Stop Arguing and Do Something

A quote from a friend who will remain nameless: “i swear to god, if the library world invested half as much time in doing things, as talking/arguing about things .. the world would be a better place”

I have to agree with this quote – especially after reading the comments on the recent article about Blacklight in The Chronicle of Higher Education and then the comment summary post on The Wired Campus (also from The Chronicle).

First off – this is supposed to be an article about the success of a library system in creating an amazing system to improve services to their patrons. After reading the chapter in Library Mashups that covered the Blacklight project I fell in love! What an amazing OPAC with amazing functionality. And it’s a chapter about librarians doing something instead of complaining about how it’s the fault of patrons and educators – not the broken system.

I don’t understand how it is that library professionals can’t see the simple fact that Google is not the enemy! And expecting patrons to know how to search systems the way we’re trained is just crazy! If they all knew how to do what we do then we wouldn’t have jobs! That said we want library patrons to at least be able to find resources in our libraries – and our OPACs are broken – so much so that in some libraries they’re useless.

I had a friend who was searching her local library for a copy of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan and couldn’t find it – she did a title search, she did an author search, and she did a keyword search – but the system in question (and many more that she tried) had most of those words listed as stop words. What if you have a patron searching for It by Stephen King? Or the O magazine? These are searches I do when demoing Koha because Koha can find these titles when many other systems can’t.

I’ve gone into a rant now – but my point is – stop blaming others – stop accepting the status quo and go out there and support the libraries who are working to fix things for our patrons – support and use open source and you’ll be shocked at how everything you thought about library automation changes.

LibraryThing for Libraries in Koha 3.2

Chris Catalfo has a post over at Thingology about the integration of Library Thing for Libraries in Koha 3.2.

The 3.2 version of Koha (which isn’t out yet) will include the improved integration for LTFL. If you are using Koha without a host, and run on the bleeding edge, you can try it now via Git.

What this does is enable and disable LTFL through the Koha Enhanced Content system preference page. Simply enter your LTFL account number (found on your LibraryThing for Libraries Account page), decide where you’d like LTFL content to display (in tabs or under other bibliographic details) and enable it. No need to edit Koha templates.

I have gotten to see it in action in my test system and it’s awesome!!!

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Koha Training/Tutorials

I love being part of an open source community!!

The amazing staff at NEKLS have done it again! They have already contributed to the Koha community with their amazing NExpress website, but now they have added training videos into the mix!! Make sure you check out their videos and their other training materials and subscribe to their site!

Also, everyone who knows Koha knows Owen and his amazing design work on Koha. Now we can all learn from his experiences by keeping up with his new Koha Blog. The first two posts help you update the header on Koha! I can’t wait to see what else he’s going to teach us.

If you know of a Koha library doing amazing things with training materials, let me know!

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Open Source ILS Library Technology Report

I haven’t gotten a copy of this report yet, so I can’t tell you (first hand) what’s covered, but I didn’t want you to miss out. So, if you get a chance, stop by your library and check out a copy of the newest Library Technology Report by Marshall Breeding (that’s what I’ll be doing).

In this issue, Breeding details the differences between using an open source approach to that of using conventional proprietary software for automated operations.

“In the past, our options were differentiated on the basis of features, functionality, price, and performance of the software and the perceived ability for a given company to develop its products into the future and provide adequate support. Do these factors differ with open source ILS products?”

Breeding’s report can help answer that question as well as defines open source and provides an overview of the various open source options currently available to libraries, including Koha and Evergreen.

Keep an eye out for more info from me after I get a chance to read this guide.

Want to learn more about Koha?

Years after the first KohaCon in France, the planning of a US conference has finally begun. This from the Koha Mailing List:

April 16-17th I’m looking to host a Koha innovations and sharing group here in the US. – Plano Texas would be the place. This is a reserved date – more info to come.

This 2 day workshop would have lab access and presentation space. There would be a charge to cover lunch both days and other misc expenses. Any leftover money would be given to the KUDOS users group as seed money.

If you would be interested in attending, presenting or sharing – something that you have done along with sitting in and learning about what other users and what the developers are working on let me know!

David Schuster
Plano Texas
going live Jan 5th, 2009 as a LibLime customer! – this is open to all koha users and those interested. More information on the schedule to come after I figure out interest.

Read the email and keep up the planning by signing up for the Koha List. Also, be sure to check out the Koha Wiki for more info.

Library Automation Perceptions 2008

It’s that time of year again. Marshall Breeding has posted information on how to participate in his Perceptions 2008 International Library Automation Survey:

We live in interesting times when it comes to automation strategies in libraries. Competition intensifies between traditional companies licensing their products and a new wave of open source challengers. I think that it is important to pursue research that gauges the effectiveness of the various approaches to help other libraries make decisions regarding their automation strategy.

Last year, I conducted the inaugural version of this survey, which resulted in the report titled “Perceptions 2007: an international survey of Library Automation.” The 2007 survey included responses from 1,779 libraries.

This survey is well known and highly regarded – so make sure your opinion is heard!! Read Marshall’s instructions and participate ASAP.

Reviews by LibraryThing

I mentioned that I was waiting to hear more from Tim about the LibraryThing Reviews for your library catalog. Well, Tim has finally posted about it – and it’s even more awesome than I thought.

Tim compares the LibraryThing service to ChiliFresh and shows that LibraryThing is going to give you a far superior number of reviews for popular titles:

Pulitzer Prize winners Chilifresh LibraryThing
2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz 1 review 24 reviews
2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy 8 reviews 199 reviews
2006 March by Geraldine Brooks 1 review 50 reviews
2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson 0 reviews 45 reviews
2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones 1 review 40 reviews
2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 1 review 120 reviews
2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo 1 review 32 reviews
2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon 1 review 69 reviews
2000 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 0 review 27 reviews

When push comes to shove, you don’t need 199 reviews. But Putlizer winners are popular books. When a popular book has 199 reviews, less popular books will have five or ten. Conversely, if Gilead and Interpreter of Maladies can’t get a review, the rare stuff definitely won’t have it.

Read all of the details at Thingology and start convincing everyone at your library that you need this awesome feature :)

Reviews from LibraryThing

I love LibraryThing (and the staff at LibraryThing). They come up with the best tools (aside from the tools from the LibLime developers :) hehe). Anyway, I just got a sneak peak of ‘Reviews at my Library’ from LibraryThing after reading a short post at the Thingology blog.

We’ll be at Internet Librarian in Monterey, CA, Monday-Wednesday. We’re at booth 316, in the boonies, I think.

We’ll be showing off LibraryThing for Libraries and our new “Reviews at my Library.”

We’re going to blog “Reviews at My Library” on Monday or Tuesday, but you can take a sneak peak at reviews in action at High Plains Library District or Los Gatos Public Library.

I can’t wait to read more, but for now you can see the demos linked to above.

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Congrats NEKLS

A few weeks ago I got to to Kansas and train the NEKLS librarians on how to use the Koha ILS. While many libraries have been migrating to Koha (or choosing to migrate soon), NEKLS is the first that I’ve seen create a website for all of their libraries (and anyone else) to learn from as they train their staff on the new system.

So, congrats to NEKLS on going live with their new Koha 3.0 ILS!!!

Keep up with the process on the NExpress website and Facebook page.

Koha 3.0 Released

This from the Koha mailing list:

Hi folks,

I’m happy to announce that a packaged release of Koha 3.00.00 is now available. You can download from the usual location:

Release notes and more information can be found on the official Koha site.

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