The Government of Galicia put in place a network to organise the development and planning of the public librarian offer in the Spanish region of Galicia, using Koha an open source integrated library system (ILS).
The management and coordination of the Network of Public Libraries of Galicia is under responsibility of the Xunta de Galicia (the Government of Galicia).
EIF and Interoperability matching
The most important criterion to the development of the network is the openness of softwares, standards and specifications. And Koha is an open source software development. Starting from the original implementation in 1999, its functionality has been adopted by thousands of libraries worldwide, each adding features and functions, deepening the capability of the system.
The adopted system, which is mostly adaptable to the widest range of devices and configurations, follows also in a particular way the EIF recommendations concerning the user centricity and the administrative simplification. A great highlight is given to the access for the contributors to implement and improve the current version, according to the philosophy of the open source applications.
The Kohabib project is part of Galicia’s Digital Agenda 2020,a coordinated strategy aligned with national and European one. It reinforces and reaffirms the Galician Digital Growth Strategy, introducing elements that will maximize the impact of technological policies, as an essential and key factor to achieve the goals of economic and social growth that Galicia marks for the future. It is also linked with the Free Software Plan 2017, through which Galicia promote the use of open source software and open standards, the reuse of solutions as tools to guarantee the interoperability of information systems and bring technology to the avoiding dependence on certain ICT providers and the related recurrent costs.
Between 2016 and 2018, the region will invest EUR 1.1 million in the project, partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Description of target users and groups
The project targets all the public libraries of Galicia. Most of them and the most important ones are already part of the network. The more peripheral are still to be joined and represent the last challenge of the project.
The target audience is represented by the citizens of Galicia, which will be able to access the whole list of documents (including classic books, audio-books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and other audio-visual materials available) present in their region. Moreover this happens in the framework of an open source application that guarantee saving for public entities as well as a targeted implementation and development of the service.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
The idea of implementing the network of libraries of Galicia took place in the framework of the Galicia’s Digital Agenda 2020, where an important chapter is dedicated to ICT connectivity and information sharing (“favouring not only the ICT connectivity necessary to guarantee the digital implementation of the territory in a safe and sustainable way, but also to know information that allows, if necessary, to act intelligently”). The selected strategy builds on open source solution, since the Free software Plan is developed beside the same strategy. The implementation of such service has been done in different step, the first of which is a census of all the public libraries of Galicia.
In the first phase of this integration process, started back in 2016, a total of 43 libraries were added to the collective catalogue. A second phase is now starting, during which a total of 70 libraries and reading programs that currently have different management programs will be integrated. This is, in the words of the Galician Minister of Culture, a process of "progressive integration of the nearly 370 libraries that make up the network." The next phase will be completing the incorporation of the remaining libraries of the network and will also address the integration of public school libraries.
The leading and coordination of the project is in the hands of AMTEGA, the Regional Agency for technological modernization, which is responsible also for the whole set of e-Government initiatives and activities taken at regional level. The legal and administrative framework of AMTEGA responds to most of the recommendations of the new EIF. In fact he Digital Agenda resumed in the website of the AMTEGA highlights all the main objectives of the strategy and we can find for example all the parts concerning privacy and security, interoperability layers and governance, data portability, efficiency and administrative simplification, in addition of the ones already listed above concerning the EIF matching.
It takes into consideration the mobilization of resources, such as public-private collaboration contracts and public procurement of innovative technology. Several projects are then coordinated by the Agency, concerning educational and culture topics linked to the libraries activities and the technological development of the cultural life of the Region.
Koha is an open source integrated library system developed over the years by the users of the participating libraries. Kohabib is the selected implementation of the Galician library network based on Koha system
The project "Catálogo colectivo de la red de Bibliotecas Públicas de Galicia (RBPG)” (Collective Catalogue of the network of Public Libraries of Galicia) is oriented to the configuration of a comprehensive information system for the coordinated management of the library network. It also targets the improvement of the service provision in a digital context to users of the network of libraries. This is articulated around a single system of user management (single card), and above all a unified web catalogue of resources: Kohabib allows improving the service for the users of each library and of the Network in general within the creation of such catalogue.
The system also homogenizes and simplifies the cataloguing of the collections. In short, it allows walking towards the common functioning of the centres integrated in the Network of Public Libraries of Galicia. It can be consulted through a unique online page in which users check the library that is hosting the document and reserve it. This also favours a more efficient management of the available resources thanks to the integration of data.
The global information system of the network of public libraries in Galicia includes:
- The directorate of the RBPG;
- An integrated library management system common to all the libraries of the RBPG. It additionally allows the management of the single collective catalogue, the unique user management system, as well as the functioning processes of the libraries (based on the KOHA platform);
- The librarian resources loan platform;
- The digital book loan platform;
- The network of portals and internet presence of public libraries;
- The equipment and technological means in the libraries for the management, circulation and loan of the catalogued resources. This line is specified in the provision of book lending systems based on RFID for the nodal libraries;
- Systems and processes for the distribution of resources to libraries.
Main results, benefits and impacts
The implementation of the libraries network brought to every Galician the access to a wide offer of documents and the full list of titles that are accessible in the most important libraries of his region. The optimization and efficiency oriented approach for the citizens is also accompanied by a big saving for the public local entities, that with an open source solution can be able to deliver the service with less impact on copyright or license expenses.
As for savings, the technological management of the project, the administration of the technological platforms and the services of attention and support to the users, are integrated into the services that are provided from the AMTEGA to other areas of technological services. What is an estimated cost savings in general of 45% over what would have been an isolated project, without taking advantage of corporate infrastructures.
The saved amount of money is addressed to implement this and other services since the AMTEGA sponsored other actions carried out with IT service providers and free software advocacy groups allocating EUR 125,000 for activities of AGASOL (Galician Association of Free Software) and researches to the University of Galicia.
Lessons learnt and best practices
The absorption of the new libraries (the more peripheral ones and the ones internal to the schools) will be launched taken into consideration the weak points highlighted in the previous steps. It will be based on the same platforms. Although this will be implemented with different resources catalogue management, because of the specific characteristics of those school libraries.