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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Koha / demonstrating value #lianza11 #vs1

Two papers in this vendor session.

Shelley Gurney (
Giving librarians a voice - using open source libraries to build a better system

"We're too small"
"We're too big"
"You need to be a techie to run Koha" - there's always someone on listserv to help and answer questions
"It's difficult to migrate" - usually yes, but with Koha in fact you can have a painless migration
"The quality of the ILS is not great" - the British Archives, French police are using it without issues. Government departments - so security's not an issue

FOSS - Free and Open Source
Why money isn't everything - she can give us a CD now for free with the whole ILS and documentation. But will take time - which is why there are companies who can do this set-up for you.
Collaboration and community are the cornerstones of FOSS - and libraries - so we can have a say, a voice, in making it just what we want it to be. Can be customised exactly how we want.

Version 3.6.0 just released. (Upgrades every six months; bugfixes every two weeks.) Looking at using RFID with the system. Book covers, RDA compliant. Works with Te Puna, Worldcat. A library in India might ask for a new system to deal with children's books, and will pay for its development - then it's available for everyone to use.

Try it out at - reset at 6pm every evening but you can catalogue, circulate, etc just as if it was live at your library, and see how users would use it. Search history and borrower history - deleteable by user. In staff view, things most often used on left, and others linked from right. Circulation screen looks like a friendly webpage. Fast cataloguing available - with Z39.50 search so you can look up in NLNZ or LoC.

Q: Why is NZ so behind in adopting Koha?
A: Partly don't understand open source (think it's free therefore no good) and partly hesitant to change. Lots not knowing what open source really means - advises to go to these sites, look around, and ask existing users how they're enjoying it.
Comment: Often open source debate is about cost of actually maintaining it.
A: If you make it too complex this is true, but if you just take an existing system it should basically run itself (as much as, or even more than, anything else).
Comment: Used at ASB Community Trust - very small organisation and library. Migrating to Koha was so much easier than any other migration. Can pay for any specific customisations (per hour for development).
A: And if you need help, there's a turn-around of 10 minutes for an answer.

Q: Smartphone and tablet aps?
A: Some developers working with RFID and integrating with tablet aps so can walk around and scan items in the library - mobile version of the main system that you'd be able to use on your phone. Also aps for users in the library.

Stephen Pugh Oranjarra Partners
Librarians are not hospice workers: best practice strategies for demonstrating value and influence in academic libraries

Currently seems like librarians are like hospice workers - looking after the patient while it dies. Sums up issues with vendors, suppliers, aggregators - market dominance and effective monopoly.

Best practice is not new in NZ. Streamlining of collection development. Idea of return on investment. Pushback against the Big Deal.

SCS - Sustainable Collection Services - irony of someone who spent first half of his year selling big packages, now telling libraries how to get rid of them.

World class collections aren't created in a vacuum... Focus on relevant content. Academic libraries don't want to put things in silos - is it a monograph, a journal, a CD - but look at whether it's relevant. Also want to look at alternative models. Some are publisher-agnostic.

Various practical studies of return on investment. Tend to focus on research grant money but this measure is less relevant to institutions that don't have a solid sci/tech base. Likewise summits on the value of academic libraries.

Evaluation has to do with standards. Assessment has to do with goals.
Usage and such measures = implied/empirical value
Testimonials = explicit value
Time and cost savings = contingent value

Questions for your toolkit
How does your library contribute to: student retention, graduation, success achievement, learning, experience; faculty research productivity, grants, prestige.

#2 issue in facilities in recruiting students is the library (article in "Facilities Manager")

Survey (results on website)
People know of trend to measure ROI; many don't think ROI can be accurately measured but do think metrics can be applied to Collection Development activities. Think admin/funding bodies more interested in ROI than faculty/students/community. Some measuring it; more "might at some stage".

Oranjarra's work will be informed by this trend. Hard to measure to get result you want. Need to decide if it's a political issue or if there's intrinsic value in it.