ATHENS, OH--November 15, 2006--LibLime, the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, announced today that the Nelsonville Public Library System in Athens Ohio has just gone live with Koha ZOOM, and they couldn't be more pleased. Koha ZOOM includes a powerful, full-featured search engine based on Zebra, a high-performance indexing and retrieval engine. Koha ZOOM catapults Koha into the big leagues, improving standards-compliance, eliminating scalability limitations, and offering some of the most advanced searching technologies available. For those libraries who have been waiting for an open-source ILS that rivals the expensive proprietary systems, the wait is over. Koha ZOOM is a true enterprise-class ILS, suitable for even the largest of collections.
It is fitting that the Nelsonville Public Library System (NPL) should premiere Koha ZOOM. No stranger to open source, NPL made waves in 2002 by becoming the first public library in the U.S. to adopt an open-source ILS, and the first public library in the world to use the MARC version of Koha. "The Nelsonville Library is very proud to be the first library in the world to put this new version of Koha into production," says NPL webmaster and Koha Interface Designer Owen Leonard. "NPL has been a core contributor to Koha for years now, and we are committed to helping foster the growth and development of this open-source project which can benefit libraries all over the world. With this upgrade comes a system that rivals any in the commercial realm, and NPL is proud to have helped make it possible." Nelsonville's public catalog can be found at http://search.athenscounty.lib.oh.us/
And what makes Koha ZOOM so great? "After extensive usability testing, we realized that what patrons and staff really wanted was search behavior and interface that behaves like the successful commercial sites such as Amazon.com and Google," says LibLime's President, Technology and Koha Release Manager Joshua Ferraro. "In short, staff and patrons need an intuitive search that can practically read minds. A tall order, but that's exactly what we ended up accomplishing". As one NPL staffer put it: "This Koha upgrade is top-notch. I don't think I've ever had an easier time searching for items for our patrons."
For library staff and professionals, Koha ZOOM offers comprehensive advanced search options as well: full support for boolean and hierarchically-nested queries; searching by language, year and library-defined types. Advanced search also features sub-type limits based on audience, content, and format which utilize coded values in the MARC record.
And when ZOOM doesn't read minds on the first try?
"We've got that covered too," says Ferraro with a wink. "ZOOM'S OPAC is designed to empower the user. We've put re-sort and Amazon-style 'refine by" options where the user wants and needs them most: on the search results page." Users can sort their results by: popularity, author, title, date published and any other field the library chooses. Want to narrow your search results? By branch? Series title? Currently available items? Koha ZOOM users can.
"Koha ZOOM really leverages the full potential of the MARC format to bring advanced and intuitive search functionality to our patrons," says Owen Leonard. "The OPAC also now us to integrate content from external web services to expand and improve the information we offer to our patrons."
With a web-based interface, great self-service tools, support for important library standards like MARC and Z39.50, and lots of cool extras like enhanced content from Amazon.com, Koha is just what the doctor ordered. It's perfect for libraries looking to upgrade their legacy systems on a tight budget, or simply desiring control over the direction of their software investments. And with commercial support like LibLime, there are no barriers to implementation even for libraries limited (or no) in-house technology staff.
Open-source: the power to collaborate; the freedom to customize
Of course, the true power of open-source is in the ability to customize and to steer the direction of development. The integration of Koha and Zebra is yet another success story demonstrating the power of open-source software collaboration. As with all open-source projects, the value of sponsored development is in quality assurance. Purchasing development services guarantees that adequate time and resources are allocated to creating a production-ready product. No one library has to shoulder all development costs and, unlike proprietary software, all libraries using the product are not forced to foot the bill for development by paying hefty annual licensing fees. Libraries benefit from the developments sponsored or contributed by other libraries. Everyone wins.
"The Nelsonville Library is very grateful to Liblime," says Owen Leonard of NPL. "Without their help this radical advance in Koha development would not have been possible. Their commitment to quality and attention to detail were indispensable at every step in the process. This wasn't just an upgrade to our software, this was an upgrade to the quality of service the Nelsonville Public Library is able to offer to our patrons."
Koha libraries are coordinating their efforts and pooling resources to reach their technology goals. If you're looking to take control of your ILS, there's never been a better time.
About Nelsonville Public Library
The Nelsonville Public Library is a 7-branch library system in Southeast Ohio. NPL provides services to approximately 50,000 borrowers and has over 350,000 items in their collection. In 2002, NPL become the first public library in the U.S. to adopt an open-source ILS, and the first public library in the world to use the MARC version of Koha. Nelsonville has sponsored several functionality improvements to Koha including the initial MARC development and the Z39.50 server. NPL's webmaster Owen Leonard currently serves as Interface Designer for the Koha project.
Koha is a full-featured Open Source library management system first deployed in January 2000 at Horowhenua Library Trust. It is currently maintained by a team of software providers and library technology staff from around the globe. 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 vendor 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/. To try out Koha ZOOM for yourself, visit LibLime's demos: http://liblime.com/demos
LibLime offers a refreshing alternative to expensive proprietary software. LibLime's mission is to help libraries upgrade to open source by offering affordable and customizable open-source library technology solutions, such as Koha ILS. LibLime also provides services on these software products including: migration assistance, staff training, and sofware maintenance, support, and development.