A report back from the 2nd Koha Open Day

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.

If you are interested in finding out about future Koha events join the UK koha list. You can see Koha in action  at the CAMLIS, King’s Fund and The Tavistock and Portman websites.

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Twapper Keeper now open source

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).

Twapper Keeper was created by John O’Brien and is supported by JISC. The name is kindly explained on the blog too.

VuFind library resource portal out of beta

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.

PTFS has now acquired Liblime. This time for sure.

While I’m loathe to post yet another update about a PTFS/Liblime merger, it seems the deal has now gone through. Past tense.  The press release reads much like the previous one (though significant differences have been noted elsewhere).

There have also already been some slightly raised eyebrows about a particular pledge of PTFS’s “to enhance and maintain the http://www.koha.org site as the focal point for the world’ s Koha activities”. Following disputes of ownership and control of this domain in the past, koha-community.org has now been established as the website for the Koha community.

While having an agreed, single web presence for Koha may take a back seat to other complexities of the Liblime acquisition for now, it would  be great to eventually see the realignment of Koha assets and acknowledgement of the role of the community. But, having said that, I’m  quite keen to see what comes of this new(ish) acquisition.

What now for Koha: PTFS to acquire LibLime, new Koha newsletter out

Progressive Technology Federal Systems, Inc. (PTFS) have acquired Liblime, the self-professed “leader in Open Source solutions for libraries”. This is an interesting development in the world of commercial Koha/FOSS support and follows months of controversy over Liblime’s role in the Koha community. PTFS have recently moved into providing commercial support for libraries implementing Koha (although the validity of this has been debated ) but don’t seem to have show a particular affinity for FOSS development previously. The LibLime brand will remain within the PTFS structure to encompass its Koha support division. Library Journal has an interesting article on this acquisition and its implications for LibLime’s ownership of, among other things, the Koha trademark in the US, the Koha.org domain and LibLime Enterprise Koha. The hope is that these Koha assets will be donated back to the Horowhenua Library Trust (HLT), as the Koha community has requested. ByWater Solutions, another key player in the Koha community (who themselves recently joined forces with BibLibre), seem cautiously optimistic about this outcome.The acquisition also includes biblios.net, a promising social cataloguing tool who’s development has faltered a bit recently.

Maybe, just maybe, this shakeup will provide a way out of the controversial forking of Koha but only time will tell.The acquisition is due to be completed by the end of January.

In other (non-commercial) Koha news, the very first Koha newsletter is now out, covering Koha events, news and tips and tricks.

Microsoft and FOSS: The new OSS Watch report

OSS Watch have published an exhaustive look at Microsoft’s forays into open source. Microsoft: an end to open hostilities explores Microsoft’s sponsorship of the Apache Software Foundation, the establishment of The Codeplex Foundation and other Microsoft toes dipped into open source waters. Does this signal a new approach or is it just part of business as usual?

The article is very though-provoking for anyone interested in the impact of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developments on big business. It also brought to mind Brian Kelly‘s presentation at Internet Librarian International 2009 where he described Microsoft’s venture into open standards; the Office Open XML file format. All 6,000 pages of it.