A slow paced speaker, but Koha enthusiast, Ms. Johnson talked about her decision to go with an Open Source system. When she originally had the need to automate, nothing else was available to her. She worked in a rural library with no system.
Unfortunately, compounded by the unenviable speaking spot, just before lunch, Ms. Johnson was not able to keep the talk focused on what I believe most people came to hear: Why would one
go with an Open Source System? And, for those libraries about to join the Koha System as MassCat members: Is this going to work for my library?
I was also a bit influenced by what happened earlier in the meetings.....Ms. Johnson was the only person who raised her hand when Marshall Breeding asked who wrote code. Instead of being
a reassuring source for the average librarian going with a new product, I didn't get a strong sense of mentoring for those about to take the plunge.
"Ms. Johnson said she started with an easy system, which became more complicated." Her catalog with approximately 10,000 records was able to adapt and change, as she redesigned her Koha OPAC. She showed several different examples, which other libraries could deploy, depending on where the library is wants to go. There are examples on the Internet.
Ms. Johnson gave some direction, saying that it is important not to confuse Koha with LibLime. LibLime is the small US based company offering support (More about LibLime was presented by their representative at the luncheon). Developers of Koha began in New Zealand, and now are all over the world. Anyone who has the skill can contribute to the development.
The most positive aspect of Open Source Software as seen by Ms. Johnson is ownership. The difference from using proprietary software is the ability to manipulate your own data. You don't need anyone's data. She presented her experience as director of a very small library, who was able to develop her own code for her small library.