Online library system
2013 gave me an interesting and challenging few months learning and building an online reference / bibliographic database (mainly in my spare time). I had some basic criteria: low cost, easy to learn and use, easily able to import and export data, library standards compliant, zotero friendly, incorporate basic libray functions, provide full text access, submission queues, and allow multiple user access with differential security levels. First I looked at "off the shelf" products and of a multitude of these, Refbase
, and Koha
stood out as candidates. I really liked Refbase, and it ticked most of the boxes, especially with regard to citation, but sadly, lacked flexibility in fields and library functions and needed extra steps to convert our spreadsheet based data for import. Similarly, EPrints did not stand up to the reputation. Koha, on the other hand, is a full blown integrated library system. It ticked all boxes except for ease of use and import of data...and ease of adding uploaded "full text" files. In the end, it was possibly too comprehensive, and while much effort was spent in migrating to the MARC standard, the difficulties in handling multiple authors in a Zotero friendly way, led me to look at an alternate path.
I had been reluctant to build a system from scratch, as even though it would give the flexibility we needed, the need to build in metadata harvesting by Zotero was a whole new learning curve! Take a look at the end product - a fully functional copy of the system (without the full text attachments) is available here on Digging Stick.