Libraries ‘need high-tech organization’

22 Sep

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 22 Sept 2007

Libraries may indeed be a great place for the public to access
information, but poor-quality computerized cataloging makes them
slower than they could be.

The Indonesian Athenaeum Light Community (KALI) started a two-day
workshop to commemorate Software Freedom Day on Friday to encourage
libraries to use free open-source software to organize their collections.

KALI chairman Didik Witono said good libraries had to be supported by
good management.

“This means libraries must be supported by an applicable information
technology system,” he said.

“Besides, library collections will soon comprise multimedia,” he added.

Didik, who has worked as a librarian for 15 years, explained that an
open-source program modified by KALI, Athenaeum Light 8.5, could be
easily used by all librarians.

“Anyone can use this software. Well, at least beginners will be able
to install the software and do some simple (library) maintenance, ” he
said.

Athenaeum Light was originally released by SumWare Consulting, a New
Zealand based company.

In 2005, the Indonesian Reading Forum introduced Athenaeum Light 6.5
to librarians nationwide.

However, SumWare then decided not to provide the next series of
Athenaeum for free, which prompted Didik and Hartono, both from KALI,
to modify the software themselves.

“Athenaeum Light 8.5 was then born,” Didik said.

He said the public could download the program from KALI’s website
(http://kali. openlib.info) or buy it for Rp 15,000 (US$1.64).

Ridho, who chaired the workshop, said he wanted more librarians to
know about the software.

“We want them to know that there is a free program on par with the
quality of commercial software,” he said.

Around 20 people, mostly librarians and students, attended the Friday
workshop.

Verina, a librarian from a national plus high school, said the
software made her job easier.

“I can access (the database) faster and more simply by using the
software. It’s useful both for me and the visitors,” she said.

Verina, who has been a librarian for almost two years, said she could
barely imagine using her library’s old cataloging system.

“It would be more complicated, I suppose,” she said.

Maryani, a graduate of Padjadjaran University’s librarian school, said
she took in the workshop on her own initiative.

“I’m helping the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development
(INFID) organize its library system. Perhaps this (workshop) could be
beneficial,” she said.

Software Freedom Day is an annual worldwide celebration of free
open-source software, Ridho said, and has been held every third
Saturday in September since 2004. (08)

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