ATHENS, OH--December 20, 2006--LibLime, the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, announced today that the Crawford County Federated Library System (CCFLS) in Pennsylvania has chosen LibLime to support their new Koha ZOOM system. The nine-library system leveraged its own IT staff to implement and customize Koha, and selected LibLime's Koha ZOOM Basic package for additional support. CCFLS is set to go live by February 2007.
"CCFLS spent a year evaluating five different integrated library systems," says John Brice, director of the Meadville Public Library and System Administrator of CCFLS. "The final decision to use Koha was based on the fact that we could modify the software to fit our policies and not have to modify our policies to fit the software." In short, Koha offered CCFLS what they wanted most: freedom to customize and steer the development of their ILS.
In addition to taking advantage of the rich functionality sponsored by other libraries, CCFLS decided to give back to the open-source community by becoming a major sponsor of Koha's Zebra integration--an effort lead by LibLime to improve the underlying architecture and scalability of the system. Brice explains, "LibLime understands Koha and knows how to integrate enhancements and improvements so that the application is improved, not just for one library, but the whole Koha community. LibLime has been an effective partner for CCFLS in helping develop and install Koha throughout our nine libraries. We look forward in working with LibLime in the future."
Following sponsored development, Cindy Murdock--CCFLS' Network Administrator--began the task of merging nine library databases into one and the process of customization began. CCFLS decided to implement a custom interface for Koha's intranet based on their unique usability requirements. "When evaluating other circulation systems, CCFLS found that no one program had the user interface we desired. So following the open-source philosophy, we developed our own!" explains Brice. CCFLS' new intranet interface--developed by Kyle Hall--
achieves usability tailored to CCFLS staff and users. "CCFLS is rather unique in that all nine of our libraries are independent of each other, and different libraries have varying degrees of staff knowledge with computers," says Brice. "We designed the interface so that every activity has a unique large colored button or tab. So when someone calls for help, we can simply say 'click on the purple tab.'"
CCFLS plans to contribute their interface design back to the Koha project as a 'theme', supporting Koha's philosophy of collaborative and library-driven development. Any library using Koha ZOOM can then choose that theme for their own intranet. Yet the flexibility of Koha isn't just limited to changing how stuff 'looks', but offers freedom to customize functionality as well. For instance, CCFLS customized their new interface to enable widely-used reports to be generated with the click of a button--a usability feature based on
feedback from their own staff. "By just clicking on a few boxes libraries can create statistical reports that summarize very specific areas of operation. For example, reports can be generated that just show which books were circulated to children during the summer reading program." CCFLS will also be contributing back to the project a Firefox plugin that tracks each library's checkouts (written by Hall) as well as several migration scripts.
Using Koha ZOOM, CCFLS leverages their unique skills and resources to promote library technologies that truly evolve with the expectations of their staff and community. "Using canned software developed for a one size fits all world is no longer an effective solution," said Brice. "Open-source software allows libraries to take control of their technology. You will not necessarily save time or money implementing open source. However, what you gain is priceless: complete control."
Since it was first put into production in early 2000, Koha has enabled new realities of open access, affordability, and free innovation for hundreds of small and medium-sized libraries around the world. Koha has lived up to its name, which means 'Gift' in the Maori language of New Zealand. From the outset, many libraries understood the power of this gift. They downloaded it, they installed it, they changed it, and they contributed their solutions back to the library community.
Several companies around the world support Koha, providing libraries with a full array of services including installation, migration assistance, data integrity testing, staff training, software maintenance, support and customization. To learn more about what services are available visit: http://koha.org/support/
About Koha ZOOM
Koha ZOOM represents a generational leap in Koha's development. Notably, it includes a powerful search engine based on Zebra, a high-performance indexing and retrieval engine. Koha ZOOM's search engine can read structured records in practically any input format (eg. email, XML, MARC) and allows access to them through exact boolean search expressions and relevance-ranked free-text queries. It supports large databases (more than ten gigabytes of data, tens of millions of records) as well as incremental, safe database updates on live systems.
To try out Koha ZOOM for yourself, visit LibLime's demos: http://liblime.com/demos
As the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, LibLime offers a refreshing alternative to expensive proprietary software. LibLime's mission is make to open-source software accessible to libraries by offering affordable and customizable open-source library technology solutions, such as Koha and Evergreen. LibLime also provides services on these software products including:
migration assistance, staff training, and software maintenance, support, and development.