Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FW: [RDA-L] RDA requirements in LMS

An errant, off-topic post to RDA-L that should have been private. This is in answer to a question about Koha and open-source

Hello Su Nee (I hope I got your name correct!),

Koha 3.0 works with MARCXML now. This is where you can see it in action at the John C. Fremont Library District http://jcfld.us.to/.

Again, open source is "free" but this does not mean there are no associated costs. For example, someone could say that they will give you a "free" house, and you may be happy but if they are only giving you all the wood, bricks, mortar, and so on, it still needs to be built. Some open source projects are like this; others are more advanced.

With Koha, it has advanced significantly to where you will have relatively little maintenance problems. Customizing it is actually the fun part and if you know basic web programming (HTML, Javascript, Style sheets) you can do a lot. If you don't have those skills, there is still a lot you can do, but these skills are easily and cheaply available everywhere now.

Suffice it to say, that if you want to change something in Koha, it can be done without asking anyone's permission. With proprietary software, you must ask and wait, sometimes forever. But as an example of what you can do, look at my catalog (based on Koha 2.2.7) http://www.galileo.aur.it/cgi-bin/koha/opac-main.pl which I have modified a lot. I made my own display and it works in different ways from other catalogs. For instance, I have managed to embed tutorials, and one I will suggest you look at, which is an overview of my catalog: http://issuu.com/j.weinheimer/docs/aurcatalog?mode=embed&viewMode=presentation&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Fcolor%2Flayout.xml&backgroundColor=61A900&showFlipBtn=true and then look especially at the Extend Search which is used only in my catalog: http://issuu.com/j.weinheimer/docs/extendingthesearch?mode=embed&viewMode=presentation&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Fcolor%2Flayout.xml&backgroundColor=61A900&showFlipBtn=true

Another example: I managed to work with the Worldcat API to provide automatic citations, e.g. see http://www.galileo.aur.it/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?bib=25256 and click on "Get a Citation"

It is only with open source that you can experiment in these ways. Otherwise, you can only wait and receive what the owners decide to give you. Try my Extend Search and let me know what you think.

Hosting your own web server (on a local machine) can be quite an experience. I host mine locally, and sometimes you get hit with spammers and so on and you have to deal with it yourself. These are matters beyond my capabilities, but there is a professor here who enjoys playing with perl and Linux, so between the two of us, we have been able to deal with it.

But if you don't want to deal with these things, you can find someone else to host your site, for pay. I don't know how much something like that would cost, but probably not very much. There are some hosts that specialize in Koha, also.

I want to convert to Koha3.0 but I have run into conversion problems and can't do it yet. If I could, I wouldn't waste a second!

The Extensible Catalog also looks very, very nice but I have no experience with it. http://www.extensiblecatalog.org/ It can work with Drupal, but there are lots of possibilities using plug-ins and add-ons with browsers like Firefox (also open source).

I hope this helps you.

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