About LibDatabase Catalog V1.0

This is V1.0 of LibDatabase, a "lightweight" library cataloging software. It is designed to be a solution to computerizing the catalog database in small libraries, which do not have many thousands of dollars to spend on such a project. It allows patrons 24-hour access to the card catalog, eliminating their need to drive in to the library, which may be miles away and open at limited hours during the week. Patrons can place holds on material, so that it is not checked out before the person can get to the library, wasting their time and a trip. It is distributed under a Creative Commons License, which encourages sharing among users. It is distributed as shareware, asking only that if you, your organization, or any interested party like the software, to please give us a donation. Ownership of this software, and all such donations, are to be given to the Broadwater Friends of the Library, to be used to support the Broadwater Public Library.

LibDatabase Catalog V1.0 is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Please register your software, so that you can be notified of updates or bug fixes. Please send such information to beth (at) broadwaterftl.org.

This software specifically was designed to not keep records of what materials were checked out by what patrons after they have been returned. This is for privacy reasons for the patron. This software has not been designed to keep personally-identifying information associated with library cards. This is also to guard patron privacy. Library staff needs to keep the records of what patron ID cards or numbers are associated with what patrons, and contact information on those patrons. That should be kept in a separate location.

This is an initial release of this product, and as such we are taking suggestions for improvements. Also for that reason, there are debug messages which will appear as one is using this software. This is normal. However, if something works in an unexpected way, reporting of the "computerese" debug message will be very helpful in finding and fixing the problem. In the next version, more children-specific classifications will be added in the next version.

As a V1.0 version, there are likely some bugs in it. I wish to have these reported. Some may be serious, some may be nusances, some may seem like a personal preference. If you find anything, please contact beth (at) broadwaterftl.org. I wish to know about all of them, either to fix them or to consider them for a future version. At the very least, let me know such as the following:

Please back up all of your data! It is always possible that the database could be corrupted or destroyed. Most of all, as data is being entered into the database, be sure to back up the database frequently, or after each time it is altered. Keep copies on at least two computers, or make backups to removable media.

In all software, it is very important that you keep all passwords held among authorized individuals. Never give out your password online. The database administrator or webmaster does not need it, and will never ask you for it. Above all, do not post passwords on the internet, or send them in emails to people unauthorized to perform the functions. Privileged passwords, such as those accounts which may add, delete, or alter the database must only be distributed to authorized persons.

This application is also used to check books in and out, for better tracking of books which may be overdue, and for others to know how long it is likely to be before the book they want is back in the library. If a book is lost, the value of the book is included so that the patron can properly reimburse the library for the book which was lost.

Since the catalog is available to everyone with an internet connection, it may be useful for patrons and staff of other libraries to request books through interlibrary loan if this library has one that someone in another place wants to read and their library does not have it.

This includes 'tool tips' which are informational bubbles which give a more indepth explanation of what sort of information to enter into various fields, without cluttering-up the page or the form, as to make it unreadable and unusable. If these are not useful to you, or they do not provide you with the information you want or need, please let me know, so I can rephrase something. These 'tool tips' are accessed by rolling the mouse pointer of your computer over the label or column header where input is required. If you don't find it right away, keep moving the mouse around. If you still do not find it, please contact me as described above, or through any other means.

Another application of this is for summary purposes. Someone can see at a quick glance how many books are in the library, of what types, and their value. This is of interest to people in and out of the community, as well as for purposes such as inventory, accounting for and properly insuring the collection.

Other functions of this could be useful to library staff, such as looking for books which have not been checked out in some time, as determined by the user, to promote the books which may not be circulating, or to weed them if their patrons really do not want to read those books. Of course, final determination of this is beyond the scope of this or any computer application.

Limitations

This web-based catalog and circulation application is designed for use in a small public library, with limited funding. There are many applications available for libraries, but all of them which I found were unusable or unobtainable for our small library. Many of them have very high costs for the software which make them completely out of our reach financially. Some require the maintenance of our own web server, which is also impossible given our limited staff and budget. Many of them also require computerized scanning equipment for checking books in and out of the library. This scanning equipment costs a great deal of money, which library trustees, staff, and patrons feel would be better spent on other costs involved with operating a library. This application is specifically designed for use by a small library with limited resources.

As such, this application is designed to be used without such computerized or electronic scanning of books or library cards. It has no ability to read things from scans, or to store or print information gotten from those scans. Quite simply, it was not a goal of this application.

No attempt has been made to restrict materials from any class of user. This software will allow any material the library has in circulation to be checked out by any patron. Indeed, there are some materials which are not appropriate for young children. Making such determinations is beyond the scope of this software, and must be done by library staff and parents or others responsible for children.

Some functions are not yet implemented

However, they are planned for a future release.

Other functions are planned, but not yet completely working. These include:

Privacy

Privacy and confidentiality is of utmost concern in any library setting. Privacy issues and concerns have been considered throughout the design of this application. This application collects no information regarding the IP address or any other personally identifiable information about any user doing a search. It does not use cookies, nor does it keep history of any user. As such, it adheres both to COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998), which restricts information gathered from children as well as to the very strict European Union Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), which exceed any privacy laws in existence in the US.

Some parts of it require a user to log on in order to do such things as place a hold on a book, and in other places email from a specific user will be sent to library staff or information technology (IT) staff. Such emails are voluntary.

The functions for use by the library staff require them to log on, and they may be tracked on some things that they do. Checking books in and out are tracked by the patron's library card number.

Patron and Library Card information

Your privacy is of utmost concern to the designers of this software. Indeed, privacy and user confidentiality is a concern of the American Library Association too. It is for that reason that patrons are only tracked by their library card number. This application specifically does not include methods for assigning or tracking library card to specific patrons and their personal information. As security breaches of individuals' personal information have occurred in such highly secure systems including the US Department of Defense, banks and other financial institutions, and law enforcement applications, it is known that any system that can be designed can also be broken into.

It is suggested that librarians and other library staff maintain records associating particular library patrons with the personally identifiable information such as name, address, telephone numbers, email addresses, or personal interests in another location - preferably one which is not accessible over the internet. If library staff wants to contact a patron, the library card can be looked up there. This could be in an offline text file, spreadsheet, or paper file cabinet.

The American Library Association has a discussion of privacy on a site which they run. I would encourage everyone to read that.

Authorship and License Notice

Website design and Hosting by Web-lectric as a gift to the Broadwater Public Library through Broadwater Friends of the Library. It was written by Elizabeth Kulacz.

Creative Commons License
LIBDatabase Catalog by Elizabeth Kulacz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at webmaster@broadwaterftl.org.

This entire application is shareware, and may be used by any library for a suggested donation of $10 to Broadwater Friends of the Library. This application may be re-distributed so long as this notice, attribution, and Creative Commons License notices are included. Derivative works may be made and distributed so long as they are attributed to the author also fall under the same Creative Commons License or equivalent. Complete installation kits may be freely distributed.

Donations are not refundable. Larger donations are appreciated and may be tax deductable.

All procedes will be used for the improvement of the Broadwater Public Library. Please email the webmaster at the Broadwater Friends of the Library for support of your installation and to be notified of updates, bug fixes, and improvements to the LibDatabase. We would also like to hear your comments and suggestions. If you find bugs in this software, please report them via email. A form for bug reports will be available later. If you have suggestions to improvements to the application, or additional functionality or reports which you would find useful, please email the suggestion to us, for consideration to include it in the next release.

This software does not come with warranties of any kind.

This application was developed and Uses Open Source software. It was developed under Linux Ubuntu and associated tools. Some templates were developed by Web-lectric, used by permission, but may not be used for any other purpose without permission. It relies only on HTML, PHP, and MySQL.

Thanks

I wish to give thanks to others who have helped me, including the authors of multiple books and websites on PHP, MySQL, and HTML.

Included in this, in no particular order are:



Website design and Hosting by Web-lectric as a gift to the Broadwater Public Library through Broadwater Friends of the Library.
Y 2013 by Elizabeth Kulacz. Please share. This entire application is shareware, and may be used for a suggested donation of $10 to Broadwater Friends of the Library. All procedes will be used for the improvement of the Broadwater Public Library. Please email the webmaster at the Broadwater Friends of the Library for support of your installation and to be notified of updates, bug fixes, and improvements to the library database.