[K12OSN] RE: Open Source Library Automation

Nathan Shaffer nathan at grandvache.com
Wed Feb 23 17:05:10 UTC 2005

We're using OpenBiblio in a private k-8 environment that I modified for 
their needs.  The greatest mod help was the z39.50 lookup of ISBN, ISSN 
and LCCN through the Library of Congress for Marc Records.  Since 
switching over from Chancellery software, (the old system was a mess) 
we went back and re-entered all the MARC records through this method.  
You also have the ability to import the MARC record from a file.

It's web-based, which means that anyone can access the OPAC (even from 
the LTSP labs). It uses mysql for the database structure (stable and 
portable). It's written in PHP.  Out of the box - very easy to set up, 
but you'll need to modify the reports and install YAZ and the "lookup" 
functions for greater usefulness.  The Openbiblio community (on 
Sourceforge) was very helpful in any questions I had.

Library teacher and assistants find it's ease of use wonderful, 
Classroom teachers can have their class access the OPAC from the 
classroom to look up available books for reports, research, etc. and 
also print reports for their class on overdue books.  You can even set 
it up to email patrons with overdue notices.

Koha was great, but overkill for our needs.  I test loaded 
PhpMyLibrary, but the task of customizing it for the school's needs 
seemed a bit much.  I could never get Emilda to boot up (quite a bit of 
install work there with Zebra and stuff).  OpenBiblio was easy 
installing into a Linux server ( I used RH 9.0 - Yaz had a problem with 
  FC2 and PHP4.3.8 bundled) and I spend about 2 weeks modifying 

Since I've been on vacation for the past 2 weeks, I haven't had much 
time to create much of a "library" website and modify the OPAC (it did 
take a few weeks to reindex the whole library).  If you can export your 
MARC records from your old system (and your confidence is good that the 
records are correct), it should be quick  to get OpenBiblio up and 

Here's the URL to our School and you can check out the OPAC - click on 
SJA library access, then Home Access:

Here's a new modified OPAC that I'm testing on another server that 
allows for more options in the search function:


If you have anymore questions about it, don't hesitate to ask.

nathan at grandvache.com
tech at sja.pvt.k12.or.us

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