This paper aims to examine the adoption of the open source library management system, Koha, amongst Australian special libraries.
The spread of Koha in Australian special libraries and the opinions of Koha users on the system have been examined by a survey distributed to all known Australian Koha users. A case study of the Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) library network is also presented, demonstrating many of the practical issues involved in the decision to convert to an open source system.
The main reasons given for conversion to Koha were practical economic grounds, coupled with dissatisfaction with conventional library systems. Libraries found the conversion to Koha reasonably trouble‐free. Satisfaction ratings on most aspects of Koha performance were “above average” to “good”. Library expectations of value for money and overall cost savings appear to have been realised.
The sample of responding libraries (46.67 per cent of all Koha libraries found) included hosted and non‐hosted installations, and a representative mix of health and non‐health libraries, including three from the tertiary sector. Results were consistent across all groups. Many Koha installations have commenced operation since 2008, and a more comprehensive survey should be undertaken in the future, when the long‐term effects of open source adoption are more evident.
Koha has proved well suited to small health libraries, and the GWAHS experience has been successfully replicated amongst many other Australian special libraries.
The switch to open source has enabled many libraries to greatly enhance services to remote users. Financial restrictions which prevented many libraries establishing a web presence have been overcome by open source, resulting in greatly increased contact with library clients
Results of the first survey of Australian Koha users are presented. A case study of the first Australian health library network installation of Koha is also included.
Keast, D. (2011), "A survey of Koha in Australian special libraries: Open source brings new opportunities to the outback", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 23-39. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650751111106537Download as .RIS
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