Sometimes managing a digital library gives you peace of mind because you don’t have to put a lot of effort into maintaining it. Usually easy to organize and can be backed up too.
When it comes to managing the library, the library management software can make a world of difference. It can break or enhance your digital library management experience.
And with open-source library management software, an organization/library can save investment costs, have better privacy, and have more flexibility without any vendor lock-ins.
So I came up with the compilation of open source library management software to give you some great options to help you manage your digital library. You can use some tools for personal use, but many of them are aimed at public libraries.
Key Features of Koha:
- Enterprise library management software.
- Supports multiple languages.
- Powerful text search and improved catalog display.
- Built using standard library protocols to ensure interpretability between Koha and other library systems.
- Web-based user interface.
- No vendor lock-in.
Koha is a well-known name when it comes to library management software and it is considered to be the best you can get for your library. You may wonder why. It handles everything like a charm, from backups and maintenance to system upgrades!
Being a true enterprise-grade system, you get modules for circulation management, cataloging, serial number management, authorities, flexible reporting, label printing and much more.
So you can use Koha for small to multi-branch libraries.
Key Features of Evergreen
- Flexibility and scalability.
- Has self-registration and self-checkout options.
- Allows you to make desired changes to the catalog.
- Multiple payment options.
- Powerful search function.
- Allows you to keep a history of borrowed books.
Evergreen is a library-integrated system initially developed for Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), but it also powers more than 1,800 libraries outside of PINES.
Because it is scalable to the core, you can easily manage an entire catalog of multiple sites. It also offers good search functionality along with some interesting features.
Main features of BiblioteQ
- Supports ARM & Power PC.
- User-friendly interface.
- In addition to books, it also supports DVDs, music CDs, photos, and even video games.
- Push notifications for unavailable items.
- Supports drag and drop for cover images.
“It’s pretty simple and straightforward” This was my first impression while testing BiblioteQ for this list. But don’t be fooled by the user interface.
BiblioteQ is a professional archiving, cataloging and library management software that uses Qt for a pleasant user interface. Furthermore, it uses PostgreSQL and SQLite for the databases.
Speaking of connectivity, it uses the Open Library, SRU, and Z39.50 protocols for a seamless experience in book retrieval and other archive options.
Main features of OPALS:
- Web-based and mobile-friendly.
- Minimal costs.
- Professional development, management and support.
- Market leader for school and academic libraries.
- Online publicly accessible catalogue.
- Subscription database management.
- Digital archive management.
- Support for circulation and inventory management.
- Hosted servers provide automated updates, meaning no additional hardware costs or maintenance on your side.
According to the 2022 International Library Automation Survey, OPALS (Open-source Automated Library System) ranks highest in any category of school libraries and small academic library programs.
OPALS is used daily in more than 2000 libraries because it provides a fully-fledged automated library management experience.
It is a paid tool that provides you with technical support for installation, management, hosting and other purposes. If you are looking for something for your academy/institution, this could be a good match.
OPALS also offers a free 3-month demo site for your library so you can get a better idea of what to expect from the price being asked.
Key features of InvenioILS:
- Modern user interface.
- Acquisition and simple interlibrary loan modules for a better overview of items.
- Uses REST API meaning, better integrations with other systems.
- Circulations are easy to manage with a few clicks.
- Powerful cataloging system based on JSON schema.
- User-friendly back office tools, meaning it’s easy to list, search, or even get specific items.
Invenio’s ILS (Integrated Library System) uses the Invenio framework, which consists of widely used open source products, including Python and React frameworks.
So if you have the technical expertise, there are no limits to customizations and improvements you can do with the standard base.
Key features of SLiMS:
- Utility to generate barcodes.
- Responsive user interface.
- Enables Union Catalog creation using Union Catalog Server.
- Member management.
- Database backup utility.
- Master file management to manage reference data such as publishers, authors and locations.
- For bibliography, you get faster entry with peer-to-peer cataloging of copies.
- Manage your customers with instant library card allocation.
SLiMS (Senayan Library Management System) is nothing but an Apache web server bundled with MySQL and PHP, and the result is an extremely powerful community-driven library management toolkit.
From serial publishing control to system modules that offer extreme flexibility, SLiMS has a lot to offer.
Key features of FOLIO:
- Wide range of inventory management features including cataloging and bibliographic management.
- Manage suppliers, budgets, orders and invoicing while receiving materials.
- Efficient user management.
- Different types of customers, loan types, penalties and fee structures are also supported.
As with any other library management software, you get all the basics like dissemination, acquisitions, cataloging and e-resource management.
You also get a nice feature to manage multiple users, types of customers, rate structures and more.
Digital library management sounds fun!
In this list, I’ve only considered those that are actively maintained. There may be more to explore (but without recent development activity).
Did I miss any of your favorites? You are welcome to share your personal experience with library management software.