Software for Local History Museum Library

Em Robinson
Em Robinson used Ask the Experts™
I am a volunteer librarian at a designated  Historic Site that has a very small specialized library devoted to local history. It includes accessioned historic photographs , a vertical file of newspaper clippngs and other ephemera plus  a  small accessioned collection (about  1500 volumes) of various non-fiction items relating to the local history of the Township. The cataloguing software we have been using is no longer satisfactory and we need some guidance in pricing other software that we could use for our specialized needs. So far we only know of the huge program used at the public library which would cost about $25,000.  which represents   almost our entire operating budget for  several years.  If anyone knows of a commercial software program we might be able to use, I would really appreciate hearing about it.  A shareware program  would be fine too.  Thanks for your help.
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Try the Capterra site it lists many small business software with ratings.   I saw many options that might be a good fit for you.

lcohanDatabase Analyst
I'm not familiar unfortunately with the specifics for a "Local History Museum Library" however I've heard and came across in the past with some open source library package like Koha

<<Koha is a true enterprise-class ILS with comprehensive functionality including basic and advanced options. Koha includes modules for acquisitions, circulation, cataloging, serials management, authorities, flexible reporting, label printing, multi-format notices, offline circulation for when Internet access is not available, and much more. Koha will work for consortia of all sizes, multi-branch, and single-branch libraries.>>

and you could find details about it at link below:
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer

You can always find a programmer to code a solution tailor made for you...just write down extensively your requirements and ask for a quote
Having a programmer code a custom app is not for the faint of heart or weak of IT knowledge.
It doesn't sound like your staff has much IT background.  In that case I would suggest you avoid anything custom coded to your needs.  Coding this sort of app can get pretty complex pretty fast.   Questions regarding database, data structure,  users, security, up time, recovery, ongoing support are not simple and you would be left to the solutions of the coding party, who's assumptions would be based on your answers.   Its not a recipe for success.

Down the road keeping up to date and compatible with software/updates, new users and new requirements can be challenging in a custom environment... who do you call? The coding party?  Will they be around in 3 years?  5 years?  

I feel you should select the best fit from available packages.  Read the reviews on Capterra or other sources before deciding on a product.  They come from folks in your business, who speak your language.  Consider for each package;  How many installations (the more the better).   How long its been around ( avoid version 1.0 products, but for some extremely compelling reason).  Access to support is important (eMail, chat, phone,forums).  You will get feel for that as you contact the prospective products in the course of narrowing them down.  

You may need to adjust to any software package, but you gain a user group with similar requirements and an outfit geared to meeting them as time goes on without concerning yourself with IT details beyond your qualification to resolve.


Your help was greatly appreciated. It gave us access to the choices we needed to investigate  and now we can move forward. Thank you.

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