Over the next several months, library staff will be “migrating” the library’s catalog and integrated library system (ILS) to a new open source system. The library has maintained the same ILS since 1998. The ILS manages the life of a book, journal, database or other resource from the moment it is ordered until it is removed from the library’s collection. The ILS is also used to establish a database of library borrowers, to check out and renew print books and journals, and to manage fines.
The new ILS will be an open source system called Koha. Koha is a Maori word meaning gift or donation, somewhat in keeping with the concept of sharing that occurs in open source environments. Koha is used by thousands of libraries around the world, each adding features and functions to improve the capabilities of the system. The UT Health Science Center Library has contracted with Bywater Solutions to manage and host the library’s implementation of Koha.
In March, librarians transferred files to Bywater Solutions to begin the process of mapping records from the library’s current ILS to Koha. Library staff will receive intensive training on the new system in May, and the UT Health Science Center Library’s Koha implementation is set to go live on June 8, if all goes as planned.
What does all this mean for library users? In a nutshell, if you have used Amazon or other web based systems, the look and feel of Koha should seem familiar. The first time you check out a book after June 8, you will need to set up a new library borrower record because the database of library borrowers is not being transferred to Koha. This will allow library staff to clear out many old borrower records that are no longer in use. For library users with a UTHSCSA network domain username and password, access to the library’s electronic resources will not be affected. However, clinical faculty or other authorized library users who do not have a network login will need to register with the library and set a password on their account before resources can be accessed from off-campus.
Stay tuned for more information about Koha in the coming months. For questions about migrating to the new system, contact John Weed, Head of Collection Resources, email@example.com.