Small Library Catalog Options

A recent post to the Web4Lib discussion list solicited options for “homemade” tools to manage a small collection. Price: free. Interestingly enough, there is a lot of free library-oriented software available but while you could look at Koha or Evergreen open source ILS, many libraries do not need anything so fancy to manage the collection. Here is my answer to the question, which I only just realized I did not successfully send back to the list.

I cannot take much credit for the round up, because I wrote about two of these products in an article for the American Association of Law Libraries Spectrum magazine last fall.  Two colleagues of mine in Ontario are using these tools for their own, local purposes so that they can get better data on usage and support their local populations better.

The first product I mentioned was Readerware, which met the requirements of the Web4Lib post because it can be purchased for $85 with a barcode scanner.  This can make it easy to input information and Readerware can actually support a basic circulation user base.

The second product I mentioned was the Zotero add-on for Mozilla Firefox.  As my colleague in Guelph is doing, it can hold a variety of bibliographic data.  Like Readerware, it supports scanning barcodes and has ISBN lookup.

The last one I pointed out was Abebooks (the online used book aggregator) Homebase product.  It is actually intended for book shops but maintaining a book inventory is not that far from maintaining a library catalog.  Quick access and retrieval and knowing what is available are part of the options.  Like Zotero and Readerware, it supports scanning and ISBN lookup.  Like Zotero, it is free.

Another poster suggested Librarything but felt that it might not meet the original seeker’s needs.  I use Librarything too and it is pretty good, although I suppose the lookup and scanning may not be supported.