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27 September 2016

Technologies in Libraries Seminar

Technologies in Libraries Seminar

Thanks to all who came along to the Technology in Libraries Seminar in the Ashling Hotel today, 26th September. We had a good turnout despite the rain and had a great response from those who attended.


We kicked off proceeding with Charles demonstrating Koha, the Open Source LMS.  Charles did a speedy run through the Koha functionality and showed what a mature LMS it really is. It is estimated that there are 15,000 libraries running Koha worldwide. This is estimated as there is no official record of every site running Koha and the software, as it is Open Source, can be downloaded free. Koha was downloaded 25,000 times in the last calendar year. Interleaf are now supporting Koha in 25 corporate and academic libraries and over 100 secondary school libraries. There was an informal, inaugural meeting of an Irish Koha User Group after the seminar. The User Group will be run by the users but Interleaf are happy to sponsor the group and encourage the creation of the group. 


Barry Cannon then took us on a tour of LQ, our library query application. The Library Queries application is a database application, developed by Interleaf, which is aimed Research and Reference departments, but also Library and Information Services , which allows the staff to record details of library enquiries and research tasks.  Barry showed how easy it is to record a new query, categorise them, search your knowledge base and how we can customise the application for different organisation types. LQ is a hosted solution which comes with full reporting and statistics. We had great feedback from the floor and Barry has noted all suggestions for future releases.


Next up was Explorit Everywhere which is a Federated Search tool which will search all of your online resources, including your LMS, in real time. Unlike discovery layers which need to harvest data on a regular basis, Explorit Everywhere, from Deep Web Technology,  searches each resource live and presents the results as blended results or tabbed into categories. It also does relevancy ranking, faceting, graphical display and personal search which enables users to customise their own search across their preferred online resources.


Martin ran a quick demo of Omeka, the Open Source Digital Repository software. The beauty of Omeka is that it is so easy to setup and use. It fully supports the Dublin Core metadata standard and with minimal training you can build online collections of images, videos, audio files, pdfs and more. It is really easy to build online exhibitions from the material in your Omeka repository and you can encourage users to contribute material too. Omeka is a hosted application and Interleaf usually get involved to design and build the initial collection and train the users. Usually once the system is up and running the users can take it from there.

There is a nice introductory video on the Omeka website which shows off the features of Omeka. There are plenty of plugins to switch on extra features like batch loading from Dropbox or Flickr.

There is also a nice showcase of live Omeka sites from around the world which features some of the different themes that are available.

Martin then showed a quick tour of some smaller projects that Interleaf have been involved in recently. The exhibition at Arigna Mining Experience is a collection of video and audio material brought together on a touchscreen for easy access with a very simple website interface.

Open Library is a technology from our partners Bibliotheca for libraries that want to provide access to the library outside normal opening hours.  

Interleaf also developed a Secure Access solution to authenticate users  against the library system or other databases to restricted areas in a building/library. This short video demonstrates the technology.



Finally Joann Ransom, our keynote speaker, brought us on a journey through the history of Koha from its inception at Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand. Joanne was one of the initial 5 people came up with the idea for Koha and went ahead and made it happen. It was a fascinating story and Joann also explained the Open Source model and how libraries can get involved - you don't have to be a techie to get involved. Koha is a terrific example of an Open Source community where all parties, Librarians, Vendors and Developers, work in harmony to bring together  and are all vital to the success of the project.

You can follow Joann's progress on her world tour on Twitter @jransom

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