[Zope] Zope Integrated Library System

Tim Chase Tim Chase" <chase@iac.net
Mon, 3 Jun 2002 15:29:15 +0000

Zope folks,

I have been a python programmer for about as long as I have been a
librarian, which is seven years. I consult with a large metropolitan
library regarding their automated systems. I recently began the
planning stages of taking over as the sole librarian at a local church
and at a very small high school.

I am familiar with the Integrated Library System (ILS) products from
most of the major vendors, so I am also familiar with their prices and
problems. I began looking for an Open Source option for my new
libraries (see http://www.oss4lib.org). There are only a few viable
options. Koha is a Perl/MySql system currently used in several New
Zealand public libraries. There are two SourceForge projects that have
semi-working catalog and circulation systems: OpenBiblio and
PhpMyLibrary, both using PHP/MySql.

Judging from Slashdot
(http://slashdot.org/askslashdot/00/08/22/2040245.shtml), very few
programmers have an appreciation for the complexity of an ILS. Zope has
been identified by the library community as a tool for patron portals
(see http://www.oss4lib.org), but I can't find any mention of a
Zope-based ILS, maybe because Zope programmers do appreciate the
complexities of metadata and dealing with the MARC format.

All of that was prelude to this: Zope seems like the ideal platform for
an ILS. I am more of a Zope integrator than a Zope developer, but it
seems like an ILS in Zope would be less complicated and more flexible
than a similar program using another framework.

OCLC has a MARC to Dublin Core translator
(http://alcme.oclc.org/marc2dc/index.html). I assume that something
like this could be used to populate catalog records and possibly even
holdings records (there is a MARC format for Holdings Information).

What are your thoughts? I have no experience designing such a large
system, but I would much rather use a Zope-based ILS than any of the
current Open Source offerings. 

Thanks for your time,

--Tim Chase