Thursday, July 19, 2007

VuFind Open Source Discovery Software Goes Beta

Earlier today, Andrew Nagy on Code4Lib announced Villanova University's new open source discovery tool VuFind is available as beta software (officially release 0.5). Half the blogs and listservs I follow seem to have echoed this announcement by now, so I thought I'd join the crowd.

Checkout the Live Demo to see how well they've incorporated the long list of features librarians are looking for in "2.0" discovery tools, including patron tagging, user comments, links to reviews, and faceted browsing. But it also has (or soon will have) the back-end features it will need to function in the library computing ecosystem: it supports LDAP and database authentication, retrieves holdings status from the local ILS (currently with Endeavor Voyager), with support for other ILSs on the way (SirsiDynix, Evergreen, Koha, and "more to come").
Other features on the way include a script for a nightly data sync with the ILS, and holds and recall features.

It looks to be a very well-designed, feature-rich
Solr-based product, and congrats to the team that created it!

VuFind is just one of several such projects (although a sharp-looking one) coming from libraries today. The pace of these projects seems to be picking up, the feature lists are being refined, and the technical issues ironed out. It will be interesting to see how the slower-moving proprietary vendors compete!

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