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Librarians Stake Their Future on OSS 178

Posted by Zonk
from the wish-we-had-that-here dept.
Systems Librarian writes "Linux.com is running a story entitled 'Librarians stake their future on open source'. It details a group of librarians at the Georgia Public Library Service that have developed an open source, enterprise-class library management system that may revolutionize the way large-scale libraries are run. The system is Evergreen. The element of this project that has the participants especially excited is the speed. Previously, if users wanted changes to their systems, they'd be put into an 'enhancement queue'. Now, some features are implemented overnight. From the article: 'In fact, the catalog has many features and innovations that are lacking in non-free systems. It does on-the-fly spellcheck and gives search suggestions and adds additional content, such as book covers, reviews, and excerpts. The Shelf Browser shows items ordered along a virtual shelf built out of the holdings of the entire system. Patrons can create bookbags, which are lists that contain a selected collection of annotated titles. Bookbags can be kept private or shared as a regular Web page or as Atom or RSS feeds.'" Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
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Librarians Stake Their Future on OSS

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  • Of course! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:37PM (#17349796) Homepage Journal
    Well, of course a group of librarians at the Georgia Public Library Service like open source!
    • Re:Of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:45PM (#17349832)

      You'd think that, wouldn't you? I, on the other hand, am actually rather upset at the Gwinnett (note: a county in Georgia) Public Library, because they make digital media [gwinnettpl.org] available only in proprietary DRM'd WMA format. It's bad enough that DRM exists, but it really pisses me off when my taxes are paying for it!

      • by markdavis (642305)
        >they make digital media available only in proprietary DRM'd WMA format.

        And most of the documentation is in MS-Word only format.
        And the only client software so far is MS-Windows only.

        Hmm

        At least the server can run on Linux.
      • by natrius (642724)
        How do you suggest a library allow you to check out digital content online? Without DRM, they'd be giving you a copy of the book, and I doubt the copyright holders would be too happy about that. My guess is that your library talked to publishers, and they allowed digital checkouts if they were DRM-encumbered.

        Personally, I won't buy an e-book if it's DRM-encumbered, but this is the only way digital checkouts are even legal.
        • How do you suggest a library allow you to check out digital content online?

          If they can't do it right, then they shouldn't do it at all! And if that means nobody gets any digital content, well then let that just be a lesson on the evils of DRM.

          • If it's either rootkit-infested crap or nothing, I'd rather have nothing in the library as far as copyrighted music goes. It's not the library's fault; it's te music publisher's fault. If they wanted to make it available only under a license that requires you to post your firstborn as collateral, or to reserve the right to root your box "just to make sure" you're not duping their precious, precious media, then it's their damn fault you can't find their precious, precious media in the library, not the librar
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I don't see those outfits whose clueless managers have taken juicy backhanders from Proprietary Systems®© producers for years making the switch. Do you?
  • It details a group of librarians at the Georgia Public Library Service that have developed an open source, enterprise-class library management system that may revolutionize the way large-scale libraries are run.

    The system appears to be pretty complex from the description above. If indeed, it's the group of librarians that developed it, they must be very very gifted. I am trying to see how any of the librarians at my former university would develop a system even half as complex. They did not seem to be all

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Timesprout (579035)
      They didn't. They hired a couple of developers who have been working on building this system for several years now.
  • by wbean (222522) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:46PM (#17349842)
    The virtual shelf feature sounds great to me. There's nothing quite like finding the section of the library devoted to the topic you are interested in and browsing through the books. That experience is hard to duplicate on the electronic systems I've used. Now if they'd just add the content online....
    • The virtual shelf idea should probably be implemented with tagging or some other sort of social categorization system. Because basically what it's doing is creating a custom category.

    • by Kjella (173770)
      Here's a little trick that work on some systems: Usually you can search by shelf ID, if you take only the first part you'll get a list of all titles in that section. Often very useful, but not very obvious.
    • by jfengel (409917)
      Since book shelves are ordinarily sorted by the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress codes, it sounds like it would be easy to mimic that in a virtual library. I'm surprised nobody's done it before. It would be great if Amazon were to add a link to other books on the same "shelf", though they've got even more sophisticated ways of making suggestions.
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:58PM (#17349888) Homepage Journal
    Evergreen is available online, have a look yourself: here [gapines.org]

    (system seems a little slow already, hopefully this doesn't slashdot it).
  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:02PM (#17349910) Homepage Journal
    It always annoyed me when public money was spent on proprietary software, especially when there already are free solutions that are more secure and full featured. For some reason my local library uses Internet explorer and not Firefox on their computers designated for web access only. It's almost enough for me to try to get elected to the library district.
    • Hmm, well, the fact is that Internet Explorer is free too. MS paid the original creators of IE about M$50 (out of court settlement actually, as usual for MS' way of doing business) for it and gave it away to put Netscape out of business.
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:51PM (#17350140) Homepage
        You're conflating free-as-in-beer with free-as-in-spech.

        The OP said "proprietary".

        If IE is so free, can you get me the source so I can fix some of the bugs?

      • by dangitman (862676)
        Fifty bucks? That's a rather pitiful settlement.
      • Hmm, well, the fact is that Internet Explorer is free too.

        No, it's not free (not even "as in beer"). It's just already paid for, because it's included in the price of Windows.

        Especially considering that the computers are only being used for Internet access, there's no excuse whatsoever for not using Linux and Firefox instead, and saving taxpayers the cost of Windows licenses.

    • The library that i work at needs software thats supported.
      Our IT Dept would demand it or we wouldn't get an SLA.

      I've not RTA yet, so i dunno if paid support is available - but someone offering such a service may make this system more viable for cash strapped libraries.

       
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @07:10PM (#17350230)

      It always annoyed me when public money was spent on proprietary software, especially when there already are free solutions that are more secure and full featured.

      This is irrelevant. There WAS no free, more secure, or full featured solution for library management.

      Nevermind that most of the cost, at least initially and for the first few years, is NOT the software. About a decade ago when my school went to a computerized system, the cost was mostly in labor.

      • The entire card catalog was boxed up and shipped to a company for either data entry or OCR, I don't recall
      • Every single book was pulled, barcoded, and had an anti-theft strip (which could be deactivated) inserted into the binding

      I don't recall how they managed to link barcodes to books; whether each book was pre-assigned a specific barcode, or barcodes were applied and the system brought into sync via hand entry.

      This process took MONTHS and the work of several librarians and the expensive data-entry company.

      I can imagine scenarios where you could get 2 dozen volunteers and go shelf by shelf through a library and catalog the collection, but it'd still be a massive undertaking, even for a small library such as one in a high school.

      Your only hope is aggressive use of laptops on wireless with barcode scanners, and an ISBN lookup database you can pull, quickly verify the basics, and toss the book on the shelf again (in the proper order.)

      • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @09:11PM (#17350738)

        This process took MONTHS and the work of several librarians and the expensive data-entry company.

        This seems irrelevant, as most libraries already use computerized systems. So, we're not talking about conversion from a card catalog. The data would already be in a database, and that could be converted pretty easily. It's a much simpler process to change software than to move from card to computers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hearingaid (216439)

          The data would already be in a database, and that could be converted pretty easily.

          Most of it shouldn't even need to be converted. It should be in MARC Bibliographic [loc.gov] format, which is generally fairly easy to transfer between databases.

          Where you get into the proprietary stuff is in the location databases: the databases which say that, say, Nicomachean Ethics is available in the Jefferson or Adams Building General or Area Studies Reading Rooms.p>But really, let's be realistic. The major OPAC package is Voy

          • by DenialS (21305) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @10:47AM (#17353446) Homepage Journal
            I'm a systems librarian, so I claim to know of what I speak.
            Most of it shouldn't even need to be converted. It should be in MARC Bibliographic format, which is generally fairly easy to transfer between databases.

            This is true, as far as the bibliographic information goes. There are lots of open-source packages for working with MARC records, like pymarc (Python) [textualize.com] or File_MARC (PHP) [php.net]. But the rest of the system is proprietary: holdings records, (which copies do you hold, in which locations, and where is that copy currently - loaned out, lost, on reserve, etc), circulation records, user records, acquisitions records. Sure, it's all just a database schema mapping exercise, if your vendor's license allows you to touch that data directly. Sadly, the past generation of libraries seems to have accepted vendor lock-in as a matter of course; a mistake that we're paying for now and which led directly to the development of Evergreen.

            But really, let's be realistic. The major OPAC package is Voyager, which runs on top of Oracle, so runs on anything that runs Oracle. Libraries that don't have Voyager are pretty much all just wishing they could afford it (and the Oracle licenses).
            Wow. This is just so wrong that I don't know where to begin. First, Voyager is far from the market leader (in either usable interfaces or in market share). See Second, the underlying database doesn't mean a thing if you aren't given the APIs to actually modify or extend your primary application, unless you're willing to reimplement the entire application -- in which case, why bother paying for a library system in the first place. And in most cases, when the vendor has made an API available, you have to pay extra fee per potential developer to receive the documentation and to be eligible for paid support for their API (which, of course, is an additional support fee over and above your standard support fees). Third, most librarians I know couldn't care less about what technology their system is built on. They're focused on providing the best possible service to their users. Over the past few years, the library community has started to realize that there are some pretty cool Web interfaces out there in the wild that their vendors aren't providing for us. So we've been going through exercises like NCSU's use of Endeca [ncsu.edu] (on the proprietary side) and Koha [koha.org], Evergreen [open-ils.org], and WPopac [maisonbisson.com] (on the open-source side) to try and correct the situation. Librarians rock, you know.
        • The data would already be in a database, and that could be converted pretty easily.

          You're assuming a)The data isn't in some horrid proprietary database (lot of them didn't even run DOS, and the system my high school had used serial terminals for everything) b)that the original authors of the software were good DBAs. c)That someone will work for free to do said conversion.

          • by dangitman (862676)
            A. No, I'm not assuming that it isn't in a proprietary database
            B. No, I'm not assuming the original authors were good DBAs.
            C. No, I never said it would be free.

            I'm not sure why you assume that I assume these things, as none of them are mentioned in my post. Even with these three factors, conversion from one electronic system to another is most likely to be easier and quicker than going from a card system to an electronic system.

      • I don't recall how they managed to link barcodes to books; whether each book was pre-assigned a specific barcode, or barcodes were applied and the system brought into sync via hand entry. Back in the late 80's I helped set up a library and the bar codes were stuck onto the book and you'd add it to the system by readin the bar code into an "add book" menu which then let you enter the various details. Having just set up OpenDB for a community radio station (OpenDB lets you configure FreeDB, Amazon and other s
      • by theurge14 (820596) *
        I did this for my junior high school back in 1989. We had a PC with one of those barcode reading light pens and stacks upon stacks of barcode stickers. Early on the two adults running the school library realized I had some sort of born knack for computer smarts, they put me, a 7th grader, in charge of organizing the effort. The way we converted the library over to barcode was we put a barcode sticker on each book as it was checked out to a student, and the kids with lightning fast data entry skills (me a
  • by N7DR (536428) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:02PM (#17349912) Homepage
    I thought that these were interesting items in their FAQ:

            6. What license is this software going to be released under?
            We are releasing this software under the GPL.

            8. What core technologies are you utilizing?

                    * Database: Postgresql
                    * Logic/glue languages: C and Perl
                    * Webserver: Apache, mod_perl
                    * Server operating system: Linux
                    * Server hardware: x86-64
                    * Messaging core: Jabber
                    * Client side software: XUL

    I was especially happily surprised to see jabber there. I have long thought that jabber is vastly underrated and under-used.

    The entire FAQ is at:
        http://www.open-ils.org/faq.html [open-ils.org]

    • by aaronl (43811)
      Definitely agreed about Jabber; it really is a great system. Don't forget that Google Talk is Jabber, btw. That's getting used a good bit more lately.
  • why do all the neat websites require JavaScript?
    • Because Javascript does some neat things, despite it's bad rep. And it's the only client side scripting language that you can count the client having.
      • by gardyloo (512791)
        Because Javascript does some neat things, despite it's bad rep.

                Agreed.

        And it's the only client side scripting language that you can count the client having.

                No. No it's not. That's not to say that I can count on a client having other scripting language, but that Javascript is NOT ubiquitous, and certainly not guaranteed to be updated if it IS present.
        • No. No it's not. That's not to say that I can count on a client having other scripting language, but that Javascript is NOT ubiquitous, and certainly not guaranteed to be updated if it IS present.

          It's close enough as to not make a difference. Look at it this way; How many browsers out there don't support javascript? How many people are using them? Now how many people have javascript turned off?

          I think you'd find that the numbers involved are excedingly low.
          • by grcumb (781340) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @08:43PM (#17350646) Homepage Journal
            Look at it this way; How many browsers out there don't support javascript?

            Googlebot, for one.

            How many people are using them?

            Millions and millions. 8^)

            There are extremely strong technical reasons not to rely on JavaScript to deliver content. This is just one of the most obvious.

            By all means, go ahead and use JavaScript. Just don't rely on it, or you'll be sorry.

            • There are extremely strong technical reasons not to rely on JavaScript to deliver content.

              I agree with this, mostly. For my part, I use javascript as a sort of helper of the webpage; If it's not present, no big loss.

              But following your argument, they shouldn't use CSS either.
              • by grcumb (781340)

                But following your argument, they shouldn't use CSS either.

                No, following the same line of reasoning leads to the conclusion that CSS should be encouraged. It follows the maxim of separating content from presentation, and makes it easier for content to be accessed in a completely agnostic fashion.

                JavaScript is a good thing when it's used to enhance the presentation of a site. It becomes a bad thing when it's used as the sole means of viewing the contents of a site. CSS helps to keep HTML from falling vic

            • The visually impaired, especially htose using text->speech synthesizers, have real problems with most Javascript. Given how much Javascript is also done incredibly badly, there's really no excuse for most of it.
  • Nice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tehSpork (1000190) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:04PM (#17349932)
    I'm a college student and have been working part-time at a local library for the past few years to pay the bills.

    Our library consortium uses something called Polaris, by Gaylord Information Systems. It's among the worst pieces of software I have ever had the opportunity to use, and it is completely proprietary and Windows based. It's a pain in the ass to get anything done, and is missing several key features (such as customizable reports) that would make our lives much easier. Coming from a company called "Gaylord" what can we expect, eh?

    Hopefully Evergreen gains enough steam to get our consortium to at least consider it, however considering that most of the IT people employed by the consortium can't even figure out how to manage Windows servers it's likely they'll opt for something easer for them to administrate. :(
    • The key to a good Open Source setup is planning. You could use the code from the original article, or KOHA (which AFAIK also comes on a LiveCD which is a quick way to play with it). If you need to 'sell' the solution you could use the following arguments:

      - higher stability (the original reason why (F)OSS gained prominence waaaay before desktops)
      - lower maintenance: most Linux platforms measure uptimes in months, not days
      - higher capital efficiency: you'll have more money available for customising (I once
    • by Artemis (14122)
      I was the Technology Manager at a local library for 3+ years and in charge of the migration from Galaxy (GIS' old ILS) to Polaris. While it certainly has some problems and is missing some features, it is not all that bad. You can access any of the data you need directly from the MS SQL Server database, including reporting information. You can also modify/customize reports easily using Crystal Reports, licenses for this are included in all Polaris contracts.

      FYI - the company is no longer called Gaylord or
  • by ezavada (91752) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:05PM (#17349942)
    These seems to me to be the perfect way for Open Source to make rapid progress and gain further acceptance. By targetting key industries that are only served by expensive software packages that are poorly supported or require expensive support contracts, Open Source can provide a obvious and undeniable cost and quality improvement over closed source software. This is doubly so for industries where the needs are well understood. In addition to library management software, I would suggest that class scheduling and enrollment/registration software might be another area. Universities and schools pay millions for this software, and it's usually pretty primative stuff. Inventory management and cash register software might be another area.
    • by NineNine (235196)
      undeniable cost and quality improvement over closed source software

      Quality? Just because it's Open Source? Puh-lease. Take a look at the current financial software offerings in the OSS world, for example. None of them can hold a candle to the $200/year Quickbooks that you can buy in Wal-Mart.
      • by dangitman (862676)
        No, because this Evergreen system looks to be a high-quality system - and so much commercial software in the field sucks ass. I believe that's what the GP was talking about with the "undeniable improvement." A monkey with a typewriter and a compiler could do a better job of writing the software than many of the library systems in the market. We aren't talking about personal financial software, that's an entirely different market. But you seem to have deliberately missed the part in the GP post where he said
    • In addition to library management software, I would suggest that class scheduling and enrollment/registration software might be another area. Universities and schools pay millions for this software, and it's usually pretty primative stuff.

      The scheduling problem at universities is a harder problem to solve than one might think at first glance, believe me...we had to develop exactly this type of system for the lower division software engineering course and the professor chose this problem on purpose becau
      • As it turns out many of these scheduling optimization problems are in the NP complete class of problems.

        Scheduling is indeed in NP. But, the mathematics behind the scheduling and the interface are currently (generally speaking) both crap. I could do the mathematics -- probably map the problem into CPLEX [ilog.com] which, while not free, is indeed considered much faster for nearly all LPs, ILPs, MILPs, etc than the open sourced flavors. Of course, being the good programmer I like to think I am, I'd write the set of
    • by asuffield (111848)

      I would suggest that class scheduling and enrollment/registration software might be another area. Universities and schools pay millions for this software, and it's usually pretty primative stuff.

      Purchasing of software for this purpose is often highly political. No attempt is made to choose the best software for the job - instead, the one which pays the largest kickbacks is chosen. Replacing it is not feasible at most sites.

      Inventory management and cash register software might be another area.

      Cash registers

      • by theurge14 (820596) *
        Point of sales devices are advancing pretty far to where they're not just primitive or proprietary now. The prepaid wireless phone industry doesn't just sell their minutes on those cards, there is also software written for these POS machines that print up top-up PINs at the register, as well as handle things like money transfers, bill payments, ID card validation, gift cards, etc. Companies like VeriFone, Lipman and Ingenico do provide some default programs for the POS machines they manufacture, but most
    • by solferino (100959)
      The software discussed in the article is released under the GPL so perhaps you could respect the users and creators of that license and refer to Free Software rather than Open Source as you have in your comment.
  • I'm a member of LASFS, [lasfs.info] this world's oldest SF club. We also have one of the three biggest publically available SF and Fantasy libraries on the West Coast. Our librarian has been looking for better software to help keep track of our collection, and I've just emailed him the link. Thanks, Slashdot for the info!
    • by griffjon (14945)
      You should also look at Koha (koha.org), another OSS library system. It's... a bit overly complicated I feel, and importing any exisiting data into it is a royal $%^$%&$^&$%###^$&#!! which makes you learn the marc library record system, but it's a powerful system, and - once you get it into your head - easy to modify for your own needs.
  • Successful projects need to be well-packaged in order to succeed, particularly complicated ones like Evergreen.

    I don't see any RPM or Debian packages. Do they exist? Is there a ready-to-install image?
    • Re:packaging? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:21PM (#17350018) Homepage Journal
      Successful projects need to be well-packaged in order to succeed,

      I think a project this size is going to need someone competent enough to untar a tarball to run things. Packaging isn't as big a deal for complex server software as it is for desktop or commodity server software.
      • by oohshiny (998054)
        I used to install all the GNU stuff from source, before any binary packaging existed, so I'm perfectly capable of doing it. However, it took a lot of my time. These days, it comes prepackaged and tested and it saves me a lot of time. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, if it hasn't been packaged (and that includes integration and testing) for my distribution, it doesn't exist. I think a lot of other competent people basically have the same view.
      • Even the world's best developers don't have time to waste: failing to properly bundle the software is begging for conflicts with existing software. They'renot Oracle: they don't have a big enough customer base to write a software installer that bad.
    • by DenialS (21305)

      It's a lot more complex than just running rpm against a tarball. This application depends on Apache, PostgreSQL, a Jabber server, libmemcached, CVS versions of SpiderMonkey and the lib-dbi / lib-dbd packages, and a host of Perl modules. Georgia's installation runs on top of 25 servers. Getting a secure, stable system up and running was understandably the Evergreen team's first priority; making the source and as much documentation available as they already have was a courtesy that they didn't even have to e

  • by shoethelinuxlibraria (1043128) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:57PM (#17350160) Homepage

    Also check out Koha [koha.org], which is going to be launched at the Meadville Public Library in PA early next year, and has been in place in a few libraries throughout the world. It runs natively on Linux... I've gotten it to run on my home box (I am currently doing archives work for a local organization) and I think it holds its own against Horizon, III, Aleph and the big boys of integrated library systems.

    I wanted to try out Open-ILS/Evergreen, but had some issues getting it to run. Granted, I didn't try as hard as I did with Koha.

    In terms of Linux in libraries, there are a few devoted people (and the numbers are growing) pushing for it. I swear, it can not be beat in the public computing arena.

    An open ILS just makes sense. It is easily customized, cheaper in the long run, and really, all the ILS software is served through web pages now anyway. Why are libraries spending up to $10,000 a seat for this stuff? It's the learning curve. And FUD.

    • by bencc99 (100555)
      it holds its own against Horizon, III, Aleph and the big boys of integrated library systems.

      Not even close - I've been keeping an eye on Koha and Evergreen, but they're missing a *lot* of features that our commercial ILS has . It costs an awful lot of money to run (and even more to buy in the first place), but until they support things like EDI, serials, and proper acquisition management it'll be very difficult to sell them to big libraries, even with the obvious cost savings. Koha has got a lot better late
  • Libraries have had computerised inventory systems allowing people to check books in and out for an extremely long time. But they always use technology to fill a need. They don;t go overboard, and aren't fooled by hype from well dressed marketing people. They see technology as a tool and don't expect it to do more than it is designed to do. As a result, they tend to be pretty succesful.

    Other government departments seem to do the exact opposite.

    Perhaps we should get the nations librarians to run gove
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @07:08PM (#17350204) Homepage
    I've been following this and other OSS ILS projects like Koha on and off for a while. I was working at City College of San Francisco on the student ID barcode project. That was mostly being driven by the CCSF Library. They hated the long lines every semester when students lined up to get their barcodes manually affixed to their ID cards so they could use the PCs in the library to check email and the like. My boss and I developed a way for the SCT Banner system to produce barcodes directly on student IDs.

    In the process, my boss and I were made aware that the Library was planning to dump their ancient Dynix ILS and switch to a new one. I tried making a case that they would be better off spending the $100,000 budgeted for the new system on developing an OSS one (paying me to do it, of course!) which would give them more control over the result. So I researched a lot of the OSS ILS projects going on. Evergreen seemed very promising.

    The CCSF Library ended up going with a proprietary system - and guess what? They got screwed at least partially. The company promised to integrate the library checkout counter portion of the system with the SCT Banner student database that CCSF uses. This was a requirement and the library put it in the contract. And sure enough, as soon as the money changed hands, the company reneged on the requirement (because integrating anything with Banner is not a trivial task). Some personnel from the CCSF ITS department had to devote considerable time to providing a work-around.

    So I'm glad Georgia managed to get Evergreen out and it seems to be working well, at least from the initial reports. They also managed to get it working fairly quickly as large OSS projects go. I think they were only at it for a couple years. And ILS's are not trivial projects. There are library industry technical standards that have to be adhered to and the end user usability issues are enormous. The acquisitions side tends to be complex (especially on the magazine subscription side), and the MARC record standard is not a simple thing to translate into a relational database schema.

  • 25 years ago... (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @07:51PM (#17350414) Homepage
    My wife (a retired library science professor) wanted to do this 25 years ago. No one was interested.
  • Of course (Score:4, Funny)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @07:52PM (#17350422) Journal
    they were going to run everything on top of Ubuntu until it was discovered that a certain M. Shuttleworth did not return that copy of "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" back in '89. If only he'd of used that $20 million to pay that stupid book fine instead of a weeks vacation in space!
  • for quite some time, i've been looking for a open source or cheap low-end library management system for my church's small library. something that would let people create an account, log in and then check out books themselves. (there's no librarian sitting there) Then, send them email reminders when a book is due. Other cool things would be: browse the collection on the library computer or online; if a book is checked out, you can send a message to whoever has it; reserve books online; book data input from A
    • by DenialS (21305)
      Sure. Check out OSS4LIB [oss4lib.org] for a list of different open-source library systems. On the smaller end of the scale, OpenBiblio [sourceforge.net], PhpMyLibrary [phpmylibrary.org], and Emilda [emilda.org] get mentioned a fair bit.
    • by lavaface (685630)
      You might want to check out billmonk.com. I ran across the site a while ago and to tell the truth, haven't used it a bit. But the concept seems cool. You can use it to track loans (of CDs, books, money or clothes) among a community of friends. I haven't used it because I haven't enlisted any friends to sign up. It could be useful for your situation although I don't believe the software behind the site is extensible or that its possible to create groups or communities. (*sigh* web 3. where art thou?)
  • This sounds like a really fantastic, useful adoption of Open Source. Has anything else this useful in the real world been done with Open Source apart from, say, Apache?
  • by Black Acid (219707) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @09:52PM (#17350906)
    from /Evergreen-ILS-1.0.1/Evergreen/src/extras/import/d rain-batgirl-charge.pl:

    #!/usr/bin/perl

    use strict;
    use DBI;

    my $dbh = DBI->connect('DBI:mysql:database=reports;host=batg irl.gsu.edu','miker','poopie');


    They're also using PostgreSQL, as described in the FAQ, but the FAQ has no mention of MySQL. Someone should probably change the MySQL password on batgirl.gsu.edu, if they haven't already.
  • by edmicman (830206) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @10:01PM (#17350948) Homepage Journal
    Wow, just skimmed that site and played with the demo a bit and it looks pretty awesome. I used to do some tech work for a local library, and they used a management system from Follett, and had a massive upgrade from an older version to a newer version while I was there. Does Evergreen offer any sort of importing or upgrading from other management systems? This sound like it would be very beneficial to public libraries, especially if the regional co-ops/consortiums adopted it. But unless they can easily import their existing catalogs into the OSS software, they're probably not going to want to re-add and redo their existing setups altogether.
  • Very Impressed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wolf08 (1008623) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @10:26PM (#17351030)
    I find it very encouraging that education and oss are working hand in hand, because they are both heading toward the same goal of information.
  • Uh, from reading the article, they built a software product on their own and decided to release it with a GPL license. Why does that mean they have staked their future on OSS? I havne't stake my future on OSS, but I have released code with a 'free to use however you want' license (really 'open' source) several times. A little bit of hyperbole perhaps?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DenialS (21305)
      Yes, really. I think its fair to say that this particular set of libraries (almost the entire set of libraries in the state of Georgia) has staked its future on an open-source library system: they're staking their future not just on the code they've developed and released to open source, but also on Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, Perl, SpiderMonkey, Mozilla/XUL, Jabber, lib-dbi / lib-dbd, and umpteen Perl modules. Take away the OSS pieces that make up that system, and you take away their ability to function as
      • by Assmasher (456699)
        Perhaps, but they have two developers who chose to use OSS to implement their ideas. If the state/federal governments for some reason suddenly mandated that OSS was not to be used in libraries, the exact same design could quite easily be replicated without using OSS. This is why they haven't "staked their future" on OSS. The have implemented the system using OSS, but it they haven't staked their future on it. Only companies and/or individuals who seek to profit from OSS have staked their futures on it,
  • In fact, I have it here on an FC6 system, and I've now installed about 10 more -dev packages, but still cannot make it compile. If anyone knows the correct syntax of what to launch to build it, and has a list of perl stuff it needs, I'd appreciate a hand.

    --
    Cheers, Gene

  • Star Trek: "The Motion Picture" that is (as the rest were obviously slide shows of still images ?). Anyway - what I was thinking of was all of that immense alien tech wrapped around the original, and (in the movie) irrelevant idea that was Voyager 6. It seems the librarians have created a technological monster, that can sort, index, virtualise and publish on the whim of the user, but then there's a bit of an anticlimax as the end result is: you get the book you were looking for. I mean - why didn't it

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