Amzari Abu Bakar came up after me to talk about the Koha experience in Malaysia.
Amzari started by telling us about the systems that libraries in Malaysia are using – they run the gambit from home grown to large proprietary systems. From 2005 to 2008 only three libraries (one special, one school and one small academic) in Malaysia were known to be using Koha (as said earlier there is no way to know for sure how many libraries are using it since it can be downloaded and installed by anyone). Those libraries that weren’t choosing Koha were not exposed to open source and didn’t have confidence in the available support.
In 2008 things changed though. There was now a reference site and word of improved service and support. More importantly (in my eyes) they were able to promote open source awareness in libraries. With these changes the use of Koha grew! There are 8 installations in academic libraries with more than 41 branches, 88 in school libraries (I missed the other numbers – but it all added up to more than 100 libraries which is an awesome improvement over the 3 they knew about before!)
In addition to the added education and support, this spread was because of many of the awesome Koha features and the lower costs for these libraries. This adoption has led to the formation of a Malaysia Users Group and a lot of attention from academics and researchers.
Amzari has some recommendations for further improvements including local vendors cooperating with international (more experienced) vendors to provide better services in Malaysia. They also want a certified Koha training program that is aimed at making money that can be put into Koha developments. Given the right promotion and collaboration Amzari feels that Koha will be come even more prosperous in Malaysia!
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