSD=feel free to rip me off, I don't care.
      GPL= Give and take.
  • Library systems (Score:5, Informative)

    by bencc99 ( 100555 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:24AM (#5024172) Homepage
    I work in the systems office of a fairly large UK university library, so I tend to keep a close eye on these things. Check out koha [], a complete open source library catalogue system, which appears to be growing in popularity.
    Also worth a look are the perl4lib [] and oss4lib [] mailing lists.
    • Re:Library systems (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trelane ( 16124 )
      There's an article on Koha in the most recent Linux Journal. Doesn't offer a whole lot of info, but it's an interesting look at the project.
  • oss4lib (Score:3, Informative)

    by heikkile ( 111814 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:27AM (#5024179) Homepage
    There is a web site dedicated to Open Source Systems for Libraries []
  • Greenstone. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Stillman ( 185591 )
    A different approach, but highly adaptable.

    Greenstone [].
  • another question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mike_R ( 21485 )
    I have another, related question to pose :

    Are there any small-scale library systems : standalone, run on a 486/Pentium90...

    In my case it would be used for the small library of an astronomy club, but other assocications surely have similar needs.


  • UC San Diego (Score:3, Informative)

    by esme ( 17526 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:17AM (#5024934) Homepage
    where have you seen libraries using open-source technologies (like Linux) to solve problems?

    UC (University of California) San Diego has started moving towards open-source software. We were a Solaris/Sybase/Netscape shop a few years back. But the cost just isn't practical, especially for places with tight budgets like libraries. So we've been moving (albeit slowly) to commodity hardware, Linux, Apache, Tomcat, etc. for our server-side stuff. Some of the developers use Linux and/or MacOSX for their desktops, too. There are links on my homepage, or respond to this if you're interested in more info.

    In terms of software written specifically for libraries, Greenstone and OSS4Lib that other posters mentioned are good. Also check out D-Space [], NC State's MyLibrary [], and if you want to handle MARC data in Java/XML, MARC4J []. Of course, all the standard open-source software works for libraries, too.


  • Koha (Score:5, Informative)

    by Copperhead ( 187748 ) <talbrech.speakeasy@net> on Monday January 06, 2003 @11:06AM (#5025242) Homepage
    Koha [], the first open source integrated library system. You can test drive it action at the Horowhenua Library Trust [] in New Zealand or on the Koha Test Page [].

    Features include:

    * Simple clear interface for librarians and members (patrons) to search right from the front page.

    * Customisable search - you choose which fields you want on your search forms when you set it up

    * Reading lists for members - now you can find the name of that great book you read last year. NOTE: Our librarians and customers love this, but if you have concerns about keeping this information it could be disabled. This is really useful for helping homebound users get fresh books

    * Full acquisitions including budgets and pricing information (including supplier and currency conversion), being kept so that you can see what you've ordered and received - so handy at end of year and audit time.

    * Simple acquisitions for the smaller library

    * Able to catalogue websites as items, or have them as links to existing biblios.

  • Just use mine...

    int main(void){ ...
    int initilize(void){
    user.10000009010504.fines == 0;
  • DSpace (Score:3, Informative)

    by AmbushBug ( 71207 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @02:13PM (#5026489)
    MIT recently released the source code for DSpace []. We are currently evaluating it for use by our company.
  • WWW/ISIS system (Score:2, Informative)

    by pgawrysiak ( 637951 )
    You might want to check WWW/ISIS (not Bireme WWW-ISIS) bibliographical database and loan system. It has been recently released as open source, has web based interface, it's used by some renowned organizations (including United Nations FAO and IFAD), and is backward compatible with ancient, (but popular in many libraries) ISIS DBMS. Enquire at - developer's site [], or mail me [mailto] for details.
  • Check out the February 2003 Linux Journal (got it today in the mail). It has an article on a new Integrated Libray System called Koha from New Zealand.

    I have not read the article yet, just marked it to read when I find the time. It may be what you want.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears