ATHENS, OH -November 27, 2006- LibLime, the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, announced today that the next generation of librarians at Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX are training with Koha, the first open-source ILS.
Koha ILS was selected by Dr. Diane Neal, Assistant Professor at TWU's School of Library and Information Studies, as a learning tool for students taking coursework in library automation. Dr. Neal, formerly a Systems Librarian for University of Texas at Arlington, is a strong proponent of open-source software in libraries. "I chose Koha for several reasons," says Dr. Neal. "First, its web-based staff side interface makes it possible for students to access Koha easily from their own computers. This was a major concern, because the class is taught entirely online, and for that reason, it would be difficult for me to distribute desktop-based clients. Additionally, I believe that the philosophy of open-source software closely aligns with the philosophy of libraries as community-oriented organizations, so I choose to advocate open-source software in support of that alignment."
LibLime is hosting the demo systems for the class pro bono. "We're tremendously excited to see Koha being used in a classroom setting," says LibLime's President, Technology and Koha Release Manager Joshua Ferraro. "It is a great opportunity for librarians to get hands-on experience with open source. Nothing dispels fear of new technology like using it yourself. We're confident that the advantages of open source speak for themselves."
And how have the students reacted to the concept of open-source software in libraries? "My students have done an excellent job of weighing the advantages and disadvantages of open-source software in libraries. I assigned a discussion question on this topic, and they were quite analytical about the topic," says Dr. Neal.
Students were quick to see the advantages of open source which include the freedom to customize and cost-effectiveness, as well as the shared values which make open-source software and libraries a natural match: free access and community-driven knowledge. TWU student Vidya Krishnaswamy puts it best: "I am a strong supporter for the open-source software because its principles are so much similar and closer to the values and principles we as librarians believe which is free and equal access to data, information, and knowledge."
Is learning about library automation by using Koha likely to influence students' technology decisions when they themselves have to someday choose between open-source and proprietary software? "I am not sure yet whether this project will lead students to choose open-source or non-open-source solutions for their libraries in the future, but I am positive that the experience they are getting from this project is invaluable experience for them," says Dr. Neal. "Overall, my goal has been to provide a safe environment for students to explore the process of configuring integrated library systems, the communication issues and management decisions involved in a system configuration, and the nature of open-source software."
Neal's class, currently called Automation in the Library, will be called Library Technology Systems beginning Fall 2007. An elective course scheduled to be offered each fall, the class will introduce approximately 25 new students to Koha each quarter. In the words of TWU student Gayle Gordon: "The future of the library profession will depend in large part on how we handle technology." LibLime couldn't agree more, and we're confident that future is open source.
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.