Koha vs The World

Marshall Breeding article about the library automation marketplace in 2010 (the article is from 2011). It talks a fair bit about Koha and quite a few other library management systems (or rather their companies). It mostly looks at the numbers of new customers, new sales, total installed (apparently a grand total despite being near the label for 2010).

As expected, SirsiDynix (Symphony, Horizon) and ExLibris (Voyager, Aleph) are the biggest players. Innovative Interfaces (Millennium) was also another expected powerhouse.

I was surprised to see EOS with ~1000 installs, since I was not very impressed with their software. Of course, that’s not to say that I was impressed by Horizon, Voyager, or Millennium either. It’s just that those latter 3 are huge in academic and public libraries, while EOS markets mainly to special libraries. I’ve only heard of one client who uses EOS and they’ve moved away from it. I know heaps on those other three systems.

Since Koha is supported by multiple vendors, it takes a bit more work to see its net installs, but it’s formidable as well. It’s ~1000 as well (ByWater Solutions, Equinox Software, and PTFS – Liblime). Of course, the numbers for Koha are only for the 3 big US companies. There are lots of smaller vendors and institutions using Koha throughout the USA.

These numbers are also self-reported by the vendors, so…caveat emptor.



Brendan Gallagher, CEO of ByWater Solutions, provided me with this link, which is much more contemporary and very interesting in terms of the migration toward ByWater Solutions by other systems (especially users of the proprietary PTFS – Liblime version of Koha).

This report is also by Marshall Breeding, but these numbers are probably even less comprehensive since they are just compiled from one library listserv.



Automated estimation of how much the Koha project has cost in terms of coding…



Kuali is a very well funded academic and research open-source library “environment”, but…it doesn’t look like they’ve gotten very far and it doesn’t look like it was actually designed for librarians or archivists to use…

But it’s an interesting concept. I like that they’re trying to re-envision how “resources” should be handled by an automated system. Yet, one problem with that is the users of this system might completely alienate themselves from many if not all other systems out there. While you could argue that systems that follow existing standards aren’t innovative, they are functional and interoperable.

Mind you, this system seems to want to take plugins and multiple data formats into account, so maybe it really can do it all.

Or rather…maybe it WANTS to do it all, but I think it is a very long way away from achieving that. Presently, this system seems more like an accounting system than a resource management system designed to describe and facilitate access to print and electronic materials…