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Open Source and Pennsylvania Public Libraries

October 18, 2009

Open Source and Pennsylvania Public Libraries

I met up with a fellow PASSHE librarian, Jane Hutton, and we both headed to the Open Source session, figuring we would learn something of interest to academic libraries.

First up was Ann Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia
Wish list for catalog, currently unable to do:
Customer tagging
FRBR (1 record for all different formats, editions of a title)

IMLS grant for Kings County, Maryland (?) will be creating a knowledge base for libraries considering open source

FLP, during recent budget crisis, used a ‘staff forum’ to keep everyone up to date and scotch any false rumors

Also used a staff wiki, for 53 different agencies within FLP, for Programming Directory

Borrowed code frokm NYPL for popup window that everyone visiting their page saw

They use Cold Fusion and Javascript and really like open source. Some favority sites:
Authority for open source Cold Fusion projects
Site for staff forum application we are using
Repository of Cold Fusion functions

Betsey Allen, Schlow Centre Region Library
-provided her handout, they are located in central PA, main library is in State College
-all libraries in district have different catalogs, worked with Liblime to create DPAC (their opac), DCAT (cataloging) and DILL (interlibrary loan)
-Use Open Office and Google Apps and Drupal for library web page, and Dim Dim for conferencing

ILS systems in district:
Horizon (Sirsi, end of life)
AmLibs (now owned by OCLC)
Millennium (though HSLSC)
Exploring Koha and Evergreen – test versions

-district plan was needed, got library directors together and brainstormed and decided they wanted an open source, common ILS (and not too costly)
-merging systems of 2 libraries has shown a real benefit to end users

Outstanding questions:
-functionality requirements
-consortium granularity vs. high-level demands
-acquisitions – vendor integration, SIP
-autonomy vs. standard rules

State has been interested in working on a statewide open source project, and the district wants to make sure they are in step with the project

John Brice, Crawford County Library System – 9 libraries, Meadville Public Library
-using open source (Koha)
-operating system doesn’t really matter, browser is more important as that’s the way the user accesses the info
-programming is an easily taught skill (in community colleges)
-has a full-time programmer, but are not paying any license fees

-started in New Zealand, built with open source programs and tools, Uses MySQL, Apache, written with Perl, full international MARC support, Z39.50 compliant
-installed all over the world, strong support on foreign library market
-uses FRBR to begin with
– 17 countries worldwide, go to
-Invest money to get exact system you want – they always buy the absolute best hardrives they can
-Their programmer developed their own interface for staff side of Koha
-They use LibraryThing for their pictures, which are free
-His presentation is at

Had to leave early so was unable to catch the rest of the session…

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