For over a year now, Michael York has been talking about a plan to create an open source library system that could be made available to New Hampshire libraries who don't currently have a local automation system that they are happy with, at a predictable (and low) cost to the library. The stated goal (in the fall of 2009) was to have a demo system -- and pricing -- in place by the end of 2010. Clearly this didn't happen. Despite the financial and staffing challenges the NH State Library has faced this past year, we are still working toward this goal but have had to revise our timeline. (That sounds like there is a timeline, but I'm still working on that -- ASAP is as specific as I can offer at this point.)

Here is what we envision this project being:

  • A local automated system with circulation, acquisitions, and cataloging functionality that is specific to your library
  • A system that is state-of-the-art and that will grow and adapt over time as new technologies come along
  • A public, web-based catalog your patrons can use 24/7 to find out what they have access to through your library, including downloadable audiobooks, databases, etc.
  • A local automated library system with a reasonable, predictable annual cost to maintain
  • A system that, if you have a question about it, or a problem with it, you can call the NHAIS Help Desk to get answers
  • A community of libraries who are working and learning together to create the best local systems possible for their patrons using a shared platform and pooling resources (financial, intellectual, chronological, etc.)
This project is NOT a replacement for NHU-PAC -- these local systems, just like local systems currently in NH libraries, will rely on NHU-PAC as a source for bib records and a mechanism for interlibrary loan.

I have launched this blog to provide a space where I can put resources and information about this project and where the "community" that will be created as part of nhaisLOCAL can find links, tools, etc. as the project evolves.

I don't (at this point anyway) see this blog as being the primary place for discussions among community members -- it is too public a forum and I find it hard to follow conversations on a blog. Discussions among libraries involved in the project will be very important to it's success. To facilitate those discussions I have created a listserv that staff at each library in the group has been subscribed to. My postings to this blog will also be distributed to that listserv so a separate RSS subscription isn't necessary for libraries in the nhaisLOCAL community.

Why a blog and a listserv? I see the blog as providing a "home" for the project where you will be able to find information, documentation when it is created, and an overall view of the project as we go along. I see the listserv as a mechanism for (sort of private) conversation among the libraries who will create and use nhaisLOCAL.

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