This years Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland’s annual seminar took place in Ballinasloe Library on Monday 11th June 2018, centering on the theme of challenging times. The programme was thought-provoking and diverse.
Maura Stephens and I presented on the trials and triumphs of going open source which was based on GMIT Libraries experience of migrating to a web-based open-source integrated library system.
GMIT Libraries went live with Koha, a little over a year ago. It’s safe to say that not only has the past year been challenging but the period of implementation prior to going live was also extremely demanding. Koha is “the most advanced open-source Integrated Library System in use today by hundreds of libraries worldwide” (http://www.koha.org/about). Koha is a fully featured Integrated Library System (ILS), there is no cost for the license, you have the freedom to modify the product and adapt it to your Library’s needs. This presentation concentrated on GMIT Libraries experience of planning, implementing, using and reflecting on Koha together with considering the other parties involved with supporting Koha, including Interleaf Technology, PTFS Europe and EduCampus.
We discussed the software installation, data entry, data migration and UAT’s before going on to deliberate exploiting Koha. We discovered that we needed to do a great deal more work than anticipated to adapt the software to local needs. The dialogue focused on the benefits and drawbacks of implementing and using Koha. Discussing the stability, adaptability and user friendliness of the system, along with the availability of core modules together with their completeness and productivity. Koha currently supports the following library functions in a relatively easy to use interface: circulation, acquisitions, cataloguing, serials and the OPAC. With the latest Koha release there is basic framework built into the system for adding ILL support and workflows; this is somewhat a work in progress. The presentation also included a synopsis of integrating a discovery service, an app for online past exam papers and a shared institutional repository.
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