Open Source for Libraries

Over 20 representatives from Welsh HE, FE and Public Libraries gathered in Swansea in April to spend a day hearing about Open Source for libraries – theory and practice.

To find some excellent notes and links to all the slides, speakers and systems, take a look at the RSC Wales post at http://blogs.rsc-wales.ac.uk/lr/2009/04/22/open-source-for-libraries-day-at-swansea/

Speakers Mark Hughes, Ken Chad and Nick Dimant gave their perspectives on the background to open source in libraries – the current environment and reasons for and against looking at open source solutions. Jonathan Field from PTFS Europe gave a detailed demo and comparison of the 2 major open source systems: Koha and Evergreen. There was also an overview of the ongoing implementation of the open source VuFind system as part of the Virtual Academic Library project in Wales. VuFind is being used to provide a common interface for searching 3 universities’ print and electronic resource collections. The project is a good example of how Wales is leading the way on library collaboration and open source development.

Mark Hughes also publicised the useful work that has been done at Swansea with RFID, resulting in the Open RFID in Libraries Specification (ORILS) being published under a Creative Commons licence. This can be re-used by anyone undertaking an RFID procurement process and work is ongoing to build a community of practice to encourage interoperability between the different RFID systems.

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