Open Source news: FOSS4LIB launch and more

In January, LYRASIS Technology Services  launched, a website to provide guidance to the library community about free/open source software (FOSS). The site already hosts an impressive registry of open source software as well as ‘decision-making tools‘ to help when considering making the move away from proprietary software.There’s more content being added all the time and you can also sign up for an account if you’d like to contribute.

In other OSS news, the Vufind discovery software has just released version 1.3. This latest version includes enhancements such as new search plugins (Europeana search, Google Maps, visual timelines), a ‘book bag’ feature and enhanced RSS feeds.

Kyushu University Library has also announced the release of Cute.Catalog, an Advanced Discovery Service build using eXtensible Catalog. You can see it in action at:



Coding for Librarians : Applied knowledge is the best kind

There’s been an impressive amount of librarian chatter about Code Year, a new initiative from the people behind Codeacademy. Codeacademy offer free introductory programming tutorials using JavaScript as the language of choice and it looks like this is also the approach Code Year will take. Discussion has already started on Twitter (hashtag #libcodeyear or #catcode) and IRC (#libcodeyear @ Freenode).

JavaScript is often proposed as a starter coding choice, at least in part due to it’s ubiquity (got browser? got JavaScript!). I’m not going to get into a language war, deciding what programming language to start with largely depends on a) what you like and b) what you want to build. And there are plenty of other places you can hear the arguments from every possible angle. It also depends on your own learning style. Don’t get discouraged if one of the tutorials doesn’t work for you, there are plenty others that might fit better with the way you learn. There’s a plethora of courses and learning resources out there, many of which have been listed on the Cat Code wiki.

The best coding tutorials (IMHO) are the ones that help you create something practical and/or applicable to your area of interest. And, with that in mind, I’ve started a list of open source library projects that may be of interest to those getting started with writing code. These projects aren’t necessarily beginner level (many of them aren’t) but provide examples of real code in action and something that you may be able to use and (eventually) contribute to.

Learning JavaScript?

Learning PHP?

Learning Ruby and/or Ruby on Rails?

These are just a few examples which I hope to keep adding to and, of course, suggestions are more than welcome.

VuFind 1.1 released

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.

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 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.