Kerala State Library Council – Library Automation

Library Automation: The Way we did it Right

OrisysIndia has deep understanding of open source technologies and has often contributed to the open source platforms by openly embracing the developments under the GPL license. Orisys provide clients with access to the latest and most enhanced technologies to solve problems and expedite their business forward. In the past couple of years we have had immense opportunities to come up with products and solutions that can transform the existing procedures for the betterment of the clients. In this document we showcase some customer examples of the imperatives behind such transformation programs along with our unique solution proposition and tangible benefits observed by our customers.

Implementing Koha ­ Open Source ILS (Integrated Library System)

Background

The Kerala State Library Council (KSLC) is an autonomous body under the Higher Education Department of Govt. of Kerala and is also the statutory apex body of public libraries in the state. KSLC is embarking a programme of computerizing the affiliated public libraries in the state. An expert committee was constituted by KSLC for this purpose. This automation programme is planned to be rolled out in two phases. The first phase had been completed successfully with the Koha Open Source Software customized in Malayalam and deployed in selected affiliated libraries on the basis of e readiness. The second phase is planned with a state wide rollout of the same with all the affiliated libraries included. This phase is under progress.

The vendor for software implementation, customization and training was selected through a two­ part nationwide bid process. M/s. OrisysIndia Consultancy Services based in Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram came out as the successful bidder.

Customization of Koha was a very big challenge to Orisys India. Koha Software wasn’t user friendly. We customized the Koha software and gave the training to all selected librarians under KSLC. Thus we helped KSLC in bringing a new face for the libraries in the state.

Challenges Faced:
  • Customization of “Koha” library management software

    Kerala state library council requested expertise of OrisysIndia for customizing the application and giving it a simple and user friendly interface. As per KSLC request, we undergone a research to study more about flexible customization of “Koha” open source software.

    Under such researches the team found some difficulties in customizing Koha, they were:

    1. Multi ­URL Customization (Customizing separate home pages for each 7500 libraries under KSLC).
    2. Book Searching Function in KOHA (Searching by author’s name / book’s name).
    3. Tab Management.
    4. To add Subscription Fee functionality in KOHA
    5. To customize KOHA for adding Events.
    6. Customizing KOHA to Malayalam Language.
    7. To set admin to control reservoir flow.
    Solution by OrisysIndia
    1. Orisys India Research and development teams worked close­knit to ensure that the best tools and practices could be utilized to meet the requirement.
    2. A special research team was deployed for KOHA customization.
    3. Continuous interaction with KSLC officials for clarifying and pinpointing the requirements.
  • Implementation of “Offline Transaction tool” for avoiding data loss if internet connection fails.

    The implementation of “Offline Transaction Tool” was very important in KSLC project as in rural areas there is a lack of stable internet connectivity. To provide stable internet connectivity to the hill area libraries is a herculean task. KSLC was experiencing such an issue where unstable connectivity may lead to data loss. So an offline transaction tool was inevitable to prevent such data loss. Customization of KOHA application was needed for implementing offline transaction tool.

  • Koha trainings to rural area librarians

    Kerala State Library Council has above 7500 libraries across Kerala. Most libraries are located in rural areas. So the librarians who are from rural areas don’t have adequate technical knowhow, so KOHA training was very important to them. These people are to be trained hard as they are going to use KOHA in their libraries

    Challenges Faced:
    1. To give basic technical training to all librarians registered under KSLC.
    2. To train and build confidence in their mind for using customized KOHA application.
    3. To train them to avoid fear about new software and to use KOHA in simple way.
    4. To build enthusiasm to learn new technology and platforms.
    Soultion by Orisys India:
    1. Orisys modified KOHA training material in Malayalam, which helped them to learn and understand different features and functionalities of KOHA.
    2. Orisys conducted training program in different phases. In the first phase Orisys selected 60 technically sound librarians from different districts. This team of librarians trained and helped their local librarians.
    3. A dedicated technical team was deployed for helping librarians to clarify their doubts regarding KOHA.
    4. Deployed a helpline centre to interact with librarians continuously thereby helping them to gain confidence to use KOHA.
    5. Experienced trainers gathered feedback from first phase trainees and subsequently made changes in training methods.
    6. For those who were technically backward, Orisys provided them with basic computer literacy and technical knowhow on how to use KOHA.
    7. Provided real time experience to trainees by arranging machines to each and every trainee so that they got a chance to get real time experience which helped them to clarify their doubts with a professional trainer.