Saturday, June 27, 2009

Koha in the latest Code4Lib Journal #7

How hard can it be? : developing in open source

Over recent years, Horowhenua Library Trust (HLT) has been receiving a steady trickle of enquiries and surveys from Library students the world over wanting to know about the development of Koha. What were the conditions and mindset that allowed a little public library in Levin, NZ to not only imagine they could, but actually develop the world's first open source library management system?

So, with help from Chris Cormack, the main brain behind Koha, and Rosalie Blake, the guts and courage, I have written our journey up and it was published today in issue 7 of the Code4Lib journal.

From the introduction:

"We were a very ordinary public library in New Zealand, we had hardly any money and a library management system that was going to stop working on 1st January 2000 …. What else could we have done? And how hard could it be anyway? The librarians would tell the programmers how a library works and they would make it so. And we weren’t going to make a big deal of this ok; 3 months is loads of time."

I do want to thank Andrew Darby from the Code4Lib editorial board for his wise and patient guidance and advice which meant getting our story published wasn't that hard at all!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nose in a book

Another photo for the "aww aint that cute " category of library photos..

We don't have many 2 story buildings so I guess stairs are a bit of a novelty to sit on, and lie on and read on ....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Coromandel Community Digital Storytelling Project

One of the coolest digitization projects I have come across is the Coromandel Community Digital Storytelling Project. This is an initiative to record, preserve, and share the history and stories of the Coromandel community using Digital Storytelling.

The programme is based on the work and practice developed by the Centre for Digital Storytelling, an international not-for-profit community arts organization rooted in the craft of personal storytelling. They assist youth and adults around the world in using media tools to share, record, and value stories from their lives, in ways that promote artistic expression, health and well being, and justice.

"While the term "digital storytelling" has been used to describe a wide variety of new media practices, what best describes the approach is its emphasis on first-person narrative, meaningful workshop processes, and participatory production methods."

What happens is a crack team of IT professionals led by Vanesa James, parks up in a village hall for 3 days. They unload their equipment: a bunch of shuttle PCs, a scanner, sound recording equipment etc and then they help locals craft a short digital story persoanl to them. The product is the end goal, so the process is not the be all and end all and the storyteller doesn't need to learn how to use all the software used.

The project started in January 2008 and so far 70 stories have been produced covering a variety of topics, including history, immigration, travel, and family. The stories are wonderful. I particularly liked Snow of the Tokotea and A Floundering Experience but there are dozens of stories online at the site. And do take a look at the programme of community screenings - pretty jolly impressive!

What I am really pleased to see on offer, is that will hold Train the Trainer courses and are available for advice and support.

And here is the opportunity: for very little expense this project could be mirrored all round the country. We could have dozens of these projects operating all over the country, coordinated by local libraries, especially the Aotearoa Peoples Network ones. The APN libraries already have a foothold in the communities of NZ, can be supplied with all the necessary equipment and get a free hosted Kete in which to store and share the lovely stories which will be created.

We should do it aye...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tara Robertson on FOSS in Wellington, NZ.

Tara is a freelance librarian from Vancouver, Canada who has just moved to Wellington, New Zealand for a year. She has been a breath of fresh air, in person and online. Apart from the appeal of her vivacious personality she is really passionate about open source software, with particular experience in Evergreen and digitization projects like the Queer History access to information, intellectual freedom and travel (and Japanese cookery with dog .... weird but true).

So she has slotted very easily into Wellington, arguably the coolest city in NZ :) She has been writing a series of blog posts about Wellington's thriving Open Source community - and I was suprised to learn how much is going on.

Her first post in the 'Get Your FOSS On' series outlines the regular geeky events held in the city and the second one focus's on Wellington Library geeks including our very own Chris Cormack, Walter McGinnis and Horowhenua Library Trust.

Can't wait for the 3rd one - good on yah Tara!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thank goodness for Rodney's Mum!

Thanks to his Mum, Rodney Hyde considers Libraries core Council business ... great news considering the shake up we are likely to see in local government in NZ in the near future.

The Cabinet paper can be viewed here and the Radio interview on Morning Report here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

NZ Koha Users Group Meeting

Horowhenua Library Trust invite existing and potential Koha users and vendors to a meeting to be held on Friday the 17th July at Horowhenua District Council building, Oxford Street, Levin, from 9.30am - 4.30pm.

An agenda will be finalized on the day, but come prepared to share:
  • what version of Koha you are running,
  • any plans to upgrade to 3.0,
  • anything you are proud of or want to show off,
  • any enhancement or bug fix work underway,
  • any bug fixes or development work you'd like to see done,
  • any problems or areas you'd like help with,
  • future plans and ambitions,
  • anything else you can think of!

The room will have a wireless broadband conenction, projector and whiteboard.

There is no charge for this meeting. Lunch can be arranged for $15 a head (anyone care to sponsor this or shall we charge per person?)

Please feel to extend this invitation to anyone you think may like to attend.

For catering purposes I would like to know numbers attending by 10th July so RSVP

Cheers Jo.

Photograph by Trevor Heath :