Article: Fac-Back-OPAC: An Open Source Interface to Your Library System

Free in this month's Computers in Libraries (I get paid to write a column in same, but had no idea about this until now) is this piece by Mike Beccaria and Dan Scott:

"Fac-Back-OPAC is a faceted back­ up OPAC. This advanced catalog offers features that compare favorably with the traditional catalogs for today’s library systems. Fac-Back-OPAC represents the convergence of two prominent trends in library tools: the decoupling of discovery tools from the traditional integrated library system and the use of readily available open source components to rapidly produce leading-edge technology for meeting patron and library needs. Built on code that was originally developed by Casey Durfee in February 2007, Fac-Back-OPAC is available for no cost under an open source license to any library that wants to offer an advanced search interface or a backup catalog for its patrons."

Story on libraries and open source at

From the story at "The open source movement and libraries have a lot in common, not the least of which is the belief in free and open access to ideas and information. Yet, until recently, libraries have been slow to switch to open source software. Libraries have highly specialized software needs because the library community has developed its own complex standards and protocols to facilitate things like interlibrary loan, meta data sharing, and federated searching. Until recently, lack of commercial support made implementing open source unfeasible for libraries without an IT staff. Also, open source alternatives weren't perceived as scalable or feature-rich enough to handle the complex needs of most libraries. Now, commercial support has facilitated new levels of collaboration between libraries through sponsored development."

PALINET podcast on free software and libraries


At code4lib 2006 John Iliff of PALINET and I discussed free software in libraries for an audio podcast. I had given a lightning talk on the topic "why libraries should support the Free Software Foundation" the day before, and we touched on many of the same themes in a longer-than-lightning discussion.

Have a listen to the podcast here and please consider supporting the FSF, or any other group contributing to the free and open source software infrastructure.

Spanish translation of the paper about open source


roberto writes: "A full-text paper regarding some open source ILS (Integrated library Systems), already notified to this discussion list some months ago, has been just translated from the orginal Italian language into Spanish by Patricia Russo."

eWeek articles mention of Dell and open source


Steve writes: "Just thought others would be interested in a thoughtful opinion piece by eWeek editor-in-chief, Eric Lundquist, in the April 19 issue. It discusses his view that Dell, as the acknowledged leader in the world of Wintel PCs right now, should push Microsoft and others a bit more on behalf of consumers. He also specifically mentions the need for Dell to articulate its support for open source applications."

Open Stacks : The open source ILS


kent writes: "I don't know if this have been posted or not, I just come across this comparison of various oss integration systems."

ASU West Library Linux Conversion Complete

Perry writes: "A year and a half ago the ASU West Library made a strategic decision to move all of our public workstations and support servers from a Microsoft platform and onto a Linux platform. Some of you may remember my initial announcement. This paramount project positions our library as a leader and innovator with the use of Linux in a library setting- specifically with access workstations. This accomplishment was obtained using mainly 2 1/2 FTE over the course of 18 months sustaining the Microsoft environment while also building the new Linux environment for a quick, staged, 2-month Summer 2003 conversion. The Library has realized a 50% reduction in TCO and has an open platform positioned for creative new and customized applications and services. We are now free of Microsoft :) Since the fall 2003 semester started, our new workstations (70 stations) have been used by students and visitors over 35,000 times. We have received no complaints. The lack of complaints came as a surprise to us and breaks some standing assumptions we had about our users expectations of computer platforms and applications. A PR announcement was released at
(PR Release) and the project is viewable at:
E3 Project including the final project documentation (all 180+ pages) in PDF format. I hope you might find our project interesting, informative and useful. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.

Bibliography spec and tool links


John J. Lee writes: "Bruce D'Arcus and I (mostly Bruce, actually) have put up a relatively comprehensive list of interesting open standards and open-source software related to bibliographies and cataloging. Currently, the emphasis is on the needs of individuals and small groups rather than libraries, but given the growing overlap in the interests of these groups, the list is likely to expand to some extent to cover more library software."

Survey of Open Source Systems for Libraries


Emil writes: "Dear Colleagues, I am helping in the selection of an open source ILS to replace STAR at the UN UNIDO Library. The proposed system must operate under LINUX. If you have a list of such systems, or can direct me to such a list (or expert), I would be grateful. Please send information to my email address,"

Integration of MPS and OpenISIS


Dobrica writes: "In this article we try to answer the question "how" we implemented our WebPAC and why we decided to solve our problem going step by step and using the existing Open Source solutions, no matter how complete or inadequate they were, instead of waiting for a single "perfect" solution that would solve all our problems in one integrated package. Finally, we share with you what we have learned in this process and how our new knowledge affected creation of new requirements, as well as our future plans."

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