Automation of basic house keeping operations is the first priority of most of the libraries. Lot of commercial and Open Source library automation systems available in the market and library professionals are more confused about how to choose right one. Libsys, Libsuit, SOUL are proprietary library management systems. Koha, Evergreen, PMB and Newgenlib are Open Source softwares. You need good home work before select any library automation system. Here are few things to remember before adopting Open Source library management system.
1. Assess your libraries needs,
2. Identify your resources – strengths and weaknesses (budget, staff, computers, etc.)
3. Visit the libraries using Open Source ILS and collect the feedback,
4. Attend Open Source software training programmes,
5. Open Source software has no trial version, you can download and install the original version of the software for evaluation,
6. Ensure the availability of standards (e.g. MARC, Z39.50, NCIP etc) which are essential for data exchange,
7. Select a software with active community members, it means development is fast,
8. Lot of Live CD’s are available to download and very helpful for learning purpose and installation,
9. Migration from proprietary legacy system is very painful, it depend on vendors willingness to give back your data.
There are no differences between features and functions of commercial and open source ILS. The fundamental difference is visible in the development process and distribution. Open Source library management systems offer full control over the software and data.