Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

VuFind

True to form I usually come across things a few weeks later than everyone else and then wonder why they’re not as excited about them as I am (they’ve all moved on to the thing I’ll discover next month…!). Well I’ve just come across VuFind. This is one of the new crop of enhanced search portals that are appearing. Ex Libris was first out of the box with Primo, III have just released Encore, Aquabrowser is available but not heavily marketed in the UK, and Vanderbilt University have released VuFind. And better still, unlike the others, VuFind is Open Source (and thus free!). Admittedly it is still in beta, and only works with Voyager at present (bit of a problem as this has the same problem as Horizon….) but the beta works well and they’ve announced an intention to get it to work with other systems.

It’s interesting what the emergence of these systems should be telling us. Users are no longer happy with the OPAC – it doesn’t work how they want, and it doesn’t integrate with all your other internet-based information resources. The days when we could make them behave in certain ways to get information are over. It will be the libraries and LMS suppliers who can’t give them what they want that will suffer (noticed any missing supplier names in the list of systems above?). Aquabrowser and VuFind have had to emerge because the functionality isn’t there in many basic LMS. I’m a bit sceptical about whether most libraries could cope with the routine of downloading their catalogue to a different server on a frequent basis, or the drawback that this interface wouldn’t include todays books (or however often you update), but the benefits are greater than the administrative overhead in my view. It looks like another area where the LMS market is rapidly rising out of its stagnation, and while the dinosaurs who haven’t noticed are still wiping their eyes that ice age is rapidly coming……. (apologies to any dinosaur fans for that metaphor!).

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August 8, 2007 - Posted by | Libraries

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