London, 21st January 2009. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has chosen the Koha open source library management system to replace its existing Unicorn system. PTFS Europe will be carrying out the initial implementation and providing ongoing support.
ESO is the first library in Europe to move to Koha away from Unicorn and so marks a notable milestone for PTFS Europe.
Koha Library Management System
A major development in the library automation market over recent years has been the growth of open source software. In fact, the fastest growing sector in the library management system marketplace is open source software, of which Koha is one of the pre-eminent solutions.
With Koha, library staff access to the system is completely web-based; acquisitions, circulation, cataloguing, serials and reports can all be done through a web browser. No software is installed on library staff workstations. The online catalogue's web interface marries traditional bibliographic information and metadata descriptions with OPAC-enriched resources such as book jacket images and table-of-contents. As well as a sophisticated search engine the OPAC offers a range of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 facilities such as tagging, commenting and public and private lists. Koha can integrate with the ArchivalWare digital archiving solution as well as other federated search and link resolution services.
A key part of the migration is the ability of the team at PTFS Europe who can extract a full set of data from Unicorn and then convert and load it into Koha. In addition, by working with PTFS, ESO get the best of both worlds - the freedom offered by open source together with the benefits of getting high quality support from a commercial organisation with an excellent reputation for delivering customer service.
Uta Grothkopf and Christopher Erdmann, librarians at ESO, said, "We liked Koha one year ago, but at the time, the acquisitions module was still relatively undeveloped. After a meeting with Nick Dimant and Jonathan Field from PTFS, we were impressed by how far Koha had come. Looking at Koha, we could see how intuitive the interface is and how easy it is to navigate from one area to another. In addition, moving to an open source library system will allow us to create customized plug-ins and further develop the software together with the Koha user community. We felt secure with entrusting PTFS Europe with the data migration due to their extensive experience with our previous system, Unicorn. Overall, we felt comfortable in the hands of PTFS, who convinced us with their friendly approach and willingness to address all of our concerns."
Nick Dimant, Managing Director of PTFS Europe commented: "We are excited to be chosen for this project and welcome ESO to our community of users. We are receiving a lot of interest from existing customers of the older library management systems. Open source software seems to be coming of age right now. The current economic climate only adds to its attractions. We hope that other libraries with similarly rigorous requirements will realise the benefits of products such as Koha and the tremendous potential they offer."
About the European Southern Observatory
ESO is the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. Created in 1962, ESO provides state-of-the-art research facilities to European astronomers and astrophysicists and is supported by Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Whilst the Headquarters (comprising the scientific, technical and administrative centre of the organisation) are located in Garching near Munich, Germany, ESO operates, in addition to the Santiago Centre in Chile, three observational sites in the Chilean Atacama desert.
About PTFS Europe
PTFS Europe is implementing and supporting the Koha open source library management system as well as distributing and supporting the software products of PTFS, Inc., the leading provider of digital archiving solutions in North America. PTFS Europe is able to provide the full range of services needed to implement a library or digital archival solution, ranging from initial help defining the scope of the opportunity through to project management, installation, configuration, data conversion, scanning and digitisation, training and ongoing customer support.
More information on PTFS Europe: www.ptfs-europe.com
More information on Koha: www.koha.org
Any questions please contact: Nick Dimant: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 800 756 6803