UG libraries now fully automated
The Department of Software Services of the University of Guyana, in collaboration with the UG Library, has produced another Information Communications Technology (ICT) application which is touted as the first of its kind in the country.
Students will now be able to search for books online, reserve books, make purchase suggestions and perform other similar tasks.
The Inaugural Ceremony of Library Automation System was held on May 12, 2011 at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC). The university is the first in the Caribbean to implement this leading Open Source Library Software (Koha).
Koha is an Open Source Integrated Library System used by many public libraries, universities and community libraries around the world.
In use worldwide, its development is steered by a growing community of libraries collaborating to achieve their technology goals. Koha includes modules for circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials, reserves, patron management, branch relationships, and more.
It provides a full-functioned Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) service.
Users (students, staff and public) can carry out searches using various fields (Keyword, Subject, Title, Class, Barcode, Author, Publisher, etc.). They can order the search results according to several criteria (by author, title, etc).
Users who are library members can place holds (reservations) on library items, and give purchase suggestions. And the service is absolutely free.
Koha will benefit students and staff at the university since the library catalogs are now online.
One can access the Online Public Access Catalog service at http://ugbclibrary.uog.edu.gy.
University Librarian, Gwyneth George, said, “When the University of Guyana Berbice Campus was established in 2000, the Tain Campus Library used the Open Source WINISIS software in its first attempt to automate the library.
“However, in June 2007, the Turkeyen Library moved towards exploring the use of Open Source software”.
When asked about the major benefits of Koha to both campuses, she said, “It is a full-featured Integrated Library system in use worldwide in libraries of all sizes. It has a dual database design and is scalable enough to meet the transaction load of any library; no matter what the size of the Library. It is library- standards compliant since it uses library standards such as the MARC record format that ensures compatibility with other systems. It is web-based, opening endless opportunities for putting not only the catalogues, but other resources online.
Importantly, in our peculiar circumstances, it is a free Open Source Software distributed under the Open Source General Public License (GPL). Finally, there is no vendor lock-in since libraries are free to install and customise once they have the in-house skills.”
Head of Department of the Software Services at the University of Guyana, Sekhar Mallampati, said that his department has also used Open Source technologies to develop online “Students Records Management System”.
He added that with the Online Students Records Management System (SRMS), prospective students can apply online for admission to University Programmes and University Dorms. Current Students can register or apply online for Leave of Absence, Exemptions, Change of Registration, Transfers, and Programme Withdrawal.
Now Current Students can check their grades and academic profile online, etc. Alumni can apply online for Transcripts and Replacement Certificates. Online SRMS application automatically / manually sends emails (acknowledgement letters, reminders, notices, etc) and text messages (SMS) to students and staff members’ cell phones.
This is the first time in UG’s history that all of this has now become possible.