Church library database

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by JoMomma, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. JoMomma macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #1
    I'm new to the wonderful world of Mac. Before my PC died, I had about 1000 library books in a database. I used Works for Windows, and had linked my database to documents to print out the cards to go into the back of the book and into the card catalog. I could also sort and print reports.

    What program or combination of programs would you guys recommend for my new Mac? I've looked at Book Collector and Delicious Library, but haven't found out if they have the ability to print cards and reports

    Before I download any more trial versions, I figured I'd ask this pool of experts.

    Thanks!
    Jo
     
  2. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    Apr 7, 2008
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    in the Dawg house
    #2
    I'm very interested in reading the replies/solutions you get to this.

    You did have your database backed up, right?:eek:
     
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #3
    Apple makes a professional suite of database software known as FileMaker, with a consumer-oriented app called Bento.
     
  4. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #4
    Do you have experience with it, and are you recommending it?
     
  5. JoMomma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2008
    #5
    Sadly, I don't have all of it in electronic form. I do have a hard copy, so all is not lost. But since I'm changing platforms, I don't know if the electronic data would do me any good.

    EricNau,

    I do have Bento. I'll give it a try and see if it does what I need.

    Jo
     
  6. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #6
    There has to be a way to convert the data. Yes, please let us know.:)
     
  7. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #7
    Never used it, so I'm not in much of a position to make any recommendations. Merely a idea. :)
     
  8. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #8
    That's cool. Thanks for the clarification. Hopefully Bento will come through for her. :)
     
  9. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #9
    Bento gets good press (it's actually made by FileMaker Inc., not Apple). It requires Leopard and fairly inexpensive (less than $50).

    Another alternative would be the database portions of OpenOffice and NeoOffice, both are open source versions of a Java-based office application suite created by Sun. Although I found the word processor, spreadsheet and graphics portions fairly self explanatory, the database was a real puzzle. The software has matured since I gave them a test flight, so things might have improved.

    They offer two distinct advantages over Bento:

    One, they're free.

    Two, they're multiplatform, so if you want to migrate your database to another person's PC, you should have little difficulty.

    mt
     
  10. JoMomma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #10
    mt,

    Thanks! I didn't realize there was an Open Office version for Macs. I've used Open Office for years and absolutely love it.

    All,

    I'll give Bento and NeoOffice a try over the next few days and let you know how they work for me.

    Jo
     
  11. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

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    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    Depending on the lending/borrowing policies of your library, and how often it is used, you may want want to explore a basic integrated library system (ILS). Without knowing more, it's hard to say what kind of solution you would need.

    However, there are two free, open source projects out there that might be of interest. Both are more advanced than DL and Book Collector. Typical features include membership creation, assigning/printing barcodes, an online user-searchable catalogue, run circulation tasks, etc.

    Koha, http://www.koha.org.
    Evergreen, http://open-ils.org/

    In my opinion, and one shared by many of my colleagues, Koha is the best among these two options.

    A friend of mine is researching/working on a project for a small community centre library right now. I'm going to forward some information from your post to see if he's found anything interesting.
     
  12. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

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    May 5, 2007
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    Canada
    #12
    My friend got back to me this evening.

    Unfortunately, the community centre library he's helping is PC-based, so his research has been based in non-Mac solutions.

    However, other than those listed above, he suggested the site http://books.aetherial.net/ for more info. It's an open source book cataloguing app for Macs, so it might be of some use to you.

    I hope that helps you.
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #13
    Filemaker is a subsidiary of Apple Inc.
     
  14. JoMomma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2008
    #14
    scienide,

    Thanks for the information. Koha looks interesting, but it looks like I have to download and install a lot of files to get it to work. It sounds like a task for the weekend.

    My library's circulation system is primitive at best. Each book has a card in the back. When a patron wants to take out a book, they fill in their name and phone number on the card and leave it in a basket for me. The library is unattended most of the time. Needless to say, a lot of books disappear, never to be seen again. Shameful for a church library, I know. A few people never fill out the cards, and quite a few, especially kids, put a first name and nothing else.

    Eventually, I'd like to have the library catalog accessible either by a computer in the library, or on the church's website, but I'm afraid that's way off in the future.

    WHen I took over the library, we had over 3000 items handwritten in an Accessions Book. I had been adding items a few at a time to the database I designed, and had close to 1000 items in the database when the crash occurred. Unfortunately, the most recent version of the database is lost, and the older saved copy is in Works For Windows Database format, which can't be opened by any other program, either on a Mac or a PC. Since I have the handwritten copy for the older books, and the cards for the newer books, I can enter the data into whichever program I end up using.

    Because of the experience with Works Database files not being usable by any other program, I want to make sure that whatever I end up with can be used by other computers. There's no point in doing all this work again if it's just going to turn out to be obsolete in a few years.

    Whew. That's probably more information than you needed! I'm looking into Neooffice and Bento and will try Koha this weekend. I'll keep you guys posted.

    And thank you for your help!

    Jo
     
  15. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
    Good point about the installation. I've used Koha on a test server, not in action. Would recommend you do the same, at least to see how it works.

    Luckily, your Mac already has easy access to Apache and PHP. Plus, a simple installation of something like MAMP will take care of those for you. I'm not too sure about integration with Perl, but I bet that someone in the Mac programming or Web design and dev. forums could help with that.

    If the library is open access/open stacks (and available even when someone isn't there), then inventory control will be a hassle at the best of times. As you mentioned, your honour system isn't working. But there is no technical solution for this, at least not one that will be cost effective and worthwhile for your setup. RFID technology could be deployed, but would require a large investment with no return. Even the circulation features of of those basic ILS programs require someone who will use it properly.

    As for preventing data loss, the backend database from Koha and Evergreen should be exportable. And the records created by Delicious Library can be stored on (copied to) an external drive. How importable those would be into another system is something to look into -- depends on the pace of change. Standard library cataloguing formats like MARC and Z39.50 are continually being updated, but the core features remain the same, mostly because they are employed internationally and a shift away from these would cause major headaches for most of our public and research libraries.
     
  16. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #16
    I used FileMaker Pro years ago and it was a good application. Very easy to use. I don't know how good it would be for cataloging books though, but I'm sure its not the same as it was when I used it.
     
  17. JoMomma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #17
    Sorry I haven't been back to update you on my progress.

    I downloaded Book Collector by Collectorz, and while I really like the information it accesses, I haven't really found a way to print the information I need using it.

    So I set up a database in Bento, and merged the data with documents in Word. I've been able to create the forms I need -- small labels for the spines of the books and a book card to go in the pocket inside the book. My next project will be printing the book information on the pocket itself. But since I moved, I haven't been able to track down all my library supplies.

    I may buy Book Collector just for the lookup information it provides, but it looks like I'll be using Bento and Word for the documents I need.

    I'll keep you posted, and still welcome any suggestions you might have.

    Jo
     
  18. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #18
    Be careful with Bento as it is very picky about data. If you have any collections that are using related records lists or the Address book/ iCal database you cannot sync between machines or even upgrade your computer easily. If you do get a new computer and use a different user account your data is gone on the new machine b/c of how Bento handles the related records. There are also other issues with Bento that were not fixed until v2. As of now they are not planning to fix v1 despite its acknowledged issues.
     

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