The University of Minnesota Libraries (Twin Cities) announces the open source software release of LibData: Library Web Management System. LibData is a library-oriented web-based application consisting of an integrated database architecture and authoring environment for the publication of subject pathfinders, course-related pages, and all purpose web pages. This application was designed for, but is not limited to, academic and public libraries. LibData was built with open source components (Apache, mySQL, and PHP) and is being offered as open source to the library community under the GNU Public License. The software and its extensive documentation can be downloaded from Plato, a test foundry for the Libraries' Digital Library Development Laboratory (plato.lib.umn.edu) and soon on SourceForge (sourceforge.net/projects/libdata). For more information, please contact John Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director, University Libraries Digital Library Development Lab, or Paul Bramscher (email@example.com), LibData LeadDeveloper.
The goal of publishing dynamically-generated library web pages through a system that integrates easy-to-use web authoring tools with a large database of information resources led the University of Minnesota Libraries to build LibData. Like many large research libraries, Minnesota provides access to thousands of resources, both licensed and freely available.
Access is presented to user in numerous ways, including through the Libraries' web site, subject pathfinders, and course-customized library web pages. LibData's master database -- which offers a framework for containing records for resources, services, library locations, staff, and more -- was designed to allow for easier management of these resources and their rapid retrieval and incorporation into the variety of web presentations that librarians create for users. LibData currently offers three distinct page authoring tools useful to both novice and expert librarian users:
- Research QuickStart Subject Builder (for subject pathfinders)
- CourseLib (for customized course-related pages)
- PageScribe (for free-form, all purpose pages)
These tools are tightly integrated with the main database, making resource management easier to control, and ensuring that library users receive well-managed, current information. LibData also features a robust staff management system, user and page statistics, and complete customizability and extensibility.
LibData was successfully moved into production at the University of Minnesota Libraries during the summer and fall of 2003. The Libraries' instance uses a central authentication and security mechanism (campus-wide .x500 directory), and has some additional functionality for enterprise portal connectivity. LibData's thorough documentation and easily-understood source code greatly enables this sort of localization and integration.
Through this open source release, the development team invites the library community to build on the foundation of LibData v.1.0 and share in its future growth and development.