A collaborative project between ByWater Solutions, one of the major providers of support services for the open source Koha integrated library system, and Donohue Group Inc. proposes to develop new MARC record editing and management capabilities to support the needs of complex cataloging operations. The Donohue Group will partially fund the development of the new cataloging module, which will be supplemented by funding contributed from ByWater Solutions.
Koha has included a catalog module from its beginning, though the earliest version created in 1999 by Kapito Communications for the Horowhenua Library Trust was based on pragmatic set of fields for bibliographic records. Support for MARC was created beginning around 2002 as Koha began to find use in the United States. The Nelsonville Public Library in Athens County in Ohio sponsored a project to enhance Koha to support MARC record standards. The functionality in Koha related to cataloging, Z39.50 search and retrieval, and other related features have evolved steadily since.
The existing cataloging module supports the features needed by most libraries, but lacks some capabilities and efficiencies required by organizations with more complex and high-volume operations. Current record editing relies on many of the conventions available in web-based forms, such as drop-down selections, that are easily understood even by a novice cataloger, but that may be cumbersome for the expert cataloger accustomed to directly entering the proper tag entries.
Advanced catalogers, for example, often prefer the ability to work with the record entirely with the keyboard without having to constantly interrupt data entry to perform selections with the mouse. The proposed new record editor will be optional, because many libraries will continue to need the less efficient, but more easily understood, interface.
The business model for new features or modules for Koha usually takes the form of sponsored projects, where a library or other organization provides funding for development, which is incorporated into the general distribution upon completion and testing. The sponsoring institution benefits from new features that meet their specific need at the same time as contributing to the general advancement of the software.
The Donohue Group, Inc. has been in business for more than 30 years providing a variety of specialized cataloging and processing services for libraries, archives, and vendors. The company employs professional catalogers and assistants able to perform the specified project tasks either remotely or on the client's premises. DGI offers Publisher's Cataloging In Publication (PCIP), an alternative to the CIP service offered by the Library of Congress.
Some of DGI's current projects involve providing personnel and expertise to clean up library catalog data and physically prepare materials needed for transfer to off-site storage facilities. Under contract to publishers, academic libraries, and large library systems, DGI also provides substantial, full-level MARC records for e-resources.
The Donohue Group, Inc. was founded in 1984 by Christine Donohue, MLIS. In 2007, it was purchased by long-time employees, Audra Zimmermann, MLS and Robert Geoghegan, who now own and manage the company. The Donohue Group has used software from The Library Corporation and other sources to support its bibliographic services. As the company considered options for a new infrastructure, it reviewed the bibliographic software options currently available. None of them met the precise needs of a company providing bibliographic data services to such varied clientele. Supporting the creation of open source tools based on Koha through partnership with ByWater Solutions provided an avenue to create an environment specifically designed for its intensive workflow considerations.
For more information on the Donohue Group, Inc., see: www.dgiinc.com