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KohaCon10: Open Library and Koha

Oct - 26 - 2010
Nicole C. Engard

George Oates from the Open Library project was up next to tell us how we can use Koha with the Open Library.

The Open Library started with records from something like 30 libraries and now anyone can add books by filling in just a few required fields (but I highly recommend adding more than that first form asks for – just so that the library has more valuable info). I don’t know how to share (until there is a video) the cool visualization that George showed us regarding how Open Library takes library data and makes it human readable – but I can try. Basically they take the MARC subjects, break out all the MARC gunk and then hyperlink the terms so you can browse collections. One example of this would be this page: http://openlibrary.org/subjects/libraries.

A lot of what George covered was how to use Open Library and all the cool features. The one that I wanted to point out here is a new feature you may not have known about – Search Inside. This allows you to search inside the texts that Open Library has digitized.

It’s also important (given the conference we’re at) to mention that the Open Library is open source (github.com/openlibrary) which means that projects like Koha could benefit (maybe) from some of the code that has already been written. Also important to note that Open Library has several APIs available.

Some things that George wants to see between Koha & Open Library would be the sharing of records from Koha libraries to the Open Library. Other ways to integrate would be to pull cover images from their database, pull subjects data and maybe even a ‘send to Koha’ button.

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