Hey, Library Mastodon, I have a weird question.

If you were looking to set up a small library, like a one branch community library, or a church library, or something like that; and you wanted to set up an ILS of some kind to track items, patrons, and check outs?

What would you recommend?

I'm talking small library, so no big budget to buy a big ILS. Free and open source are good, but Koha and Evergreen would be major overkill in such an instance.


· · Web · 2 · 8 · 4

I know OpenBiblio is still a thing, but only barely as it's not been updated in a couple of years (at least) and the current issue tracker on the project... isn't good. (They're having a problem with checking items in so... yeah. 😬)

Web Librarian for Wordpress is... okay? But it feels so absolutely shoehorned into Wordpress that I think it'd have been much better as a standalone web app rather than a Wordpress plugin.



Show thread

Follow up: For those who care, I'm not actually setting up a library (at least not currently) but I'm working on a couple of side projects that could (and should) involve smaller ILS solutions.

It'd be nice to pick a good one to fiddle with! 🤓

Show thread

@cyberpunklibrarian I used to work with PMB and it was quite good, but admittedly it was a long time ago, I don't know what it's like now.

@AnnaBalade PMB looked pretty freakin' cool, but I think it's a bit more than what I had in mind. Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with it, but I'm thinking about a library run by a tiny staff, maybe volunteers, and none of them know what MARC is, or why a Z39.50 search function might help them get more MARC.

Thank you, though!

@cyberpunklibrarian IIRC it was quite possible to use it without knowing the first thing about MARC or any cataloguing standard, the interface could be as simple or as complicated as you needed it to be.

@AnnaBalade OH?! Okay, then I'll have a second look then! Their website (quite rightly) is playing up the "This is a real ILS!" thing, so I kind of glassed over that one!

@cyberpunklibrarian I’ve never used it myself but LibraryThing’s TinyCat might be worth looking into:


A quick read through the Wikipedia article on PMB, suggests it might be worth a look.

@Algot I actually considered that one except there's one problem I had with it. I'm envisioning a library run by a tiny staff, maybe even all volunteers. They're not likely to know MARC cataloguing, copy cataloguing via Z39.50, and some of technical library goodness like that.

TinyCat is pulling ahead because it uses LibraryThing as a catalogue. And it doesn't need MARC, works with LoC and Amazon, but yet it *can* create MARC if needed. 🤓

But thank you! And thanks for boosting my toots!


Librarians are one of the core components of a functional society!

...and because I always love to learn new things i'll probably never need, I now had to look up MARC and Z39.50.
I learned something about being a librarian today! Fascinating!

@Ayior MARC is so old school but it's a classic example of "this ain't broke so don't fix it." The new tech in town is a system called BIBFRAME which involves linked data, better retrieval parameters, and all that.

And BIBFRAME looks like MARC and JSON ran off together and had a child. I don't claim to understand it, but I am absolutely NOT a cataloguer. 🙂

@cyberpunklibrarian LibraryThing has some of the features you seek...

@onan Shweet! This is the third recommendation for LibraryThing and their ILS, TinyCat! It was one of the few things I saw where I thought "Yeah, okay, this looks competent."

Some of the other stuff? Whoo boy it was rough.

Sign in to participate in the conversation Mastodon

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!