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Open Network Libraries Initiative Helps Libraries Collaborate

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Don Christie
Don Christie

An initiative of librarians, information managers and open source developers was announced today at KohaCon 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand. The initiative will enable libraries around New Zealand, and the world, to collaborate to provide better services using free and open source library software.

The goal is to spend less on total software costs to run libraries and more on books and other resources for the communities they serve.

Initial vendor participants in the open network libraries initiative include Catalyst IT, Katipo Communications, CALYX Information Essentials, Biblibre and KohaAloha, each of which bring their own specialties and technological skills to the library community. Library participants include Horowhenua Library Trust, the first Koha library in New Zealand, and Albany Senior High School Library, one of New Zealand's open source school. Other organisations are expected to join the network.

Jo Ransom of Horowhenua Library Trust said "Open network libraries are committed to sharing knowledge, information, and ideas. There is already an active and diverse community of librarians with bright ideas and committed community of technologists who can turn those ideas into a reality."

Two New Zealand born open source library projects are already available to participants in Open Network Libraries: Koha and Kete.

Koha, the most widely adopted open source Integrated Library System, is used by libraries worldwide. A global community of open source developers works closely with library practitioners to continually evolve Koha to meet real-world needs. Libraries using Koha have a choice of support options and avoid the potential vendor lock-in of proprietary library system software.

Kete is revolutionary open source product used by libraries and other community organisations. It is a collaboration engine that allows people to create and share information online, including images, audio, video, documents, and written content. It encourages discussion and community interaction as communities can tell their stories together.

The open source model driving the open network libraries initiative means librarians can collaborate with each other and with developers to build the technology libraries need without being bound into restrictive licensing arrangements and expensive upgrade cycles.

"Technology is rapidly transforming libraries and the role they play in our communities." said Don Christie of Catalyst IT.

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