Integration of a Free/Open Source Software Library Management System into UWIC’s Library: A Feasibility Study
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Disseminating knowledge and information sharing are basic principles of the library community. These concepts are also the basis upon which the Free Open Source Software movement is built, promoting user freedom by using, studying, modifying, copying and distributing software. For over a decade Talis Group has been providing library services to UWIC’s Library through Talis Library Management System. While Talis provides the basic requirements for UWIC’s Library to function, it is believed that there are alternatives that could improve aspects of the LMS regarding features, flexibility, and customisation according UWIC’s Library needs, which in turn would facilitate the provisioning of better services. These alternatives correspond to Free Open Source Software solutions. This study explores the feasibility of implementing a Free Open Source Software Library Management System at UWIC’s Library. One of the key starting points of this study is determining levels of satisfaction within UWIC regarding Talis LMS, and for this purpose an extensive survey has been conducted. In order to determine if, and to what extent, a FOSS alternative would provide a more satisfactory model a comparative study has been carried out between Koha and Evergreen –both Open Source Software Library Management Systems- and Talis LMS –the current UWIC’s Library Management System. The main aspects considered in this analysis are economic, technical and operational feasibility. The results from the survey have shown that, while there is a degree of satisfaction regarding UWIC’s Library’s LMS among library users, OPAC users, and staff, careful analysis of the results reveals that LMS users are not entirely satisfied with Talis LMS. The results also show that there is a desire on the part of the UWIC community to bring about improvements to the current system, and this study will demonstrate that Free Open Source Software could facilitate the implementation of these improvements.
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