A new version of the VuFind library resource portal, is now available. This latest release comes with improved support for non-MARC metadata, autosuggesters, snippets, keyword highlighting, expanded OAI-PMH and RSS output, book previews through Google Books/OpenLibrary/Hathi Trust, more powerful favorite list management and a bunch of other new features and improvements.
For more information about this latest release and future development plans, check out the VuFind roadmap.
I admit I’m a bit of an Omeka fangirl, but it’s great to see the news about their new “Omeka + Neatline” initiative. This project will explore ‘geospatial and temporal visualisations of archival collections’ and follows on from other positive news from the last 12 months such as the roll-out of Omeka version 1.3, new plugins and the launch of Omeka.net. It’s just nice to see such a a great open source platform for libraries and archives on the up and up.
Mashed Libraries rolls into Bath today for MashSpa – Mash and Mashibility. For a preview of things to come, you can check out the programme and ideas page on the event blog. To follow along on Twitter the tag is #mashspa.
The profile of open source software (OSS) in the library world, if not the use, has risen exponentially over the last 12 months so it’s great to see a book about open source solutions aimed specifically at libraries. Practical Open Source Software for Libraries by Nicole Engard, is both an extensive (and, yes, practical) introduction to OSS and a whole raft of case studies for those looking to learn more.
The case study interviews with people using open source in libraries around the world covers everything from day-to-day, web access and applications, media, collections, research tools, and automation software. And for those new to open source, there’s both an introduction and an overview of common barriers faced, both real and imagined.
Defining open source is no mean feat (as the recent controversy around Google’s use of the term demonstrates) and Engard provides a great, condensed version of the philosophy behind it. The rest of the book consists of the case studies Q&As; ample ammunition for those looking to make a case for open source in their workplace. It also demonstrates the various ways libraries and librarians can get involved, beyond contributing code.
The bigger OSS names are all here; Firefox, Open Office, Dspace, Koha and Evergreen. But the case studies are a great way to find out about some of the lesser known options. For example, there’s Libstats for data gathering and LimeSurvey open source survey software. SubjectsPlus also looks interesting, a tool for creating online subject guides. LibX is also an impressive project that sometimes gets overlooked in these discussions.
There’s a nice balance of libraries who have made a conscious choice to use Open Source Software and those who have used it where viable alongside proprietary systems. It’s a shame the book doesn’t explore the common misconceptions about open source software in more depth. Barriers such as security concerns and a lack of awareness are still there but increasing financial pressures on libraries are going some way to force a rethink.
Practical Open Source Software for Libraries doesn’t go into the depths required to fully explore open source today, but it’s a good introduction and analysis from a librarian perspective and a great guide for those looking to use or develop open source solutions in their libraries and information services. There’s also a companion website with up-to-date links and facts available at: http://opensource.web2learning.net/
KohaCon10, marking the 10th anniversary of the Koha Library Management System, kicked off today in Wellington (give or take a pretty big time difference). There will be 3 days of conference followed by a three-day developer hackfest. They’ve also planned a trip to Levin in the Horowhenua, birthplace of Koha. All in all, it runs from 25 October to 1 November.
Coinciding with this nicely is the release of Koha 3.2.0, the latest major release of the Koha software. You can read all about the latest features and enhancements on the announcement page.
The latest issue of Information Technology and Libraries (available via CILIP Proquest subscription) includes a comparative study of the OPACs of Koha, Evergreen, and Voyager which takes an interesting look at what a next-generation library catalogue might light look like and how it compares with what’s currently on offer.
While I didn’t agree with all of their findings (and I’m not the only one: this response from Dan Scott, an Evergreen developer is also well worth a read), I found it an interesting take on what features are considered central to a ‘next-generation’ OPAC.
It’s also a useful comparison of Koha and Evergreen, the two most popular open-source library systems. While Koha use continues to grow in the UK, Evergreen hasn’t had the same impact. From both the article and Dan Scott’s response, this doesn’t seem to be due to lack of available features.
The ossviab project is taking a closer look at the suitability of Evergreen for the UK HE market. The decision to use Evergreen for this project was largely based on its use in large consortia environments and I can’t help but feel that Evergreen’s association with large academic consortia (namely Georgia PINES) is one of the reasons it hasn’t been adopted as widely for non-consortium libraries. It certainly *seems* scalable enough for smaller libraries.
Anyway, time (and the outcomes of the ossviab project ) will tell but I’d be interest to hear if any libraries going the open source route have looked closely at Evergreen and what they’ve found.
The 2nd Koha Open day, held at the King’s Fund on Friday was a great mix of those already using the Koha Library Management System and those just dipping toes into the open source water. It was ratifying to see such an enthusiastic group from a bunch of different libraries.
Both the Kings Fund and the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Library and Information Service (CAMLIS) gave presentations covering their experiences in selecting Koha (Gerhard Bissels - CAMLIS), migrating from another LMS (Matthew Hale – King’s Fund), improving the acquisitions module, (Andrea Chandler – CAMLIS), cataloguing (Julia Florin – King’s Fund) and customising the OPAC (Meghan Jones- King’s Fund).
Afterwards, everyone got a chance to try things out on a live installation and see the administrator interface up close.
While Koha has a healthy community around it and technical help is usually just an email away, there’s no substitute for a chance to try out a live system and talk to people who are already set-up either with in-house support or working with local suppliers.
Open Source is becoming more and more of a viable choice for libraries looking for a more flexible solution and events like this are contributing greatly by increasing people’s awareness of and confidence in open source systems.
Great news. Twapper Keeper, the Twitter archiving platform, has gone open source. A version that can be installed on your own server is now available via their Google Project page. A hosted version is also available.
As well as being free and open source, you can also access Twapper Kepper APIs and export data in a variety of formats.You can find out more at both the blog and community site. There’s also a demo to play with. It would be great to see how this works with a Twitter analysis tool like ThinkUp (formerly ThinkTank).
The event will be held in the afternoon of Friday 10th of September at the Kings Fund, from 2pm-5pm. The programme hasn’t been finalised but will include some short presentations with discussion, followed by hands-on experience in small groups.
To book a place, contact Matthew Hale at the King’s Fund.
VuFind is now out of beta with the release of version 1.0. It’s a free and open-source alternative to traditional OPACs and allows users to search catalog records as well as digital library items, insitutional repository records and other library resources.
You can see a live demo of this software on the website at VuFind.org.
VuFind features include faceted searching, Live Record Status and Location, Zotero Compatible, Author biographies and more.
New developments in the latest version include flexible support for non-MARC metadata formats, a mobile interface, Dewey Decimal support and integration with Serials Solutions’ Summon.
To find out more about the potential of this software, check out KEVEN (which stands for Kent VuFind Enhancement), a JISC-funded project at the University of Kent looking at ways to expand VuFind even further to improve the catalogue interface.
VuFind is is developed and maintained by Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library.