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Re: Theosophical library software

May 18, 1995 12:19 PM
by Olcott Library

Murray Stentiford:

> I am looking at options for software to put our theosophical
> branch library catalog into and would very much like to hear from
> anyone who has, or can refer me to, packages that are either
> ready-made for the job or can be configured to your own data
> structure.
> The basic needs are
> 1    Runs under Windows 3.1+ .
> 2    Able to handle 2000 - 3000 books comfortably.
> 3    Under $US1000, or shareware etc.
> 4 Able to hold basic information for books, such as all or most
> of:- Author, Title, Subject keywords, Description, Publisher,
> Year, Shelf location code (Dewey or other), Accession number
> 5 Able to search any or all of the above for simple text strings.
> 6 Able to print or produce catalog files sorted in order of
> Author, Title or Subject.

To Murray:

If you want to get a *real* library program which uses cataloging
records that can be interfaced with other library systems, you
will have to have a larger budget.  The good library systems use
the MARC communications format for the record structure.  One of
the better ones and reasonably priced ones is MOLLI, based in
Wisconsin, but it'll cost around US$2-3,000 and they do have a
Windows based version.  That price includes their cataloging
module (to create records), the Online catalog (for searching by
author, title, subject, keyword, etc.), the circulation module,
and a MARC interface module to load cataloging records from other
sources (that saves you the labor of having to key in every
record, but you pay a fee for getting the records).

The Olcott Library uses the McGraw-Hill Columbia Library System,
which has a number of additional features essential for our
library, including the possiblity of establishing a union catalog
of several libraries.  Its cost is about double of MOLLI, and the
current version does not run on Windows (the Windows version is
expected out in early 1996).  It is MARC based, and we will be
obtaining our cataloging records from OCLC (= Online Computer
Library Center) in Ohio.  This will take a couple of years.
Eventually, we will be able to share these cataloging records
with other theosophical libraries who have MARC based library

The least expensive way, but fairly labor-intensive, is to use
just about any decent database managing program on the market,
such as Paradox, DBase, FoxPro, Filemaker, etc.  You'll have to
create your own fields and set up the database structure to your
own liking.  Chances are that it will be incompatible with any
other library program and when it comes to cooperation and
sharing with other theosophical libraries you'll start all over.

Here at Olcott Library we have just activated the Columbia online
circulation module and are in the process of identifying OCLC
records for our holdings to create the database of cataloging
records for our Online Catalog.  As I said above, it will take at
least a couple of years before we can activate the Online

I hope this is of some help, from a librarian's perspective.

Elisabeth Trumpler
Head Librarian

PS.  Have you tried to reach me directly recently? The e-mail
address is still:

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